What Does it Mean to Have a “Healthy” Gut?
A healthy gut is one that contains friendly bacteria and immune cells to ward off infectious agents, like bacteria and viruses. A healthy gut also supports well-being by communicating with your brain through nerves and hormones.
How Does Gut Bacteria Influence your Health?
One of the drivers of gut health change is a shift in your microbiome—which is the collection of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi that live in your digestive system. Keeping the good bacteria thriving and the bad bacteria at bay can positively affect many key areas of health, including your:
- Overall sense of well-being
- Immune system
- Risk of developing certain diseases
- Quality of sleep
- Proportion of body fat
The good news is you can actually manipulate your gut bacteria to assure the survival and growth of good bacteria by paying attention to what you put in your mouth.
How Club Fx Pillar #6 Supports the Health of your Gut
Club Fx Pillar #6 states, “Remember functional foods: fresh herbs and fermented foods.”
Functional foods are those foods offering positive health benefits above and beyond basic nutrition. At the top of this list is fermented foods.
These are foods and beverages that have gone through controlled microbial growth and fermentation. Fermentation is a process in which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down food components like sugars and starches into other products, such as organic acids, gases or alcohol. The end result is a food or beverage containing live healthy bacteria!
The Best Fermented Foods to Eat
- Apple cider vinegar
- Fermented soybeans: natto, miso and tempeh
- Fermented vegetables: raw sauerkraut, kimchi, beets, pickles, carrots
- Kefir: fermented milk
- Kombucha: fermented tea
- Fermented cheeses
- Unflavored/unsweetened plant-based or cow’s milk yogurt
When it comes to fermented foods, a little goes a long way. Two servings a day is a nice goal, however if you’re new to fermented foods, I would start small and slow. For example, top off your lunch salad with a spoonful of Heinen’s raw sauerkraut and drizzle it with Bragg salad dressing. I like making my own salad dressing using Bragg apple cider vinegar, Heinen’s avocado oil and a handful of other ingredients. Here’s my favorite recipe: Simple Vinaigrette Dressing.