Why You Should Make Fermented Foods a Cornerstone of Your Daily Diet
An increasing amount of research is pointing to fermented foods as being instrumental in promoting optimal gut health. Why do you need to support a well-functioning gut and what are the best foods to achieve this goal? Read on for everything that you need to know about maintaining proper gut health.
The Importance of Gut Health
Your gut microbiome consists of the billions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live inside your interstitial system. While some of these microbes are harmful, other types work to keep your digestive system firing on all cylinders. The right balance of healthy microbes also boosts immune function, promotes a healthy emotional and mental well-being, and more.
Individuals with a more diverse gut microbiome also tend to experience a fewer amount of chronic illnesses. A healthy gut microbiome can lower the risk of developing medical conditions such as allergies, diabetes, some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. In addition, a healthy gut microbiome also leads to less inflammation throughout the body.
Why Choose Fermented Foods for Gut Health
As scientists have learned more about the gut microbiome, they have also discovered that the consumption of fermented foods can help to maintain the diversity of this crucial physiological system. This is because fermented foods naturally contain these live microorganisms that make up the microbiome. While many people take probiotics in an effort to boost the number of healthy bacteria in their gut, you can also find these microorganisms in a variety of fermented foods.
Best Foods to Support A Healthy Gut
You are going to have to be intentional about eating fermented foods if you want to improve the health of your gut microbiome. Here are a few of the items to put on your grocery list if you want to make fermented foods a part of your regular diet.
- Kefir - Kefir is a popular fermented milk product that is derived from cows, sheep, or goats. The milk is mixed with kefir grains containing yeast and bursting with good bacteria. As it ferments, it creates a drink that is like yogurt in consistency. You will find kefir in a variety of flavors, making it easy to find a product that fits your personal tastes.
- Tempeh - Made with fermented soybeans, tempeh is a dense protein source that easily takes on other flavors. Similar to tofu, tempeh is high in protein and other nutrients. Because it absorbs the flavors from your other favorite dishes, you can use it as a substitute for meat. Try tempeh in stir fry dishes, in soups and stews, and as a sandwich filling.
- Miso - This flavored paste is made with fermented rice, barley, or soybeans. The intense flavor of miso is often used to enhance foods such as Asian marinades, salad dressings, and broth soups. Miso is naturally high in probiotics, making it an ideal choice for improving your overall gut health. Because miso is also high in sodium, you need to be mindful about how much of this product that you consume.
- Kombucha - Another great drink to incorporate into your diet is kombucha. You have probably noticed this trendy drink at grocery stores everywhere as more people discover its immense health benefits. This fizzy and fermented tea is flavored with a variety of herbs and fruits. It is important to make sure that your kombucha does not contain too much added sugar if you are looking to drink it for its health benefits.
- Sauerkraut - Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented in lactic acid bacteria, giving it its distinctive tangy taste. Not only does sauerkraut deliver a hefty dose of this healthy bacteria, but it is also loaded with fiber. The addition of fiber provides another avenue to keep your digestive system working properly. Getting enough fiber in your diet has been shown to lower your risk of developing cancer and high cholesterol. Try mixing in sauerkraut with sausage or using it as a topping for sandwiches, on salads, or as a unique pizza topping.
Being intentional about eating these types of fermented foods is one of the best things that you can do for a healthy gut. Proper gut health can improve both your physical and mental health in many ways, making it a worthwhile investment for everyone.
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