The trillions of bacteria living in our bodies react well to everything we eat. What we put into our stomachs is so important that it affects whether we feel well, how flat our bellies are and even our chances of avoiding certain cancers. The more types of friendly gut bacteria we consume, the better job of digestion the gut does, and the less chance that a particular food or food component will upset it or trigger a harmful inflammatory response. Luckily, there are certain foods that can maintain a healthy gut, including:
1. Kefir: Kefir is a fermented dairy product that contains oligosaccharides—complex carbs that feed beneficial bacteria. Keeping those tiny microorganisms happy will help supercharge your immune system.
2. Yogurt: Yogurt boosts the production of probiotics, which are essentially friendly bacteria that are always present in the digestive system. Some foods, such as yogurt, boost the production and activity of these good bacteria.
3. Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is really fermented cabbage that delivers a healthy dose of probiotics and fiber.
4. Kimchi: Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. Similar to other fermented foods, kimchi can boost the activity of healthy micro-organisms in the gut, thereby assisting in the digestion process.
5. Artichokes: Artichokes are potent prebiotics, meaning they contain undigestible nutrients that help feed the beneficial bacteria growth within your digestive system. Think of them like a healthy meal for the helpful bacteria in your gut.
6. Kombucha: Kombucha is a tangy, effervescent tea—typically black or green. This fermented tea serves as a healthy replacement for carbonated drinks like soda. Mildly tart and effervescent, kombucha is teeming with beneficial bacteria to coat your digestive tract. The fermentation process also creates healthy B vitamins that can activate energy.
7. Miso: A fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans, miso adds a nice umami flavor to dishes. Fermented soybeans contain many beneficial bacteria and isoflavones, which can protect against cancer and possibly halt the production of fat cells.
8. Tempeh: Tempeh is made from naturally fermented soybeans. With a slightly nutty flavor, it’s a good source of probiotics.
9. Bananas: Bananas can help to boost the activity of microbes in the intestines, aiding in the digestion process. Bananas have also been linked to the reduction of inflammation due to its high content of potassium and magnesium,