Want to know what probiotic foods to eat to improve your health and well-being? As well as breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, the gut has a massive impact on how well the body and mind work. Probiotics are live bacteria in either food or supplement form that can help the digestive system to function more efficiently by improving or restoring balance in the intestinal microbiome.
Research by King’s College London in the UK has revealed that what we eat affects our gut flora even more than genetics. The study identified a group of 15 ‘good’ and 15 ‘bad’ intestinal microbes linked to better or worse health outcomes, including inflammation, blood sugar control and weight.
Intestinal health is clearly important, but how does it work and where does probiotic food come in? The enteric nervous system (ENS) in our gut communicates with the brain, and they work closely together to keep the body healthy and fight disease. This complex relationship is known as the gut-brain axis. One of the simplest things we can do to optimize this connection is to eat a diet rich in probiotic foods, or to take probiotic supplements.
“Probiotics in food form are also known as ‘functional foods’ and they increase the diversity of intestinal flora in the colon,” says functional medicine practitioner Danny Ly. “When ingested, the live bacteria ‘compete’ against potentially disease-causing microbes in the digestive tract to try to inhibit their harmful effects.”
It has also been shown that the fact that there is a wide and diverse number of ‘good bugs’ in the gut suppresses allergies and sensitivities, supports the immune system, reduces inflammation, improves nutrient absorption and much more. So here is the best probiotic food you can eat today to improve your gut health.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, loaded with healthy gut bacteria that can optimize and balance our gut flora.
“Sauerkraut contains high levels of glucosinolates, ascorbic acid and ascorbigen, all of which have been shown to reduce DNA damage, and can help cancer patients by reducing cell mutation rates,” says Ly. “Glucosinolates also play an important role in our liver detoxification processes.”
“Kefir is a powerhouse of probiotic-rich foods,” says Ly. “It is rich in the bacteria that help produce our B vitamins in the colon, which are necessary for an optimal nervous system and the building blocks are for key neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine – the happy hormones that promote positive feelings such as pleasure. , happiness and even love. ”
Studies also suggests that kefir has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
There is growing evidence to suggest kimchi – A Korean spice made from fermented cabbage and spices – can boost levels of good bacteria in the intestines, and as a result improve intestinal health.
“Kimchi is a delicious and traditional Korean staple food that has been shown to help relieve constipation and help lower cholesterol,” says Ly. “I would recommend using kimchi with wholemeal toast for extra fiber, and eggs for protein, for a healthy, gut-friendly breakfast.”
The link between the intestinal microbiome and the liver is still not well understood, but poor intestinal health has been linked to the development of fatty liver disease, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology.
“Miso, a fermented soybean paste from Japan, has been shown to have liver fat-reducing properties when combined with exercise, thus reducing the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – the term for a range of conditions caused by the build-up of fat in the liver, ”explains Ly.
Miso-fermentation helps to improve the body’s ability to digest and absorb food and contains intestinal enhancing probiotics.
Another probiotic food to try for better gut health is kombucha, a fermented tea product rich in antioxidants.
“The fermentation process produces acetic acid, a short-chain fatty acid that plays an important role in regulating body weight and improving insulin sensitivity,” says Ly. “Kombucha also helps to increase intestinal acidity. Use it carefully if you suffer from acid reflux. However, Kombucha helps protect the digestive system from pathogenic microbes. Many Kombucha drinks available at the supermarket contain a lot of added sugars, so please check the label before drinking so that you do not ingest too much. ”
Studies has shown that regular eating of yogurt can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, improve weight maintenance and improve cardiovascular health due to the calcium content.
“The lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species that are typically found in yoghurt protect our immune system and support a healthy metabolism by increasing fullness signals to our brain, ”says Ly. “Strained Greek natural yogurt that is naturally sweetened with your choice of high-fiber fruits like kiwis or mangoes makes a great gut-friendly, high-protein snack.”