Fermented foods are all the rage so you might be thinking it’s just another fad. Yet fermented foods have been around long before your great grandma made her own sauerkraut. Fermented foods contain Probiotics, which support your healthy gut bacteria. A happy, healthy gut means a healthy you. Gut dysbiosis, on the other hand, has been linked to obesity, diabetes, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), and depression. More and more links between gut health and overall well-being are being discovered every day. So here’s three fermented foods to eat NOW:
- Sauerkraut: I like to think of sauerkraut as a gateway fermented food. It’s great on hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches and it’s easy to find in the supermarket. It’s also the first thing many people make when they enter the land of DIY fermentation. Bubbies brand is recommended (that’s not a paid endorsement) for those who can’t have processed sugar since it only contains cabbage, salt and water. Also take a look at what else is on the grocery store shelf because there’s a wealth of little companies making delicious and interesting sauerkraut. For those with SIBO and IBS, the Monash FODMAP app lists sauerkraut as high FODMAP in 1 cup and low FODMAP in 1 tablespoon. There may be amounts in between that you tolerate, so start with 1 tablespoon and go up from there.
- Yogurt: It’s funny that I should say try yogurt, because, who hasn’t already? But I recommend moving away from the “fruit on the bottom” supermarket yogurt that has a boat load of sugar in it. Buy a larger container of full fat yogurt, put it in glass “to go” containers and add your own fruit, honey, nuts, etc. It’s much more cost efficient and tastes better. Add only as much honey as you need to and your taste preferences will change over time. I recommend full fat because fat helps you feel satiated and also helps regulate blood sugar. In addition to Probiotics, yogurt is a rich source of protein, calcium, Vitamin D, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12. For those with IBS or SIBO, try White Mountain 24 hour yogurt (lactose free/low FODMAP) or make your own.
- Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented tea, sometimes with added sugar or juice. If you can make your own – do it! If not, look for the brand with the least grams of sugar. Drinking kombucha will provide you with supportive Probiotics and increase your absorption of amino acids and polyphenols. For those with IBS or SIBO, kombucha is low FODMAP in 180 mL or a teacup and high FODMAP in 250 mL or a mug.