• Jaz Bushell

Eat fermented foods for a healthy gut

The trillions of tiny creatures living in our bodies have been making headlines lately, and for good reasons. These good bacteria, particularly those in our gut may improve digestion, boost immunity and help us maintain a healthy weight. Research is still emerging on just how important these mighty microbes might be for our health, but the early results are promising. Take care of your gut, and in turn, it will take help take care of you.

Eating foods packed with probiotics, 'good bacteria' is one way to boost up your gut health. Fermented foods, like yogurt and kimchi, are rich in probiotics. The good bacteria grow during the fermentation process.

Try some of these:

1. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is made from just cabbage and salt, this fermented food delivers a healthy dose of probiotics and fibre. You can make your own or buy sauerkraut at the store. The kind sold in the refrigerated section will have more probiotics than shelf-stable canned or jarred varieties which are pasteurised so kill off the good bacteria.

2. Kefir

A fermented milk drink, it tastes like drinkable yogurt, kefir is full of calcium and probiotics. Just like yogurt, probiotics in kefir help break down lactose, so it may be easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance. Kefir is delicious in smoothies or by itself.

3. Kombucha

Kombucha is a tangy, effervescent tea, typically black or green that's rich in good-for you yeast and bacteria. The drink is often flavored with herbs or fruit. You can find kombucha in natural foods stores, farmers’ markets and many mainstream grocery stores. A tiny amount of alcohol is sometimes produced during fermentation—usually less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume.

4. Miso

A fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans, miso adds a nice umami flavor to dishes. It’s bold, so a little goes a long way (which is good because it’s also high in sodium). Miso is typically found in soups, but also makes salad dressings and marinades even more delicious and gut healthy.

5. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from naturally fermented soybeans. It's similar to tofu in that it's a plant-based protein made from soy, but unlike tofu, tempeh is fermented. It also has a firmer texture and a slightly nuttier flavor profile. It’s a good source of probiotics—and, because it contains all the essential amino acids, it’s a complete source of vegetarian protein.

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