Have you tried adding fermented foods and beverages into your diet, doing everything possible to nourish your gut only to find yourself experiencing the same undesirable digestive symptoms or even getting worse?
I’m here to tell you that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and you may not be making the best choices when it comes to fermented foods and beverages.
As you may have noticed, in the past couple of years gut health has become the most talked-about health topic, and for good reason. There are 100 trillion bacteria residing in your gut that are not only responsible for digesting food but also influencing your mood, immunity, energy levels and overall wellbeing (read more here). With the popularity of this topic has come a bombardment of products landing in our supermarket shelves and fridges, some good and some not so good!
It is absolutely vital that we support this unique ecosystem and feed our gut bugs with quality probiotics, however this is often where we see people going wrong. So let’s break it down and look at the top 3 common mistakes with fermented foods (and beverages).
1. You drink kombucha like it’s going out of fashion:
Kombucha can be a great addition to your diet, however it is important to recognise that quantity and your current state of health are key factors to consider. Did you know that kombucha was originally designed for consumption in 30-60ml doses? Not only are we consuming 300-500ml bottles, but the sugar content is often far too high. Kombucha is also a wild ferment, made from a SCOBY and therefore contains bacteria and yeast. Yeast is required in the right amounts, but in a gut with limited bacterial diversity and kombucha over consumed, bacterial overgrowths and dysbiosis (imbalance of bacteria in the gut) can result.
The solution: stick to 1-2 (30ml serves) of kombucha over the course of a week. If you experience any bloating and/or intense sugar cravings straight after it may be beneficial to temporarily steer clear and look into some other gut healing strategies and testing with the help of a TNN practitioner.
2. Probiotic yoghurts have got you covered:
Unfortunately, the truth is non-organic, sugar-laden dairy products including probiotic yoghurts are pasteurized and contain an abundance of artificial ingredients that do the exact opposite of supporting your gut health. The pasteurization process involves exposure to high temperatures to destroy impurities, which at the same time, destroys the nutritious constitutes and even the strength of the bacterial strains.
The solution: make your own fermented yoghurt so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body and encouraging bacterial diversity which is paramount to optimising your health. We absolutely love Kultured Wellness – all you need to do is purchase your starter culture and add coconut cream to make yoghurt or coconut water to make kefir. No elaborate equipment and only a small investment of time.
3. You don’t consume prebiotics:
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibre compounds and one of the main sources of nutrition for the friendly bacteria in the gut, promoting healthy gastrointestinal function. These guys are just as important as probiotics to ensure that you are giving ‘fuel’ to the beneficial bacteria that live within your gut at present.
The solution: it’s simple – consume a healthy balanced diet, with an abundance of vegetables and prebiotic rich foods such as garlic, onion, under ripe bananas, cooked and cooled white rice and sweet potato, just to name a few! Sometimes it’s just about getting back to basics and realising the true power of whole foods.
In summary, the key message is that diversity is king when it comes to consuming pro and prebiotic foods and above all else, listen to what your body is telling you. If you are continually experiencing discomfort from certain fermented foods, we encourage comprehensive testing to get to the root cause of dysfunction and determine what strains of bacteria your body needs to reach equilibrium and therefore optimum health.
To find out how we can help, book your complimentary 15-minute consultation online here.