At our annual National Convention last spring, many experts came to share their health and lifestyle insights with those lucky enough to attend.
If you weren’t able to make it, don’t fret. You can still get great advice from our guests, even keynote speaker Dr. David Perlmutter.
Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He’s written three books: Grain Brain, The Grain Brain Cookbook and Brain Maker, which all demonstrate Perlmutter’s unique approach to neurological disorders.
He proposes that the brain and gut are absolutely connected, and an imbalance in either will cause the other grief, sometimes resulting in serious medical issues.
In the early stages of brain or gut distress, a diet change and stress reduction are recommended by Perlmutter. He often speaks about the importance of probiotics and the healthy bacteria that live in our gut. And a great way to get probiotics is by eating fermented foods.
Perlmutter mentions a few common fermented foods that can boost your probiotics, but here are some more to add to your diet.
This superfood is made by taking raw vegetables and fermenting them in a puree of fruits, garlic, ginger and Asian spices. It has a tangy, spicy taste that pairs well with Asian foods, like noodles, rice and Asian-style meats.
Kimchi preserves the prebiotic nutrients that already exist in fresh vegetables while self-generating probiotics as it ferments. That makes this food a must for those looking to boost their gut health.
The word “sauerkraut” literally translates to “sour cabbage,” which is just what this tart topping is. Finely cut cabbage gives hungry bacteria the sugars they need for fermentation, leaving you with a sour tasting cabbage that works wonders for gut health.
Sauerkraut is a popular topping on German bratwursts and hot dogs, but it can also be made into a soup or salad or mixed with mashed potatoes.
Bacteria called “yogurt cultures” help to create this popular dairy snack through fermentation. The bacteria eat the sugars in milk, which causes fermentation and all of those probiotic benefits.
Sugars used to ferment foods are fine, but adding sugars after fermentation is where the problem lies. If yogurt is your probiotic food of choice, be cautious of the added sugars and flavors in your snack.
Choosing the wrong type can undo the natural goodness your body receives from yogurt.
This soy-based product is an excellent source of protein, which has made it popular in vegetarian cuisine. It is made from the natural culturing and fermentation of soybeans, which also make tempeh a great probiotic food.
Tempeh often comes in a loaf with a firm, cake-like texture. It has an earthy flavor that, like all fermented foods, becomes more pronounced with age. It is similar to tofu, but retains the whole soybean, so the taste and texture are slightly different. Give this unique food a try and watch it work wonders on your gut!
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning that comes from fermenting soybeans. It comes in a thick paste that can be used for sauces or spreads, but you probably recognize it from the popular miso soup.
This seasoning is not only a great sources of probiotics, it’s also high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, making this simple spice a staple around the world. Delicious miso soups you can make at home are easy to find at any grocery store so make sure to add miso to your shopping list.
Kefir is made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, coconut, rice or soy and kefir “grains,” which contain the perfect bacteria and yeast mixture to create a probiotic masterpiece. The result of this combination are cauliflower-looking clumps that contain powerful health benefits.
The mucous-like texture provides the ideal conditions in your digestive tract for the colonization of friendly bacteria. Kefir can be consumed as a milk substitute or used in baking to create scrumptious sourdough bread or as a buttermilk replacement.
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is said to provide numerous health benefits. Although it takes a lot of sugar to initially make the drink, that sugar gets eaten during fermentation and turns this beverage in a probiotic dream.
Dr. Perlmutter explains more about Kombucha in this video.
While you can get a good dose of probiotics from food, it’s hard to reach your ideal probiotic levels with the right varieties of probiotics by diet alone. A probiotic supplement can help you maintain healthy levels of probiotics without needing to eat sauerkraut every day.