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Beyond Yogurt: Six Healthy Foods Loaded With Probiotics

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By    |   Monday, 21 Mar 2016 03:18 PM

We tend to think that the freshest foods are best. But now research has found that some of the most beneficial foods aren’t farm-to-table items but are actually fermented products loaded with probiotics.

Yogurt may be the best known of such foods, but many others — including pickles, miso, and sauerkraut — also provide living cultures that keep our digestive systems healthy and our immune systems strong.

Since the gut is the largest part of our immune system, it pays to eat healing foods and shun sugars and refined carbohydrates that cause damage.

“Scientists have found that trillions of microbacterial cells live in our intestinal flora,” Jeff Cox, author of “The Essential Book of Fermentation” tells Newsmax Health.

“They aren’t just passive hitchhikers who’ve found a warm place to live. They are intimately connected to our immune system. They are connected to our brain and guide our moods. They take an active part in digesting our food, reducing it to nutrients that can be absorbed through the intestinal walls.”

Cox explains that maintaining a healthy gut is necessary for life, much as microbes are necessary for soil to become a living organism that feeds the plants that grow in it.

“What makes a healthy intestinal flora or soil microbial community? The answer is actively decaying organic matter, the food we eat and the compost we put in the soil,” he says. “Fermented foods with active cultures of bacteria and yeast seed our gut with the very microbes we need for our intestinal flora to be functionally optimal.”

Dr. Ellen Kamhi, PhD., author of “The Natural Medicine Chest” explains that such foods are not some new health fad but have actually been around for centuries.

“Fermented foods have long been a mainstay of human food sources all around the world since ancient times,” she tells Newsmax Health. “Fermentation may have been used initially as a means of food preservation, since once fermented it lasts longer. But now it turns out that in addition to preservation, fermented foods are a panacea for healthy digestion due to the abundance of positive gut healthy probiotics and microbes.”

Scientific research has proven that fermented foods support health and longevity. A recent study in the journal Critical Reviews in Science and Nutrition concluded: “Fermented foods include the prevention of gastrointestinal infections, reduction of serum cholesterol levels and antimutagenic activity.”

Kamhi advises adding small amounts of these foods to your daily diet until your digestive system becomes accustomed to the fermentation.

Here are six of their favorite fermented food stars.

Kefir. This is one of Cox’s favorites. “I pour myself a glass every morning. It’s an incredibly powerful probiotic,” he says. Kefir is fermented milk and comes in a variety of flavors making it easy to drink. It’s more beneficial than yogurt because it contains health-giving yeast as well as probiotics.

Kombucha. This fizzy, fermented black tea has become the staple of many health conscious folks. It is chock full of a variety of microorganisms to help build a strong gut.

Sauerkraut. This one of Kamhi’s favorite fermented foods because her mother and grandmother used to ferment cabbage regularly in their homes. It has a powerful impact on brain health, according to experts, reducing depression and anxiety. You can buy sauerkraut at the grocery store but make sure it contains no added sugar. You are most likely to find the beneficial kind in the refrigerated section of your deli counter.

Pickles. Pickles are probably the fermented food most people know and buy. They provide a healthy dose of probiotics and taste great.

Miso. Cox loves miso for its nutritional profile. The paste made from fermented soybeans and grains is full of essential minerals, like potassium and has millions of microorganisms that give is strength and stamina, he says. To make an easy miso soup, add a tablespoon to a cup of boiling water along with your favorite vegetables like mushrooms, onion and bok choy.

Tempeh. This tasty produce made from fermented soybeans is a complete protein with all the amino acids, says Cox. He suggested using it as a substitute for bacon in BLT’s. Try flavoring organic tempeh with tamari sauce which is also fermented than add it to a sandwich or eat it in a bowl of steamed vegetables.

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Yogurt may be the best known fermented food, loaded with healthy probiotics. But many others — including pickles, miso, and sauerkraut — also provide living cultures that keep our digestive systems healthy and our immune systems strong. Here are six you may not know.
probiotics, yogurt, health
Monday, 21 Mar 2016 03:18 PM
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