As the seasons change it’s not uncommon to find yourself suffering from sore throats, colds and sniffles. If you want to be able to forestall them, my advice to you this month is to feed your gut.
Over 80% of your immunity lies in the beneficial bacteria that inhabits your gut walls – so, for a robust constitution, it makes sense to cultivate healthy gut flora. Fortunately, what you eat is largely responsbile for the condition of this, which means you can positively influence it. A simple way to do this is to steadily increase your consumption of naturally fermented foods, of which there are many types, as listed below.
Keeping your gut happy not only makes you less vulnerable to everyday sicknesses, it often goes hand-in-hand with less bloating and constipation, reduced stress, better moods, sharper mind, and clearer skin. That’s a lot of benefits.
- cultured vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi – perhaps the easiest place to start
- probiotic tonics such as rejuvelac, kvass, kefir and kombucha
- naturally fermented soy bean products like miso, tamari and tempeh
- nut or seed yoghurts and sour cream
- sprouted grains for porridges and breads
These are all examples of probiotic foods, in that they already contain beneficial bacteria (helpful enzymes, minerals vitamin C and anti-carcinogenic substances). This bacteria aids digestion, assimimilation of nutrients and prmotes bowel health to boost your overall immunity. I shall be demonstrating how to make a selection of these at my forthcoming class on Sept. 28th. Otherwise, there are many freely available videos and recipes on the internet for you to look up and follow.
There is another category of gut-friendly foods known as prebiotics. These contain the kind of dietary fibre which stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut itself, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. These help increase your resistance to invading pathogens. A diet high in fresh vegetables especially will provide you with a spectrum of dietary fibre that supports good gut flora. Examples of prebiotic fruits are bananas and berries; excellent veggies choices are asparagus, garlic, leek, onion, artichokes, and dandelion leaves.
Did you know?
Most long-lived cultures in the world have a tradition of eating fermented foods. Evidence that it not only preserves food, it also protects our health.