The bacteria in your gut is also known as gut flora, intestinal microbiota or the microbiome, just some fancy words for the 3 trillion bacteria cells living in your digestive tract.
Yes, you read that correctly THREE TRILLION.
No wonder you may experience digestive problems every once in a while, there is a constant battle between good, health promoting bacteria and bad, disease causing bacteria in your gut BUT don’t worry there is something you can do to improve the balance! Fermentation is a process nearly as old as civilization itself but today fermented foods are being proclaimed for their health benefits.
- They help protect the stomach and intestinal lining by balancing the production of stomach acid.
- Acts as a potent digestive aid which can help reduce constipation.
- They allow good bacteria to grow restoring flora.
- Can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
- It has been found that including these foods in your diet leads to weight loss.
- Eating fermented foods is also known to help improve immune system.
So give it up for fermented foods! Fermented foods are filled with good bacteria that help the gut flora. Fermented foods aren’t the only acclaimed compounds, probiotics and prebiotics are also beneficial in increasing the amount of good bacteria in the gut.
Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients linked to promoting growth of good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics are found in foods like bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus, soy beans and whole wheat foods.
Probiotics are the actual good bacteria naturally present in your gut. Probiotics can help balance the gut flora and are found in fermented dairy foods like yogurt and aged cheeses as well as other foods like kimchi and tempeh. Prebiotics are the food for probiotics so together they are a dynamic duo for promoting a healthy digestive system!