Think all bacteria is bad? Think again! The tiny micro-organisms that make up your gut flora have a profound impact on your health. In fact, your gastrointestinal system is considered one of the most complex microbial ecosystems on earth. About 90% of your genetic makeup is actually from the bacteria that are living in your gut, that provide important benefits such as:

  1. Increasing your body’s infection-fighting properties and immune system
  2. Helping with the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients
  3. Helping your body detox heavy metals and chemicals
  4. Providing vitamin B and vitamin K
  5. Creating a large percentage of your neurotransmitters and in turn affecting your central nervous system
  6. Preventing your immune system from developing allergies (which are caused by an over-reaction to certain compounds

When it comes down to it, the foundation of your overall health is rooted in the health of  your gut. That’s why a healthy gut is so important.

Can’t see the video? Click here to watch.

Gut Health and Fermented Foods

An improper balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut can lower your immune system and cause illness.  What’s more, it can lead to unhappiness. The expression “Follow your gut” stems from our  gut-brain connection. Your gut and your neurotransmitters regularly communicate. In fact, a whopping 80% of serotonin (your “happy hormone”) is produced in your gut.  Happy gut, happy brain, happy person.

Fermented foods are full of probiotics, or “good bacteria”. Fermented food isn’t really anything new. Yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut have been around for ages! In fact, most cultures consume some sort of fermented food in their diet. For example: Bulgarians consume kefir, Ukrainians consume rye, buttermilk, and sauerkraut, and Asians consume kimchi, onions, etc. People all over the world have been reaping the benefits of fermented food for centuries.

A popular misconception in North America is that we can get our probiotics from yogurt. Unfortunately, the pasteurization process destroys most of the naturally occurring probiotics. What’s more, the sugar, high fructose corn syrup and/or artificial sweeteners produces the opposite effect on our gut. Bad bacteria loves sugar!

So, what’s the best way of consuming “good bacteria”?

  1. A high quality probiotics with several different strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (bifidum, acidophilus, longum, brevis, bulgaris, etc…) can provide your gut the good bacterias it needs.
  2. Fermented foods.

While you can easily pick up fermented food at your local health store, fermenting your own food really isn’t that complicated. It’s also fairly cost effective. The biggest plus is that you have the ability to choose which vegetables you are going to use, potentially increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria; bacteria that you can’t necessarily get from supplements. Check out my video above to to learn more about fermentation and how to ferment your own vegetables!

(Want to watch the video in French? Click here)

References:

http://www.kinetic-culture.com/