Beauty Foods For Good Gut Health
As you may recall we blogged a while back about how good gut health = beautiful skin? Well, today we have another treat for all our beautiful readers – our newest contributor Lizzy Marsh is going to chat to us a bit more about easy ways to add probiotics to your diet.
You may have heard more and more lately about the importance of gut health. In fact, many believe that our health stems from the gut and the intricate balance between our gut flora, our intestinal lining and the foods we eat. Without a properly functioning gut, it becomes impossible to absorb the nutrients within our food and achieve optimal health. The human gut is home to approximately 100 trillion microorganisms and these help us with things like digestion, protection from infection, metabolism and immunity.
Some people may find that it takes a little getting used to, so start with a small serving and build up gradually. Probiotics come in a range of different forms so if you have any questions about them, make sure to ask your local health food shop or consult a naturopath.
Kombucha – “Booch” or “buchy” is a fermented tea, facilitated by scoby, the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that eats most of the sugar within the mix and turns it into a fizzy, slightly sour fermented beverage that’s high in good bacteria. You can make your own Kombucha easily – there are lots of easy recipes online. Make sure you check the nutritional panel to avoid pre-made drinks with lots of added sugars or flavourings.
Kefir – Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of milk and fermented kefir grains. High in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, kefir is also rich in antioxidants. You can find an organic pre-made kefir at your health food store or you can make your own. Kefir is normally made from goat, cow or sheep milk products, but companies are also starting to experiment with dairy free options like coconut milk.
Yogurt – yogurt is one of the most well known sources of live bacterial cultures and can be a great probiotic source. As it has become increasingly commercialized, many of the yogurt products available are sweetened with refined sugars, artificial sweeteners or hidden flavourings. Look for a full-fat, organic or biodynamic option to ensure that you’re getting the biggest probiotic bang for your buck. To flavour your yogurt, add your own berries, rhubarb or top with a delicious museli-mix.
Sauerkraut – Made from fermented cabbage, sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but is also a delicious addition to salads, meat dishes and platters. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B, A, E and C. We like to support local companies and buy products like those by Pat’s Veg, which is made in Melbourne – they have an incredible range with vegetable mixes, beetroot and different seasonings. You can also make your own fermented vegetable mixes at home!
When possible, I always recommend getting nutrients and vitamins from real-food sources by eating a wide range of nourishing, whole and homemade foods including those that are fermented! But if you’re running out the door or not quite ready to turn your kitchen into a mini science-lab, pre-made options or probiotic supplements might be worth a try.
Probiotics can be purchased in powder, liquid or capsule form and the potency is measured in colony forming units (CFU), with recommendations ranging from two billion to more than 10 billion CFU per dose. If you’re planning to add a powerful probiotic into your routine or need to take antibiotics (which also kill the good bacteria), ask your naturopath, doctor or a health practitioner for advice first.