There are many natural foods that contribute to good gut health. In my opinion, these are the cleanest and most beneficial. Eating fiber rich foods & prebiotic foods is just as beneficial as eating probiotic foods. As you crowd in more of these foods, start to crowd out the foods that contribute to bad gut bacteria. Learn more about the benefits of eating for your gut, the specific benefits & research here.
PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS
Sauerkraut: Unpasteurized sauerkraut is rich in Lactobacillus bacteria—more than yogurt—boosts the healthy gut flora, strengthens immune system, & improves overall health. Mice fed probiotic-rich sauerkraut extract had reduced cholesterol levels, found a study published in World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. Examine the label as shelf-stable sauerkrauts can be pasteurized & prepared using vinegar, which does not offer the beneficial bacteria. Cancer-fighting & slimming properties.
Kimchi: Cabbage, radishes, and scallions, red pepper, salted shrimp (sometimes). Researchers at Kyung Hee University in Korea induced obesity in lab rats by feeding them a high-fat diet and then fed one group of them Lactobacillus brevis, the culture strain found in kimchi. The probiotic suppressed the diet-induced increase in weight gain by 28 percent!
Pickled Vegetables: Be sure that the pickled veggie you’re eating is, in fact, fermented—and not just pickled. Shelf-stable products are the first sign a pickle is just pickled. Buy refrigerated or make your own fermented pickles, and other veggies, at home with a starter, salt, and water.
Yogurt: Not all will provide probiotics. Some products are heat-treated after fermentation, which can kill most of the live active cultures. Added sugars can aid the bad bacteria instead of the good, so no sugar added, plain yogurt is best. Try to buy goat’s or sheep’s milk yogurt, grass-fed & organic. Diary-free yogurts (almond, rice, coconut) are easier for people to digest, but lower in protein.
Apple cider vinegar – Daily use. Jack of all trades. Great for controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, even weight loss. Drink or use as a salad dressing. Helps body create HCL (hydrochloric acid), which is a beneficial belly acid that helps digest fats, carbohydrates, and protein,” says dietitian Nikki Ostrower. “This aids in weight loss and it also helps to relieve acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome because of all the beneficial probiotics and amino acids.”
Kombucha: Goes back 2,000 years. Origin: Japan. Health benefits: digestive support, increased energy & liver detoxification. Slightly effervescent fermented drink made with black or green tea and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, known as a SCOBY. May only impart its benefits if it’s not pasteurized. Making your own at home is the best way. Watch sugar content.
Miso: A complete protein, high in fiber, stimulates the digestive system, strengthens the immune system, and reduces the risk of multiple cancers. Try miso soup. Add to foods after they’ve been cooked or heated.
Dark Chocolate: A source of prebiotics and probiotics. 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder or three-quarters of an ounce (usually a square) of a 70% + cacao bar.
Kefir: Fermented dairy product is a combination of milk and fermented kefir grains. Consumed for well over 3,000 years. Originated in Russia and Turkey. Means “feeling good.” Slightly acidic and tart flavor and contains anywhere from 10 to 34 strains of probiotics. Kefir is similar to yogurt, but because it is fermented with yeast and more bacteria, the final product is higher in probiotics.
Kvass: A Russian fermented foods beverage traditionally made from rye bread. Filled with digestive health benefits. Try beet kvass. Available at health food store.
Bananas, garlic, leeks, onions, scallions, raw chicory root, raw Jerusalem artichoke (sun choke), raw dandelion greens, chickpeas.
Artichokes, green peas, lentils, black and lima beans, almonds, raspberries, apples, raspberries, blackberries, gluten free whole grains. If you’re concerned that legumes may cause you to be gassy, try soaking dried beans (add ACV) or draining and rinsing canned beans before cooking or eating.
FOODS TO CONSIDER CROWDING OUT
Sugar: Not just refined cane sugar but also high-fructose corn syrup (HFC) or any other sweetening derivatives, including "healthy" sweeteners like monk fruit and coconut sugar. Any form of sugar in excess, including refined carbohydrates, poses a risk to your gut health. It feeds the bad bugs, creates dysbiosis, and leads to yeast overgrowth (like Candida). Studies show people who consume artificial sweeteners on a normal basis are 2x as likely to become obese & have 47% greater BMI’s than non-users. The more you crowd sugar out, your tastebuds will come alive & notice the sweetness in natural foods.
Commercial Eggs: Commercial eggs come from hens fed an unnatural diet of soy and corn. When you eat these eggs, you are consuming these food allergens indirectly. Instead, look for organic eggs from cage-free hens fed their natural, omnivorous, free-range diet rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Nightshades: Tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, potatoes, bell peppers, sweet and hot peppers, pepinos, and pimentos produce alkaloids, a natural insect repellent that can be toxic to humans in large amounts. Common nightshades don’t have enough alkaloids to be deadly, yet some people with inflammatory conditions are particularly sensitive to even tiny amounts, which can activate the immune system and increase inflammation. Especially for people with arthritic conditions or autoimmune disorders.
Dairy: Two proteins in milk (casein and whey) are hard to digest and can lead to food sensitivities. Many people also lack sufficient quantity of the enzyme lactase to break down the lactose in milk, creating symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If you choose it eat dairy, make sure its ORGANIC, local & raw if possible.
Gluten: Researchers find up to 30 percent of Americans have a gluten sensitivity. Most have no idea they are sensitive. Diets with limited gluten, sprouted grains or gluten-free lowers inflammation and insulin resistance while helping people lose weight. Azodicarbonamide-whitening agent in flours found in fast food breads: McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Jack In The Box, Chick-Filet. Subway just stopped using it. If you choose it eat gluten, make sure its ORGANIC.
Soy: Over 90 percent of the soy mass-produced in the United States is genetically modified (GMO). Much is "Roundup® ready," (doused with heavy pesticides). Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup®) leads to dysbiosis and then leaky gut. It also acts as an antibiotic. If you choose it eat soy, make sure its ORGANIC.
Corn: Like soy, over 90 percent of the corn grown in the United States is genetically modified. Most is Roundup®-tolerant and contains residues of this pesticide. If you choose it eat corn, make sure its ORGANIC.
Alcohol: Those who frequently drink, are more affected by gut yeast. Especially sugary drinks.
*I am not a doctor. This is my educated opinion on this topic. Please consult a professional before making any big changes.
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