You might find it hard to believe, but the bacteria living in your gut outnumber the cells of your body by a factor of ten to one. Did you also know that 99% of your genetic material is bacterial DNA, and not the DNA you inherited from your parents? Yes, this means you are 99% bacteria!
Typically when we think of bacteria on our body, we immediately have the urge to break out a bottle of hand sanitizer. Not so fast! Many of these bacteria are beneficial to your health, and destroying them is the worst thing you could do.
This collection of more than 100 trillion organisms living within your intestines, mouth and nose, called your microbiome, influences practically everything about you. Including your:
- Immune system
- Risk of developing cancer and diabetes
- Body weight
- Food cravings
To grow and sustain the good bacteria, in addition to eating a balanced diet chock full of a wide variety of plant-based foods and low in processed foods, you’ll also want to eat a steady supply of prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods.
Prebiotics are food for the good bacteria and are just as important as probiotics. They include nuts and vegetables and fruits such as asparagus, leeks, artichokes, garlic, beans, onions, chicory, jicama, broccoli, apples, berries and more!
Probiotics are foods or supplements containing live bacteria that replace or add to the beneficial bacteria normally present in your gut. They include probiotic supplements and also fermented foods from your Fx 100 list like:
- Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- Fermented soybeans: miso and tempeh
- Fermented vegetables: raw sauerkraut, kimchi, beets, pickles, carrots
- Fermented cashew cheeses
- Kombucha, a fermented tea beverage
- Unflavored/unsweetened plant-based or grass-fed yogurt
Other fermented foods you can find at Heinen’s include:
- Fermented olives (Big Picture Organic Olives)
- Kefir, a fermented milk beverage
How to incorporate fermented foods into your meals:
The beauty of fermented foods is they are super simple to incorporate into your meals. To get you started, try one or more of the ideas below.
An important note: Beneficial bacteria are destroyed at around 115°F, therefore fermented foods like sauerkraut should be used at the end of cooking if you want to preserve their health benefits.
- Make a simple salad dressing using Bragg apple cider vinegar. To a Mason jar add ¼ cup vinegar, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of raw honey, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 clove of minced garlic, and sea salt/pepper to taste. Secure lid and shake to combine!
- Fermented vegetables, like raw sauerkraut to traditional recipes. Check out this week’s featured recipe for Gut Boosting Potato Salad!
- Regular olives with fermented olives. I love adding fermented olives to my salads!
- Regular cheese with fermented cashew cheese for spreading on crackers and sandwiches.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages with kombucha.
Food for thought …
The good news is the bacteria in your microbiome have a lifespan of about 20 minutes. This means you have the opportunity to build a population of healthy bacteria every time you eat!