There is currently huge amounts of research going into the role our gut microbiome (a community of microscopic and naturally occurring bacterial flora living within the gut) plays in the state of our health. With findings that a balanced, diverse and healthy microbiome can positively impact all aspects of our health - both mental and physical - an imbalanced and unhealthy microbiome can do the exact opposite. It only makes sense that we do all we can to nurture a balanced and diverse microbiome, and we make the choice to either do that, or not, multiple times a day: when we eat.
The food we eat has the ability to not only introduce a vast array of friendly bacteria into our gut, but also feed the ‘good’ bacteria that’s already present. I have been talking about fermented foods for some time now, and for good reason. 10 actually… I’ve outlined them below.
- Eating (and drinking) fermented foods is a way of including probiotic bacteria into your diet, and therefore, your gut.
- The strains of bacteria in fermented foods help maintain the integrity of the gut lining, balance the body’s pH, regulate the immune response and therefore, control inflammation
- Fermented foods are easier to digest. During fermentation, the bacteria feed on the sugars and starches naturally present in the food, essentially pre-digesting them for you…
- … Which increases the bioavailability (meaning more easily accepted by the body)…
- … Therefore, increasing the availability of vitamins such as A, C, K and some B-vitamins.
- The variety and number of bacteria available in the many varieties of fermented foods is far greater to anything you could take in pill form. Remember, variety is key. *
- Fermented foods are SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying probiotic supplements. *
- Making fermented foods really connects you to your food. You are able to watch this incredible transformation that takes place during fermentation and by growing something that is so very beneficial to your health, you get a real sense of achievement and a feeling of ‘I did that!’
- Making fermented foods helps connect you to the environment. Everything affects how food ferments, weather and environment being key players. Hot and humid will create different results to cool and fresh. Fermenting food makes you sit up and pay attention to your surroundings.
- Last but not least, they are delicious, with no two batches ever having quite the same flavour.
** I am not in any way against taking a pro-biotic supplement. There are days when eating fermented food just doesn’t happen… Cue supplement. **