Probiotics 101: The Benefits of Fermented Foods

probiotics101-fermentedfoods

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend.

One of the most common complaints I see in new clients is digestive issues. Whether it is heartburn, bloating, bowel dysfunction or more serious disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, gastrointestinal distress tops the list of issues by far.

Because of that, I see a lot of people who have been prescribed over the counter or prescription medications to manage these conditions. They take antacids, laxatives, or anti-diarrheals, all to manage issues that are highly preventable. They are also readily treatable with a mindful and healthy diet and some key supplements.

If you struggle with GI distress, the very first place to look is your diet. You’re eating three times a day, so what you put in your gut is the main culprit of how your digestion will respond. Feed yourself low quality and processed food, you can expect to not feel well. Eating a nutritious diet though, will allow your digestion to hum along as it should.

In addition, there are key foods you can include in your diet to help enhance your GI health even more.

You may be familiar with the term “probiotic.” These are microorganisms that help to recolonize beneficial bacteria in the gut which in turn allows for healthy digestion, assimilation of nutrients and elimination. They are essential not only for healthy digestion but also your overall health, vitality, immunity and happiness.

Although probiotics are available in pill form, there are specific foods you can include in your diet to help replenish these good bacteria. In today’s video, I will share with you what they are…

Once you’ve watched the video I want to hear from you!

Have you ever eaten any of these foods? If so, what benefits did you experience? Did you find your immunity improve or your mood stabilize? I’d love to know. Also, how did you prepare them to enhance flavor? Please leave your comment below so that we can all benefit from your experience.

Probiotics are one of the single most important aspects of your health and well-being. Whether you get them in the form of food or supplements, I encourage you to explore these options to help you move closer to your health goals. And as always, if you choose to take a supplement, discuss it with your doctor.

Have a great week everyone and stay well!

xo
B

Share Your Thoughts...

31 comments on “Probiotics 101: The Benefits of Fermented Foods

  1. Sandra

    Take a probiotic now but also looking at making fermented veggies I have read it is better to start with a starter but cannot find information on what the starter is made from what is your take on this? 2nd question when buying kimchee how do I tell which is the best? Sugar no sugar how much etc? Always find useful information in your videos to support what I am looking into myself Thanks

    Reply
    1. Kay Pearce

      Barbara, I enjoy your videos. They are helpful!

      I wanted to mention something that I have read many times about soy and tofu and I would like to hear your take on these foods.

      I have read for years that soy causes cancer, especially breast cancer and should be avoided by women, especially if there is a family history. I have also read that row can cause breast enlargement in men.

      What does your research show?
      Thank you.

      Reply
      1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

        Hi Kay~
        This is like the hanging chads… it’s inconclusive. There are some studies that suggest that it does while others claim it has a protective aspect to it. So what the medical establishment does is err on the side of caution. That being said, I am not a fan of soy for many reasons (it’s a GMO crop, it blocks thyroid fxn and is very difficult to digest), so to me, it is a food best avoided unless it is fermented like the miso and tempeh.
        Hope this is helpful~
        B

        Reply
    2. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Hi Sandra! Apologies on the delay as I did not get notification of your post. There are several ways to ferment, from salt water to whey and also sugar, so you’d have to do a little research on what would work best for you. The information is definitely on line if you do a quick search. As for sugar, it is often used as a fermentation starter but the less sugar the better. So when buying Kimchee, choose one that is lower in sugar, or preferably no sugar which means they have likely used a different fermentation process.
      I hope this helps! And I am working on a fermented pickle recipe for an upcoming video so stay tuned to that~
      Thanks again and again, apologies on the delay!

      Reply
  2. Ellie

    I got a good gut feeling watching that video! Really interesting!
    I have two questions. There’s a place near me that makes fabulous raw sauerkraut and kimchee. However, I’m one of the many people who has trouble digesting cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage. I’ve heard that fermentation removes or “eats up” the offending substance. It that true? I sure would love to eat raw sauerkraut; it’s delicious. My second question is a similar one about kombucha, which I also love. Is the sugar content transformed during fermentation so as not to be detrimental or to trigger cravings? Thanks, Barbara!

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Hey Ellie! You should be able to digest fermented cruciferous vegetables bc the fermentation process makes them easier on the gut. But start with a small amount and see how you do before having a whole lot. As for Kombucha, it should not trigger cravings as it is more tart than sweet and the residual sugar is minimal, about 2 grams per serving which is less than 1/2 teaspoon. It should be fine. But again, have a little and see how you go, since everyone is different 🙂
      xo

      Reply
  3. Kate

    Regular sourkraut? Regular pickles? Regular pickled beets?
    Fermented vs “pickled” ? Please clarify for me.

