The Gut Microbiome, Fermented Foods, Probiotics, Prebiotics have all been the hot topics in the nutrition world, but what does this mean for you? First the “gut” is the small intestine and to be in a healthy state there needs to be a balance of both beneficial or good bacteria and the bad stuff. We need a little yeast (or bad buggies) to “eat” heavy metals and remove them from the body. The good bacteria are what we need for a healthy intestinal tract and to boost the immune system. Prebiotics are the plant based fiber that feeds the probiotics.
So how do you know if your gut microbiome needs some extra support? If you have belly bloating, gas, or cravings for sugar this could be a clue that you need more probiotics. Most of us need some every day to stay in balance since stress or drinking chlorinated Baltimore city water or eating processed foods or even taking a Motrin for a headache destroys the good bugs. Populating the gut with these good bugs can be done by taking a probiotic supplement (look in the refrigerated case at Mom’s Organic Market at the Rotunda), drinking 1 tablespoon of Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in water and using it as the vinegar in salad dressings or eating fermented foods.
Fermented foods need to be cold and never heated or pasteurized which kills the good bacteria. You might have heard about local food producer Hex Ferments www.hexferments.com based in our own backyard in the Baltimore Food Accelerator on York Road next to St. Mary’s Church and Belvedere Square. Hex makes kombucha tea, a fermented drink and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkrauts plus seasonal varieties. Hex uses only locally produced and organic foods and follows traditional methods of fermentation, so their products are loaded with digestive enzymes along with the beneficial bacteria. Only a little is needed (1 - 2 tablespoon) to compliment any meal, salad or even eggs at breakfast as my husband does. One of my favorite ways to make a salad is to use Hex Ferments Glo Kraut in lieu of a salad dressing and topped with sautéed veggies plus chopped egg. Hex’s largest selection of products can be found at their retail outlet in Belvedere Square and also at the year round Waverly 32nd Street Farmers Market on Saturdays 7am – noon and at Mom’s Organic Market. Check their website for more locations and information.
Once you add probiotics to your healthy food lifestyle you might notice more energy because food is digested more fully, less cravings, less belly bloat and since they help to detoxify the body your skin may look brighter and clearer. You might also notice less inflammation (stiff joints and puffy morning eyes). There’s not a down side and if you have any questions or aren’t sure how to incorporate probiotics and fermented foods please reach out to me through my website.