Gut Check — Part 4

21 Jan

This series of articles is dedicated to the discussion of your gut flora and the significance that it plays in your overall, digestive, and immune health. We are learning more and more every day about the significance of the bacterial population of your gut. This series will help pronounce that importance and inform you how you can build the optimal city that is your own gut. 

In sum, here are some helpful tips to help you rid your diet of gut-killing foods:

  • Focus your nutrition on whole, minimally processed foods.
  • Minimize your sugar intake — shoot for 30 grams or less per day.
  • Avoid trans fats at all costs.
  • Opt for organic sources of dairy (i.e., no antibiotics) and choose yogurts that specify “live cultures.”
  • Steer clear of farm-raised salmon and other fish — instead, choose wild varieties.
  • Choose organic produce, especially when it comes to the Dirty Dozen.

The good news is that there are foods that contain probiotics and actually increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. Let’s talk solutions! Traditional fermented or cultured foods are a terrific source of good bacteria.

Before sanitation and modern-day preservation techniques, our Paleo ancestors employed fermentation as a technique to preserve foods. As a matter of fact, the fermentation process preserves food by allowing good bacteria to destroy bad bacteria. Humankind has long known the significance of good bacteria!

The word “traditional” is very important here because, sadly, many of today’s versions of these foods are pasteurized (see above) or otherwise acidified enough to kill any viable probiotic cultures.  Probiotics are living microorganisms and many conventional methods of processing render these volatile bacteria dead.

So, what are the BEST sources of probiotics?

#1: Yogurt

Remember that most yogurts are not only made from pasteurized milk (i.e., “dead” food), but also many of them have added artificial sweeteners as well as high sugar counts. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll know that’s another strikeout. Yogurts made from organic, raw milk and whose labels say “live cultures,” on the other hand, are excellent sources of probiotics. You can eat your yogurt plain, add fruit to it, add it to your smoothies, and even use it in a variety of recipes.

#2: Kefir

Not to be confused with Jack Bauer, kefir is a cultured milk product that is low in lactose and abundant in good bacteria. The strains of bacteria that kefir contains are different from those in yogurt, and its probiotics tend to have a better survival rate through the stomach. After all, we need those little bacteria to make it all the way to the finish line. Watch out for many commercially available kefir products that contain added sugars. You’ll be better of opting for the “plain” varieties. Kefir provides a great probiotic boost to your smoothies.

#3: Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional spicy Korean condiment that is made of cabbage or other vegetables like radishes, cucumbers, or scallions, and seasoned with salt, garlic, ginger, and peppers. As Korea’s national dish, kimchi is to Korea as pasta is to Italy. As with other fermented foods, kimchi provides a different strain of good bacteria. Kimchi can be eaten as condiment, as a stew or soup, or even used in recipes.

#4: Miso and Tempeh

Of Japanese descent, these soy-based foods are filled with good bacteria, which stems from the mold that’s produced during the fermentation process. That’s right, we’re here to tell you that not all soy is evil. Tempeh is actually a form of fermented soybean, which is generally found in a patty or cake-like form. It is most often used as a meat analogue (i.e., veggie burger). Miso is a Japanese seasoning that is created as a thick paste-like substance. It is most often found in miso soup.

#5 Natto

This is one pungent, sticky mess packed with probiotics. Don’t let that deter you. Natto hails from traditional Japanese cuisine, and much like miso and tempeh, it is a fermented version of soybeans that often appears like a sticky web. Natto is often served on top of rice, and in the Japanese culture, is a popular breakfast food.

#6: Lassi

Not your average yogurt, lassi comes from Indian cuisine. Lassi is a yogurt-based drink that is made by combining cultured milk with Indian spices. The drink can range from savory (seasoned with cumin or turmeric) to sweet. The latter versions are generally blended with fruits, telling us that the Indian culture was on to healthy smoothies long before us.

#7: Sauerkraut

Directly translated from German as “sour cabbage,” sauerkraut is made from fermenting…you guessed it, cabbage! Be sure to find fresh sauerkraut, or make your own. The canning process often requires high heat, which kills off the majority of the good bacteria that you would hope to find in your sauerkraut. The Germans, known for their beer and bratwursts, knew how to keep their guts in proper balance.

#8: Kombucha Tea

This tea originated in China and is made from the kombucha culture, which contains a series of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. The health benefits associated with kombucha are numerous. Kombucha tea can be found in various flavors at your local grocer. You can also easily obtain the ingredients needed to ferment your own tea, which can be flavored with many different herbs and spices; for example, ginger makes for a tasty tea.

Pro-X10™: The Key to Optimzing Your Gut Health

Here’s the downside to these probiotic foods: you have to eat a lot EVERY day. And how much sauerkraut can you REALLY eat? I’m guessing not much.

It’s also important to realize that fermented foods are like dog breeds. That is, each fermented food contains a very specific strain of good bacteria and each strain serves a specific task in the body. As a result, you’d be best off eating a variety of fermented foods on a regular basis, as opposed to the same one daily.

Clearly, there are limitations when it comes to populating your gut with good bacteria. To say that consuming fermented foods is an acquired taste would be an understatement. On top of that, you have to find reliable sources of these foods — or make them yourself. What’s more, you have to eat a pretty fair amount to get the pure number of probiotics that you need. Lastly, you have to consume a wide variety of these foods to populate your gut with the most diverse and effective bunch of good bacteria.

Fortunately, there’s an even easier, more efficient, and more highly effective way you can optimize your gut flora every day: Pro-X10™.

Pro-X10™ is the most powerful probiotic supplement available to you today, and it’s one of the smartest supplements that you can invest in to fix your digestive system and optimize your immune system.

To enhance your gut flora and overall health, eliminate those foods that kill your gut health, add in some of the fermented, probiotic-rich foods listed above, and begin supplementing with a high-powered probiotic supplement like Pro-X10™. Cheers to your optimal gut and overall health!

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One Response to “Gut Check — Part 4”

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  1. Three Offenders of Gut Health | Fit 4 a King - March 8, 2013

    […] BEST? Of course you would, I would not be fulfilling my moral obligation by leaving you hanging. In Gut Check: Part 4,  we delve into the best foods for gut health, as well as recap why EVERYONE can benefit from a […]

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