Your digestive system is complex, but essential. You’re going to have to take good care of it to ensure that your food is digested properly, that you get the energy, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that you need from your food and that everything can pass comfortably. Now, scientists and medical professionals still aren’t fully versed in how many digestive conditions work, what causes them or how to cure them. Gut issues can be linked to the operation of your immune system, autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, endocrine disorders and even your mood and mental health. There really is a lot going on that can impact your gut health and reduce your quality of life. So, it’s absolutely essential that you do everything you can do to help your gut and maximise its functioning. The good news is that there are a number of things that you can do to help your digestive system. The main step is eating gut-friendly foods. Here’s a little more information on the subject!
Eating Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are ideal for your digestive health. If you are used to using fast constipation relief medications to help your digestive process, fermented foods could be particularly good for you. But what actually are fermented foods? Well, fermentation is a process that is commonly employed to preserve food and drinks. When foods are fermented, a variety of microorganisms (including bacteria, yeast and fungi) can convert organic compounds (like sugars and starch) into alcohol or acids. Not only does this help the food to last longer without being refrigerated or frozen, but the conversion of sugars and starches results in an increase in good bacteria in the food. Chances are you’ve heard of these bacteria – they’re called probiotics. Probiotics are great for your digestive system. In fact, our digestive systems are actually largely reliant on these good bacteria to operate at full capacity!
5 Fermented Foods That You Should Incorporate Into Your Diet
So, which fermented foods are particularly good for you? Here’s a shortlist that should help you to know which you should try incorporating into your diet first!
There are many yoghurts available on supermarket shelves that contain active and live bacteria. Remember, not all yoghurts contain probiotics. You’re going to have to source out the ones that are advertised as gut-friendly. Yoghurts that contain Bifidobacterium or saccharomyces are likely to be best for your gut.
Kefir is a fermented drink that has been popular in North Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Russia for years. However, these drinks are now becoming more widely available in more Western stores. This fermented drink is packed with probiotics. There are also generally a wide variety of flavours available, so you’re likely to find one that you really enjoy! The average bottle of kefir will contain up to 61 different strains of bacteria and yeasts, making this an even better option than yoghurt if you take a liking to it!
A Korean favourite, Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish that will provide you with a good dose of probiotics. Generally, kimchi is made by fermenting napa cabbage in lactic acid bacteria. Sometimes, you’ll find that other vegetables, such as onion, radish or garlic, are used. You can add chillies for a bit of spice. If you are vegan, the above options of yoghurt and kefir may not have been open to you, but kimchi is suitable for plant-based diets too!
Sauerkraut is another form of fermented vegetables – this time, hailing from China. This dish gained popularity across Europe, with the name Sauerkraut actually being German! If you are served sauerkraut, you’ll find yourself with a dish of finely cut raw cabbage, again, fermented in lactic acid bacteria. This will then usually be flavoured with carraway seeds.
If you’re looking for a fermented drink that doesn’t have a yoghurt like consistency or are looking for another fermented vegan option, kombucha could tick your boxes. Like sauerkraut, kombucha originates from China. It is a fermented tea that combines yeast, bacteria and sugars. There are a number of different kombucha flavours available. This tends to be a drink that you become accustomed to, but once you find a flavour you like, it’s a great addition to your diet for your digestive system!
While you might not have considered eating fermented foods before, and while you might be initially reluctant to incorporate them into your diet, they hold a whole host of health benefits for your gut!