Your gut is an essential part of your body. It is your body’s engine. Hence, like a car engine, feeding it with the right type of ‘fuel’ is essential for good engine maintenance.
An engine which is not well-maintained can lead to various issues, including a car breakdown. So, just like your body, an unhealthy gut can lead to health issues too. This includes digestion problems and mood swings.
The good news is, you can preserve your gut health by learning how your food choices can boost the health of your gut.
Bacteria are famous for causing havoc to your health such as making you ill, causing infections and so on. Though, there is one bacteria that actually does more good than harm to your body, which is, probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria that keep your gut healthy. There are two types of probiotics which are bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. The best part is, they can be found in your food.
The former can be found in various types of dairy products whereas the latter can be commonly found in fermented food and yoghurt.
A natural process called lactic acid fermentation is the answer. When this process happens, there are certain types of fungi and bacteria present in the food.
Lactobacillus is a type of lactic acid bacteria. This bacteria is important for this fermentation process to occur. When lactobacillus, together with other lactic acid fungi and bacteria is present, natural fermentation takes place and this gives the food a sour taste. Amazingly, there are actually quite a number of delicious dishes which actually taste great because of lactic acid fermentation.
Sauerkraut is a vegetable dish made out of chopped cabbage which is salted and fermented in its own juices. This delicacy is rich in vitamins C, B and K. Sauerkraut is available both fresh and packed such as in cans or bottles. However, in order to reap the full benefits of the probiotics in sauerkraut, it is best to eat it fresh. If you would like to make some of your own, simply chop up a medium sized cabbage and add about 1 tablespoon of salt. Ferment this in a glass bottle, in a cool room, for at least three days.
Miso paste is a Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans. This paste, which is rich in probiotics, also contains other nutrients such as protein, fibre and vitamin K. Miso paste is low in calories and is a great alternative to artificial seasoning and flavours. It is a handy ingredient to have on hand, especially in a 21st century kitchen, where time is of the essence!
You can mix it with water for a delicious broth or glaze it on meat for a quick, nutritious and delicious meal.
This Indonesian delicacy is made out of fermented soybeans or grains. Tempeh has a rich nutty flavour and is usually available in a block or slices. It can be tossed into just about any dish and can even be stir-fried with your favourite veggie, grilled and eaten on it’s own, as a snack. Tempeh is also a good source of protein and iron, which contributes to your overall health.
Like sauerkraut, kimchi is rich in probiotics from the lactic acid fermentation process. Kimchi tastes both sour and spicy. It is rich in vitamin C. Kimchi can be purchased from Korean restaurants or made at home. Enjoy it with a bowl or multigrain rice or you can eat it on its own, as a snack.
Lassi, a refreshing Indian beverage that is similar to an ice blended smoothie. Typically, lassi contains a combination of milk, yoghurt, fresh fruit (such as mango) and honey. The yoghurt in this delicious drink is the reason why it is so good for your gut. You can order a lassi in almost any Indian restaurant or you can whip up a simple mango lassi at home. Simply combine yogurt, honey, milk and fresh mango in a blender and enjoy!
Kefir is a fermented milk drink, derived from cow, goat or sheep milk, that is made from kefir grains. Kefir grains are produced using a fermentation process that involves lactic acid and yeast. Kefir is believed to have originated from the Caucasus Mountains in Eurasia.
This drink not only rich in probiotics, it can also be consumed by people who are lactose intolerant as it is 99% lactose-free! A cup of kefir contains about 11 grams of protein, making it a great breakfast or post-workout drink.
There many ways for you to enjoy these probiotics-rich foods. So, be creative and match them into your daily meals. From eating it as an appetizer, part of your salad or snack to fill your tummy, these foods will no doubt, give you a healthier gut.