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Why Sauerkraut Is The Solution To All Of Life’s Problems
Ok, that was a bit of a clickbait title. But you’d be surprised how much truth there is to this when it comes to your health.
Much ado is made these days about so-called “superfoods”: foods that are so packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that there are classified as nearly essential. It’s the nutritional equivalent of, “With a deal like this, you can’t afford NOT to buy it!”
But here’s the deal: you can eat all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-filled goodies you want, but it won’t help you that much if your gut bacteria are all screwed up. The microorganisms in your “gut”– which refers to your stomach and digestive system – play a huge role in helping your body actually absorb and process all the nutrients you eat. If these beneficial bacteria are in short supply, many of the nutrients you consume will not help you as much as they should.
Many people in the modern world have done great damage to their gut flora, and their health is suffering as a result.
But why is everyone’s gut bacteria so screwed up?
The primary reason for this problem is the overuse of antibiotics. Not only has this, in many cases, rendered antibiotics ineffective due to germ adaptation, it has led to widespread damage to the gut flora of countless unsuspecting people. Antibiotics, as the name implies, kill bacteria. Bad, good, or neutral bacteria: the medicine doesn’t care. It’s the medicinal equivalent of a hydrogen bomb; it will not distinguish between friend or foe. Anything within its blast radius is toast.
What’s the solution? How can I build a strong gut biome, or rebuild it after taking antibiotics?
There are probiotic supplements you can take, but these tend to be expensive, and supplements are not a one-shot solution. They are intended, as the name implies, to supplement your diet.
You can get the most benefit from adding more probiotic foods to your diet. Fermented foods are the most beneficial in this regard. Almost every culture in the world has some form of fermented cuisine, and we’ve compiled a list of the best ones here to help you level up your eating habits and improve your overall health.
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Fermented foods are the true “superfoods.”
This is the fermented dish people in the Western world are probably most familiar with. It’s also one of the simplest fermented items; it’s just fermented cabbage with salt. That’s it. It is traditionally eaten in Germany, Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe, and in the 20th century it began to spread to other regions of the world. In the United States, it is often served as a side dish with hot dogs in restaurants and at sporting events. To be sure you are getting high quality sauerkraut, don’t just buy any brand. Try to get raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut whenever possible.
Anyone familiar with fermented food knew this was coming. Kimchi is basically the Korean version of sauerkraut, but has a much bolder and spicier flavor. Traditional kimchi is also made with fermented cabbage, but features onions, garlic and carrots as well. There are variations on the recipe from other Asian countries, but this is the most common variety. If you find sauerkraut a bit too bland, you may enjoy kimchi’s intense and robust taste.
Thanks to the modern dairy industry, this may be the most widely available fermented food. Yogurt is a semisolid food made from cow, goat or sheep’s milk. The bacterial cultures used in the fermentation process create lactic acid, which is what gives yogurt its texture. On its own, yogurt has rather sour taste, so it is often flavored with fruit, honey, vanilla or some other ingredient. Some varieties of yogurt are almost like a liquid, while others have a much thicker consistency. Greek yogurt, which has become very popular in recent years, belongs to this latter category. Try not to buy the very cheap yogurts, as these are often made using recombinant bovine growth hormone (RBGH), which is injected into dairy cows to increase milk production.
A food similar to yogurt which has gained popularity in recent years is kefir. This fermented milk beverage originated in the Caucasus mountains. The enormous quantities of healthy bacteria in kefir are believed to contribute to the long lifespans and hearty constitutions of the inhabitants of this region. This might be a good option for people who have trouble digesting cow’s milk products, as goat and sheep milk kefir is becoming more widely available, and many people find these products easier to digest.
READ ALSO: Top 6 Reasons Why You Have Digestive Issues And How To Fix Them
This fermented tea has become popular over the last few years. It is a naturally carbonated beverage that is frequently sold in large glass and comes in many different varieties. It contains billions of beneficial organisms and is considered beneficial for skin health as well. It is usually sold in health food stores, although larger grocery stores are now beginning to stock it.
Of course, there are many other options to choose from as well. Fermented vegetables sold in jars are widely available: there is also notto (fermented soybeans from Japan), and beet kvass, a fermented beverage from Eastern Europe. Even the humble pickle is a fermented food. If you eat pickles, you’ve already taken your first step toward a fermented diet.
Once you step into the world of fermented foods, there are so many different items to choose from, you’ll never get bored.
Oct 20, 2016 at 4:27 pm
Commercial sour kraut has nothing to offer “gut health.” It has vinegar in it that kills all the potentially beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. You’d have to make your own, which is easy.