By Brittany Darling
I make a real effort to include fermented foods daily. I love kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, live kombucha, miso paste, natural yoghurts, or low sugar probiotic shots. All of these foods are a source of probiotics that help with digestive health, as well as the immune, nervous system, and cardiovascular health.
The gut microbiome contains trillions of bacterial species, known as microbiota. How you were born, where you’ve lived, and travelled, if you have/had pets, and of course, what foods you eat all affect your gut microbiome’s (collection of microbiota) diversity.
When choosing a probiotic product, ensure it contains ~13 different probiotic species. One particular species of note is BB-12, a Bifidobacterium species that has over 130 human clinical trials showing its benefits on gastrointestinal health, immune system, and even improve the body’s resistance to common respiratory infections.
The fermented foods I consume every day are Tummify probiotic shots (contains 13 unique probiotic species including BB12) and Kimchi or sauerkraut in salads.
Prebiotic Rich Foods
Prebiotics are indigestible fibres that act as fuel to ensure your good bacteria thrive. My top prebiotic-rich foods are onions, leek, lentils, and rye (as crackers or bread).
That’s because they contain fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which is a prebiotic to feeds the majority (86%) of beneficial bacterial species.
Now, if I had a dollar for every time a client told me, I cannot eat these foods because they make me bloat, or (insert digestive complaint)! It is true; these foods are high in FOS, which can cause gastric distress to those individuals who are sensitive to FODMAPS. FODMAP stands for (fermentable, oligo, disaccharides, and monosaccharides and polyols).
For “FODMAP” sensitive people, I recommend foods rich in low fodmap fibre to continually provide prebiotics to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Sunfibre (as found in Tummify), resistant starch-containing foods including cold potatoes, brown rice and pasta, slightly green bananas, and rolled oats are my go-to’s for low FODMAP fibre.
Finally, not a food but a drink.
Green tea is a rich source of polyphenols compounds, catechins. Most studies of these catechins are on epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Around 4-5 cups of green tea daily have been shown to help to prevent dysbiosis (imbalance of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria).
Green tea has been shown to increase Bifidobacterium, which in turn improves overall colonic health. Bifidobacterium species mediate short-chain fatty acid production, which acts as a fuel source to keep colonic cells healthy. Green tea also enhances overall gut microbial diversity, one of the key indicators of gut health.
Ok, so now I’ve mentioned way more than five foods! The key though to gut health is ensuring a diversity of prebiotic fibres to fuel to good bacteria and making the consumption of probiotic-rich foods part of your daily routine.
Brittany Darling is an accredited nutritionist and herbalist with over 8 years experience. She works with clients in her Sydney clinic as well as online. Over the past 8 years, Brittany has seen a range of different clients and conditions. Since becoming a mum, she has turned her focus to paediatric nutrition, as well as preconception, fertility optimisation, IVF support, pregnancy, lactations and post natal nutrition. Brittany is also an expert for Tummify. Visit Btittany’s website here and to follow her on Instagram click here.
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