If you have been trying to figure out the cause of an ongoing health issue such as acne, brittle hair, or dry skin, or even mental health issues such as ADHD or depression, without success, you may be missing a very simple piece of the puzzle. Most people do not realize the important role fermented foods can play in your overall health. A balanced gut is the foundation of health and what you eat directly determines how healthy your gut will be.
Fermented foods are the key to a robust digestive system and gut; they balance gut flora and maintain the proper levels of good bacteria in your body. If you consistently experience any of the above health issues or digestive complaints like bloating, constipation, and gas, you may want to consider adding some or all of these five fermented foods into your diet.
If you’re anything like I used to be, you might be thinking, ew, gross, but stick with me here — our taste buds change as we age, so if you haven’t tried sauerkraut since you were a child, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Adults tend to be more accepting of stronger flavors such as salty and sour, so why not give it another shot? It may take a few tries, but I bet the flavour will grow on you, especially when you start to notice all of the amazing benefits sauerkraut provides. Comprising only fermented cabbage with salt, it is an incredibly healthy and light option for introducing incredible flavour into your meals. It is important to buy raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut to ensure you get all of the benefits, however. You can also make your own fairly easily. Eat a couple of forkfuls with your meal or add it to avocado toast, salad, or your favorite grain bowl, and watch how each dish is elevated to new and exciting heights.
Now, I am not referring to the classic Bick’s Dill Pickles or Vlassic’s that you’ll find most commonly in conventional grocery stores, as these contain numerous additives which are best avoided. I am instead talking about naturally fermented pickles which become tasty little probiotic powerhouses. You can use these pickles in the same way you would use regular old dill pickles, but will have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing some good for your body.
Kombucha has really been trending lately. Becoming increasingly popular over the last few years, it may just be the tastiest way to get a good dose of probiotics into your system. Kombucha is a naturally fermented, naturally effervescent tea that is fantastic for gut and skin health and for boosting energy as well. You can find it at most health food stores, but you can also very easily make your own.
Beet Kvass is an Eastern European drink that is made by fermenting beets in water with salt and whey. It has been known to protect against disease by significantly boosting gut health and therefore immunity as well. Kvass is known for its liver cleansing qualities and is thought to improve blood quality.
Beets alone are great for digestive and kidney health, and when fermented they truly become an incredible elixir. It can be consumed as is or added to soup, salad dressings, or sauces for an extra boost of probiotics and flavor.
Natto is a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybean, which is known for its strong smell and flavor. Like all fermented foods, natto has incredible probiotic properties and significantly improves the balance of the good and bad bacteria in the gut, which in turn improves digestion, immunity, skin health, and more.
Natto is often eaten alongside rice, though it would also work quite well in a quinoa bowl. It boasts a high fiber content, and is also high in vitamin B, calcium, iron, and protein. Be sure to get organic natto to ensure it is made with GMO-free soybeans.
What are your favorite fermented foods? Have you benefited from adding them to your diet?