Over the past few years we’ve been hearing more and more about gut health, and the role it plays in maintaining a happy, healthy body. Each human body contains about 100 trillion microbial cells, which account for up to three percent of its total weight. These cells, which are known as the body’s ‘microbiota’, help to digest food and modulate the immune system. New research is also increasingly linking them to a range of essential health outcomes.
Given the importance of a healthy gut, many are now turning to fermented foods to help boost their microbiome. While researchers are still studying the effects of these foods, a few extra good bacteria never hurt anybody – so why not try adding a few of these fermented treats to your diet? (Yes, we know beer and wine are fermented too, but try some others first).
Everyone’s favourite fermented dairy product, yoghurt is one of the easiest ways to give your tummy some probiotic love. It’s also a good source of calcium and protein. Skip the extra sugar that comes with low-fat or flavoured varieties and opt for a few spoonfuls of natural Greek yoghurt.
Kombucha is a form of fermented black tea, created by adding natural sugars, bacteria and yeast. The result is a fizzy, tangy drink that’s high in probiotics.
It can be an acquired taste, but many pre-bottled varieties come in a range of yummy fruit flavours, so you can shop around for one that suits your tastebuds.
Finely cut cabbage, pickled by lactic acid bacteria – otherwise known as sauerkraut – has been eaten across Europe for hundreds of years. As well as being low in saturated fat and a good source of dietary fibre, it’s thought to help promote a healthy digestive tract.