Probiotics and fermented foods

If you saw my instagram post you would know that this is the place to read about all things food, travel and nutrition. 

One type of food that we are starting to see a lot more of is fermented foods. Just last week at the local farmers market, there was a new booth that is selling fermented sauerkraut and all the things to go with it. 

Sauerkraut by dictionary definition is as follows; ,"fer·men·ta·tion

  1. the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.
    • the process of fermentation involved in the making of beer, wine, and liquor, in which sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol.
    • archaic
      agitation; excitement.                                                                                                                                                    
    • Sauerkraut and fermentation has been around for centuries, but we now in this age and society are realizing that our guts are in disarray and gut dysbiosis is more common now than ever.                                                                                                         So you might be asking yourself, what really are probiotics and how can they help me? Probiotics are good bacteria that live on and around us. Our gut also known as the stomach has millions of different species of bacteria. Some good and at times bad bacteria make up our gut. What we don't realize is that every thing we put into our mouths is affecting our bacteria in our guts. If you have ever been on an 'antibiotic,' then you should know anti means against and pro means for. Antibiotics are against life and probiotics are for life. 

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Eating live probiotic rich foods certainly helps with creating a stronger gut and digestive system. Poor diet, stress, a weakened immune system, medication and illness can all play a role in the microbiome and regulation of the gut.

Many people love the idea of kombucha as it is an ever popular drink found in so many health food stores and juice shops, however not all kombucha is great for everyone. If you suffer from an imbalance of yeast in your system, kombucha and water kefir are symbiotic cultures of yeast, also known as SCOBY's, and can create more yeast in the gut, known as candida. Scoby's are what is used to make kombucha, essentially one big live bacteria and then you have to wait until it ferments, but the thing about kombucha is that it does have sugar as one of the main ingredients. So, if you find out you have gut dysbiosis or candida, then it is a good warning to stay clear of all sugar, if possible. Don't forget that fruits still have sugar in them, but in a different form, known as fructose, so everything in moderation is key.

Candida albicans is the most common yeast found in the vagina, intestinal tract and mouth. Common symptoms include yeast on the tongue, sudden development of food sensitivities, aches and pains, gut problems, fatigue, and skin problems like rashes and itching.

A diet high in sugar and refined carbs can contribute to the yeast growth, so it is best to avoid sugars and simple carbohydrates, like breads, pasta, chips and any foods that have high amounts of sugar. This is where drinks like kombucha can mess with the growth of yeast in the body, along with sugars. 

To control candida it is best to have a diet high in meats (preferably grass fed meats) and also fish which is rich in omega fatty acids. One of my favorite places to get meat is the farmers market and I buy from Buy Ranch Direct farms. They are a family run operation, and sell predominantly at farmers markets around southern California along with online. Shipping is the part that can be the hardest part, but also best to check your local farmer market or food cooperative to see if you can find grass fed meats.

Another recommendation is to get some good probiotics for the gut and to do this you can use many fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir, which is from dairy but once fermented, a lot easier to digest. 

Another option is to ferment your own foods and start learning how to do so, which I plan to start learning how to make my own sauerkraut. In the meantime I have posted a link to one of the brands I enjoy and is found nationwide in many different flavors.