Kimchi – a delicious fermented food

Probiotic Bacteria

For centuries, before the introduction of home refrigerators in the early 1900s, people used fermentation as a way to preserve food. Preserving foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in that way prevents them from spoiling and also stimulates the growth of natural bacteria – those gut-boosting probiotics. Fermentation can also increase the nutritional quality of certain foods. When you consume fermented foods, their beneficial microbes settle in your intestines, helping to deal with harmful bacteria and toxins. Eating just a tablespoon or two of fermented foods a few times a week is sufficient for most people. Kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are four awesome fermented foods that you may want to try if you haven’t yet.

Full-Fat Kefir

Full-fat kefir, an example of fermented dairy, is made with cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or sheep’s milk. It can contain up to thirty-four strains of bacteria per serving. Just steer clear of the varieties with added sugar. Great for smoothies!

Plain, Full-Fat Yogurt

With plain, full-fat yogurt, you get two super healthy probiotics, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, among others. Go for plain yogurt made from grass-fed animals’ milk (from cows, goats, or sheep).

You can also make your own yogurt. In a previous post, I mentioned the  “DIY Antiaging Yogurt.” You can find the recipe in Boundless, by Ben Greenfield. This recipe is originally from cardiologist Dr. William Davis, whose blog is at wheatbellyblog.com This “L. reuteri yogurt” is fairly easy to make on a regular basis, and definitively worth checking out!

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, a type of fermented cabbage, offers twenty times the amount of vitamin C you would find in fresh cabbage and it has a high amount of lactobacilli. Make sure the one you buy is made with healthy local or organic ingredients. You can also make your own; it’s a very easy recipe. I love putting some sauerkraut in my salads.

Kimchi

Kimchi is very similar to sauerkraut, but a whole lot spicier. Originally from South Korea, it is fermented Chinese cabbage to which you add seasonings and spices like garlic, ginger, onion, sea salt, red pepper flakes, chili peppers, and fish sauce. You usually let it ferment from three days to two weeks.

In Summary

Fermented foods bring a wide array of beneficial bacteria to the gut. For instance, they help with recalibrating stomach acids and enhancing the release of the enzymes that aid the body absorb nutrients more efficiently. Fermented foods strengthen the immune system. They also can aid with balancing insulin levels, which makes weight management easier. The above list is a nice introduction to fermented foods. There are many more of course. Which fermented food is your favorite?

Until next time!

References

Axe, Josh. Keto Diet : Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease. New York, Little, Brown Spark, 2019, pp. 68–70.

Lipman, Dr Frank. “Heal Your Gut with Fabulous Fermented Foods.” Frank Lipman MD, 12 Aug. 2019, drfranklipman.com/2019/08/12/heal-your-gut-with-fabulous-fermented-foods/. Accessed 7 Nov. 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

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The Best Foods for the Gut

More than ever do we need to eat foods that are beneficial to the gut. Removing the foods that do not sustain gut health (such as refined flour, sugar, and industrial seed oils) is the first step. But we also want to consume on a daily basis (preferably) foods that are beneficial to the gut. Such foods include bone broth, fermentable fibers, and fermented foods. As explained in The Wild Diet, by Abel James, in your gut resides a great number of bacteria that have an extremely important role in the following:

  • Predigesting your food
  • Providing immune protection
  • Releasing neurotransmitters that affect your behavior and your mood 

Feeding the good bacteria in your gut by selecting the right foods that work for you is very important. 

Bone Broth

As stated in a previous post, bone broth has been used for thousands of years as a healing beverage by traditional cultures. A South American saying declares that “bone broth raises the dead.” All you have to do when making bone broth is add the bones (joint bones with the cartilage and marrow bones) of a well-sourced cow, chicken, pig, lamb, fish, etc. to a pot of water. Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar “to help release the minerals from the bones” and let simmer for several hours up to 24 or even 48 hours. You can add some vegetables too. I usually add some onion, garlic, carrots, various herbs, salt, and pepper. And that’s it! Your broth, full of nutrients, is ready to enjoy day after day.

Fermentable Fibers

Two sources of fermentable fiber are soluble fibers and resistant starch. 

  • Soluble fiber (mentioned in my previous post regarding avocados) can be found in fruits, vegetables, starches, nuts, and seeds. Soluble fiber is a food source that the good bacteria in your gut ferment and make short-chain fatty acids with. Vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, beets, winter and summer squash, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, plantains, taro root, and yuca have more soluble fiber than other vegetables, so they are more soothing to the gut. 
  • Resistant starch, as explained at draxe.com, “is a type of starch that isn’t completely broken down and absorbed in the stomach or small intestine. Instead, it passes through to the colon and is converted into short-chain fatty acids, which act as prebiotics to help feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Because it’s processed and metabolized in a similar way as dietary fiber, it also boasts a similar set of health benefits.” You can obtain resistant starch with cooked and then cooled potatoes, green bananas or green plantains, for instance. You can also buy raw, unmodified, gluten-free potato starch and blend it in a smoothie or a dish, for example.

Fermented Foods

As mentioned in my post, What We Can Learn from World Cuisines, if you ferment certain foods, you increase the nutritional quality of these foods. With fermented foods, you’ll get a variety of good bacteria for the gut. As stated in Your Personal Paleo Code, you can consume:

  • Raw (unpasteurized) sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles (examples of fermented vegetables)
  • Yogurt and kefir (examples of fermented dairy)
  • Beet kvass, kombucha, and water kefir (examples of fermented beverages)

This month, I have started making the “DIY Antiaging Yogurt.” You can find the recipe in Boundless, by Ben Greenfield. This recipe is originally from cardiologist Dr. William Davis, whose blog is at wheatbellyblog.com This “L. reuteri yogurt” is fairly easy to make on a regular basis, and definitively worth checking out!

In Summary

Consuming foods that are beneficial to the gut sustains gut health and is a sure way to make us discover new recipes. Bone broth, fermentable fibers, and fermented foods are wonderful options to rediscover the pleasures of home cooking. And renewing our interest in time-tested traditional methods of cooking is probably the best thing we can do for optimal wellness!

Until next time!

References

Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, pp. 364-365.

James, Abel. The Wild Diet:  Go Beyond Paleo to Burn Fat, Beat Cravings, and Drop 20 Pounds in 40 Days. New York, Penguin Random House, 19 Jan. 2016, pp. 53–55, 337–338.

Kresser, Chris. Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. 1st ed., New York, NY, Little, Brown and Company, Dec. 2013, pp. 172-177.

Link, Rachael. “Resistant Starch Foods That Support Blood Sugar & Weight Maintenance.” Dr. Axe, 12 July 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/resistant-starch/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2020.

You can also find me on Instagram.