We're hearing an awful lot about gut health nowadays and for good reason - it is the centre of our bodies universe! So how do we look after our gut and why is it so important to that we maintain those trillions of good bacteria living inside us? Well the simple answer is, your gut is composed of more bacteria than there are cells in the entire human body - making us actually more bacteria than human cells!
The microbes living within your gut functions just like any eco system, in that the balance must be kept just right for it to function at it's best. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure the trillions of good bacteria within your gut are provided with plenty of food..... but not just any old food! I'm talking about naturally fermented foods in particular, because these contain billions of live good bacteria that when consumed, travel down into your intestines and top up your own levels of good bacteria.
Now incase you're wondering if eating fermented foods is just another dietary 'fad', bare in mind that traditionally fermented foods have been a part of a healthy diet in many cultures across the world, for thousands of years! But with the advent of modern food processing techniques, many of these traditionally fermented foods disappeared from our diet, being replaced with packaged and artificially processed foods and frozen meals!
BUt don't fall for just any old fermented food and think they are healthy! Many of the fermented foods we see on the supermarket shelves are anything but, because they contain a type of yeast that feeds the overgrowth of the hostile yeast living within your gut known as, Candida Albicans! Unhealthy fermented foods to avoid include, tomato paste, vegemite, processed bread, condiments and bottled sauces like fish sauce; vinegars such as balsamic, and alcoholic beverages like beer and wine.
The traditional process of fermenting foods allows for the growth of friendly strains of bacteria and yeasts that helps to feed the colonies of good bacteria living within the human gut, (better known as our microbiome) and help to maintain healthy digestion and immune activity.
Examples of healthy fermented foods include:
Kimchi and sauerkraut - or fermented / pickled vegetables
A word of warning about yogurt, although it's true yoghurt is made from live cultures, most commercially produced brands are an inferior source of good bacteria for your gut, and are typically loaded with sugar. The fact that most yoghurts are made on cow's milk, is also another reason why yoghurt may not be your gut's best friend. This is because many people struggle to digest the sugar in milk and or the A1 protein contained in traditional cow's milk can prove to be highly inflammatory for many people, triggering all sorts of gut problems. If you're going to consume yoghurt, my advice is always go a plain unsweetened variety and preferably made from sheep or goats milk as this contains the A2 protein and tends to be a lot less irritating for the gut!
If you want to fix your gut health, it's essential to avoid the 8 inflammatory and highly acidic foods I recommend in my book, Love Your Gut, and include a selection of the naturally fermented foods listed above, along with other gut healing foods, like bone broth.
For a full gut repair program, be sure to grab a copy of my book - Love Your Gut - which will help you to overcome the most common health problems and illnesses, whether you want to improve your skin, balance your hormones, lose weight, heal from IBS, or autoimmune disease, or improve your mood and the effects of depression and anxiety, or improve thyroid function.
The best piece of health advice I can offer you, is that you are not just what you eat, but how well you digest and absorb your food. This determined by the state of your gut health, which will have a direct impact on the way you look and feel each and every day, as well your risk of disease later in life.