Wouldn’t it be nice if eating healthy were something you felt driven to do? Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have so many pesky cravings for the sweets and processed carbs that often seem to control you? Wouldn’t it be lovely if your appetite was exactly in line with keeping you at a healthy body weight?
Well what if I said we have an army inside you that can either help you reach all those wishes and help to make them reality? It’s called your microbiome, all the bacteria living inside your GI tract that make up 99% of the DNA in your body, and 4-5 pounds of mass!
This army can either act for you by regulating your metabolism, altering your cravings and appetite, and even affect your mood. But what you feed them matters. If you mainly eat processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners – pretty much the Standard American Diet (SAD) – then you grow the bugs that increase your cravings for those same foods! These bugs promote inflammation and damage to your gut lining, and lower your immune system.
But by eating more of the foods in this article and less of the others, the opposite happens – you will lower your cravings for the junk, lower inflammation, boost your immune system, and regulate your appetite!
You’ve heard that probiotics, or the live microorganisms found in certain fermented foods are good for you. You might eat yogurt once in awhile to help your body replenish these healthy bugs. But if you eat commercially produced yogurt, you’re only getting 1-3 billion live organisms in a serving.
That seems like a huge number, but trust me, in micro-terms it’s not much. If you made your own yogurt at home, for instance, you’re looking at hundreds of billions of live organisms!
Since many commercial yogurts are also full of sugar, you’re feeding the unhealthy bacteria as well. And don’t think the artificially sweetened or diet yogurts are better. Artificial sweeteners alter our gut bacteria too!
But commercial yogurt isn’t your only option when it comes to growing your healthy gut bacteria. Here are 17 other foods and beverages rich in the healthy little bugs:
- Kim chee
- Raw pickles
- Fermented vegetables
- Coconut kefir
- Raw whey
- Raw vinegars
- Fermented sausages
- Sourdough bread (homemade or with only minimal ingredients)
- Essene or Sprouted grain bread
- Kefir (look for unsweetened)
- Homemade yogurt
While beer and wine are fermented as well, the alcohol they contain can actually kill off some healthy bacteria, so I’m not sure how much benefit they would have.
Eating probiotic-rich foods is not the only way to colonize your gut with an army of helpful microbes. They need to eat, too! There are several prebiotic rich foods that the healthy bacteria feed and multiply on that the unhealthy bugs don’t like. While the bad bugs are feeding off the sugar and processed carbs you eat, here is what to feed your friends:
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Burdock root
- Chinese chives
- Honey (in moderation)
- Green tea
- Yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir
Add a variety of the pro- and prebiotic foods into your daily diet, and grown your own protective army that works for you!
If you think this could help someone, please share 🙂
Lipski, E. Digestive Wellness. 2011 – McGraw-Hill – New York, NY.