A healthy gut is a happy gut. Fermented foods have been gaining more and more popularity among the population and with good reason. They’re so good for you and your gut. They are full of probiotics which are full of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms. I know, bacteria sounds gross and in some cases it is but when it comes to our gut they are especially beneficial. There are actually several strains of beneficial bacteria that are good for us.
Fermented foods are made using a process called lacto-fermentation. Bacteria, yeast, and a variety of microorganisms are responsible for breaking down sugar and starch in the food we eat and turns it into lactic acid. Lactic acid created during the fermentation process is a natural preservative and it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria which is the reason that fermented foods have such an extended shelf life.
Fermented foods digest easily as the nutrients break down into their most digestible form. The process of lacto-fermentation can add nutritional value to your food, producing B vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes not naturally present in the food before fermentation. Which is like an added bonus.
So what is the link between fermented foods and gut health?
The word “lacto” as in the portion of the term lacto-fermentation refers to a specific species of bacteria called Lactobacillus. Various strains of these bacteria are naturally present in plants and even your gut microbiome. In fact, strains of Lactobacillus are often found in probiotic supplements because of their gut health benefits.
During the fermentation process, these strains of bacteria are able to multiply fast because, in addition to producing enzymes and nutrients, the fermentation process produces prebiotics, which is food for probiotics. So fermented foods are very high in probiotics and prebiotics, which feed your gut’s natural probiotics when you eat them.
For this reason, people with gut health issues, particularly Candida overgrowth or SIBO, often add fermented foods into their diet as part of their treatment protocol. They want to rebuild their population of probiotics that keep the bad bacteria and yeast in check. When dealing with gut health issues it is important to understand what is going on inside the gut universe before trying to treat gut issues yourself. For instance, gut health issues such as SIBO and leaky gut may require more fermented foods but in some cases it is actually best to avoid them as to not add more bacteria where there is an overgrowth.
A healthy gut is a happy gut and a happy gut means a better you. Eating a balanced diet full of the right foods can make all the difference when it comes to gut health and healing. If you have gut issues it might be wise to talk to your doctor before making any diet changes just to be sure you’re going in the right direction. Everyone has a unique microbiome and they should all be treated as such. When in doubt get it checked out!