6 Foods That Fuel a Healthy Gut
By now you have probably heard that gut bacteria is important. In fact, the makeup of your gut bacteria has been proven to affect everything from your weight, mood, skin, immunity, and more. While it may be tempting to pop a probiotic pill and hope for the best, many medical professionals believe that eating your probiotics is preferable. So, where can you find naturally-occurring probiotics? Turns out there are more out there than you might think. Read below to find out which foods pack a beneficial bacterial punch!
Like spicy, pickled vegetables? Well then you’re in luck. Kimchi, a traditionally South Korean dish, takes cabbage, scallions, and/or radishes in a brine made with garlic, ginger, chili pepper, and fish sauce and lets it all ferment. The result is a bacteria-rich food beneficial to your body.
If you prefer a less spicy but more sour flavor, look no farther than unpasteurized sauerkraut. This fermented food provides plenty of beneficial bacteria. Do keep in mind that it can be high in sodium, so avoid if you’re watching your salt intake.
What could possibly sound better than sour milk? Just kidding, kind of. Kefir is a drink made from fermented cow, goat, or sheep’s milk. It boasts over 30 different strains of “good” bacteria. It also comes in different flavors, so if plain sour milk isn’t your jam, strawberry sour milk might hit the spot better.
You might have heard or seen commercials advertising yogurt as a beneficial food for gut bacteria, and it is if it contains “live” cultures. Make sure you check it says that on the ingredient list, as you only get benefits from live bacteria (perhaps dead bacteria serves a purpose too, but it won’t be helping your gut bacteria any). Just make sure that whichever yogurt you get does not contain more grams of sugar than it does grams of protein.
FERMENTED COTTAGE CHEESE
Cottage cheese lovers rejoice – you can have your cottage cheese and get probiotic benefits too. Some cottage cheese manufacturers, such as Good Culture, pack live and active cultures into their cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is high in salt, so again, if you’re watching your salt intake then it is best to stay away. But if you eat cottage cheese on the regular anyway, consider getting one enriched with probiotics.
This delicious traditional Japanese dish does more than fill you up on few calories – it provides loads of beneficial bacteria thanks to the miso paste used to make it. Miso is made from fermented soybeans, and also offers a rich source of vitamins and minerals. In addition it is known to contain A. oryzae, which is believed to be helpful in reducing inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive disorders.
About the author: Sharone completed her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Education at Columbia University. Having overcome her own not-so-great relationship with food, she is passionate about helping others achieve their health and weight loss goals while finding balance. She enjoys hanging out with her two daughters, husband, giant dog, and cat, especially all together when shenanigans are involved. To learn more about scheduling a nutrition counseling session with Sharone, click here. For more tips and tricks for nutritious living, check out Sharone’s Instagram and Twitter.
Check out more of Sharone’s articles on the Shapa Blog here.