For years gut health was the missing piece that no one wanted to talk about – despite the leading experts telling us otherwise. The reality can be confronting and definitely confusing, but mounting research in recent years has shown us what our ancestors knew all along; our gut health governs our overall health.
The gut microbiome is the impressive colony of bacteria that lives within each of us. Some billions of mostly beneficial bacteria are responsible for everything from the digestion of food to our overall mood. And while there is evidence that this microbiome has been shaped since birth, it can also be influenced by the foods that we eat – that is, the foods that contain beneficial bacteria. To make it even less confusing, here are 5 foods to nourish the gut microbiome so you can support your body with thriving health.
If you’ve tried kefir before, you’ll likely already know its incredible probiotic benefits. Kefir brews can be easily made by adding kefir grains to liquid, typically dairy milk (although there are many vegan alternatives), and fermenting. Kefir is known to have several major strains of good bacteria and yeast, making it a leading choice for probiotics. If you’re new to kefir, here’s how to make your own at home!
- Kimchi & Sauerkraut
This traditionally German take on fermented veggies has been a staple in everything from salads to burgers of late, and our guts are thanking us for an extra dose of this probiotic-rich food. Evidence has shown that sauerkraut is one of the leading sources of dietary probiotics, and daily consumption may contribute to a whole host of health benefits.
Lovers of Japanese cuisine will be joyful to know that miso is a rich source of probiotics. So whether you have it as a simple soup, or use the delicious umami flavor as the base for a salad dressing, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be enjoying a large dose of the beneficial bacteria, a. Oryzae, which has been linked to immune response and increased amino acid uptake. If you want to get a bit more adventurous, try this recipe for Miso Eggplant with Buckwheat Tabbouleh!
- Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of my preferred choices of healthy fats, because it offers good quality nutrients that don’t go through the same nutrient-stripping processes like other vegetable oils. Gut bacteria and microbes like a diet of fatty acids and polyphenols, which are found in olive oil. Some studies have even linked it to fighting inflammation in the gut as well as easing indigestion problems.
Garlic is a surprising addition to the list, but when you think about all of the amazing properties it brings to the table, it makes sense completely. Garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties which can help keep bad gut bacteria under control and help balance yeast in the gut. The properties within garlic also act as a fuel source to allow the bacteria to thrive.
Now that you know gut nourishing foods don’t have to be hard, which one are you going to add to your plate this week?