    Reply
  4. Lynn Nevins

    I’m a huge fan of Japanese cuisine, but you’re not kidding when you say that natto is an ‘acquired taste’. I found it quite repulsive. I’m surprised however that you didn’t mention greek yogurt or other yogurts with naturally-occurirng probiotics…or doesn’t kefir also have alot of probiotics? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      I actually did mention yogurt to start off the video, but I also said I’m not a fan of dairy products and that there are other ways of getting beneficial bacteria that does not include dairy…. In any case, thanks for your thoughts on Natto… that seems to be the consensus 🙂

      Reply
  5. Nancy "Space"

    I love Kombucha! I drink the very brand shown in your video. My favorite flavor is Multi-Greens, which includes ingredients I would never get anywhere else. I do not eat sugar or grains. I am in my 70’s, active, happy and healthy!!

    Thank you for the information you provide us.
    Nancy

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      How great! Glad to know you are doing well with your healthy lifestyle! It really makes such a difference when you feed yourself and take care of yourself optimally!
      Stay well Nancy!
      B

      Reply
  6. Monique

    I have been making my own sauerkraut for years and my whole family loves it. I realize straight from my garden is better if you are eating fresh vegetables. Is the same true if you are eating fermented vegetables?
    Thanks for the great information in your video

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      That sounds great Monique! and yes, straight from the garden and homemade is ALWAYS the best way to go! The closer to home the better~ Your family is very fortunate to have these options and you, who delivers them~

      Reply
  7. Catherine

    Hi Barbara!
    I love your Motivational Monday messages! And the timing of this one is perfecto! I happen to be going in for my first-ever colonoscopy tomorrow morning and I’m preparing to reintroduce as many probiotic foods into my system after the procedure to undo the effects of taking the chemical concoction to clear out the bowels beforehand.

    Guns a’blazing – I’ve got sour kraut (fave is with caraway seeds found at Union Square Farmers Mkt), kombucha, miso and bone broth in the wings.
    Are you a fan of a particular probiotic supplement? Or is there anything to look for when shopping for a probiotic that you find beneficial?
    I’m taking this opportunity to cleanse and rebuild my gut/2nd brain :-))
    Thank you for all your support!

    Catherine

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Sounds great Catherine! All those foods will be helpful. As for a supplement, I usually recommend the 5 BU Jarro-dophilus to get started. Sometimes when you begin introducing probiotics you can get a die-off reaction, so to go on a high potency would increase the chances of that happening. Start low and then increase to high if you need it. But if you’re eating as you described you will likely get a lot from your food! Good luck tomorrow… I am sure it will all be well!
      xo

      Reply
  8. Audrey Cohen

    How can I make fermented beets or fermented carrots? Is fermented similar to “pickled” as in pickled beets?

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      That is a complicated and lengthy process~ But I am in the process of hopefully scheduling an interview with Oliver Weston company to do a demo for us, so fingers crossed. If it happens, it won’t be until the summer, but you will certainly be able to learn by watching that when it comes out. Sorry I can’t offer more right now, but it is important it is done well, b/c if not it can actually be dangerous, so better to wait and get it right 🙂

      Reply
  9. Francesca

    Thanks B! Is there any preferred way to eat fermented foods or take the supplements for maximum benefits, i.e. a few hours before a meal, or directly after, or with food? Or does it not matter so much?

    Reply
    1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      The foods can be eaten whenever you like, but the supplements are a different story. You can either take with food OR on an empty stomach with a big glass of water to neutralize stomach acid that would otherwise compromise their absorption. The empty stomach with lots of water is my preferred way~

      Reply
  10. Katherine Powell

    Hi Barbara,

    Thank you for this information. I have been hearing a lot about fermented foods lately, and it seems so strange to me that foods which have always seems a bit “off” to me are actually good for you. I will definitely try to start eating some of the foods you mentioned, even though they are definitely an acquired taste!

    Katherine

    Reply
  11. Lisa

    Hi Barbara! Great video. I take probiotics daily and I love tempeh. I make meatless meatballs and meatless meatloaf with it! What was the name of the company in Brooklyn? Thanks.

    Reply
  12. lia

    Hi B ~ what are your thoughts on Kefir? I have a family member with Chron’s and he swears by it. He keeps the kefir germ in a glass of cow’s milk in a dark cupboard for a day, then mixes the milk with fruit/veg to make a smoothie. I’ll pass this video along to him. Wonderful information ~ as always! Take care, lia

    Reply
    1. Moira Casadei

      recently grated some fresh horseradish, mixed with ACV and pinch of salt. It is my go-to lunch on a hard boiled duck egg which is said to improve alkalinity….true or false?

      Reply
      1. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

        The ACV for sure is alkaline forming and the horseradish is also helpful… the salt though and the egg not as much. One great way to increase alkalinity is to have ACV in warm water upon arising on an empty stomach every day. That will help enormously!
        I love horseradish… I think I need to go find some now…
        Thanks Moira!

        Reply
    2. Barbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Hi Lia! I am not a fan of dairy, even if it is Kefir, unless they are making it with raw/unpasteurized milk which is very hard to find. There is a Kefir that is made without dairy but it is far less tasty. That being said, if your family member is benefiting from the Kefir they’re using, then I would leave them to it. Better to feel good… and then when they are ready they can always up the ante by experimenting with other options.
      Thanks for the comment~ I hope all is well with you!
      xo

      Reply

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