OUr gut flora is comprised of harmless bacteria groups. These bacteria play an important role in our body’s defense system as they help develop the immune response. In other words, gut flora prevent harmful bacteria from growing in the mucus lining.
Not all bacteria are dangerous for the body. We actually often destroy good bacteria with bad dietary habits, excessive alcohol consumption and certain medications.
The good news is that you can replenish the good bacteria without too much effort by eating the right foods. Below, we’ll show you the best options for probiotic and prebiotic foods.
Probiotic foods for a healthy gut flora
One of the most popular options for probiotic food these days is kefir. It’s the healthiest and best choice for digestion thanks to its rich in live cultures and to the fact that it contains less lactose than yogurt.
The base is a live yeast that starts in goat, cow or sheep’s milk. After 28 to 48 days, the kefir is strained.
The resulting liquid is ready for immediate consumption or for storage in the fridge. If you choose to store it, leave the yeast in until the milk ferments.
- People with a lactose intolerance can drink kefir with no complications.
2. Fermented cabbage
Also known as saurkraut, fermented cabbage is the second food on our list of foods that increase the amount of good bacteria in your intestines.
Fermented cabbage is a common fare in several European countries. It typically accompanies meat and fish dishes to ease digestion. To ferment cabbage, you only need to leave the leaves to ferment in water and salt.
You won’t always be able to find it in stores. If you do find fermented cabbage, it’s likely to be a product of vinegar and alcohol-based fermentation. In light of this, you’re better off making it yourself to ensure quality. You can experiment with other vegetables as well.
3. Fermented pineapple
Another kind of drink that increases healthy bacteria levels in your gut is tepache, or fermented pineapple. It uses pineapple rinds. To make tepache you’ll need:
- 3.5 liters of water (14 cups)
- Rind of a large, ripe pineapple or 2 medium pineapples
- 500 grams of brown sugar, panela or cane syrup (2 cups)
- Wash the pineapple rind thoroughly and chop.
- Store the rind pieces in a ceramic or glass container with air-tight top. Add the two liters of water and sugar.
- Close tightly and leave to set in a warm area for 48 hours.
- After 48 hours, add the remaining water and stir well.
- Let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- Before drinking, we recommend cooling the drink in the refrigerator. You can store any leftovers in there, as well.
We recommend that you read: How to Prepare Pineapple to Relieve Constipation
The next food on our list has a fermented milk base that results from lactose, or milk sugar, converting into lactic acid. The process is what leaves yogurt with its tart flavor.
In addition to being nutritious, yogurt regulates your intestines and helps your gut flora. It also has a special and harmless antibiotic effect that prevents and combats infectious diarrhea.
- You should try to eat natural yogurt often.
- To switch up the flavors, you can add some fruit, honey or oats.
Tempeh is one of the best sources of probiotics because it’s a fermented soy product.
Hailing from Indonesia, where it’s been a staple food for centuries, tempeh is a great source of protein. Its protein content makes it a great meat substitute, which is ideal for vegetarians.
Tempeh boasts all of the essential amino-acids and it’s extremely beneficial for women in menopause as it can relieve common symptoms and strengthen bones.
The best sources for prebiotics
Another food group that raises the amount of good gut bacteria are prebiotics. They help several groups of good bacteria flourish in the colon.
For the most part, prebiotics are carbohydrates that the body can’t digest such as fructo-oligosaccharides. You can find them in the following good groups:
1. Whole grains
Whole grains are packed with fiber, which makes it easier on the gut while speeding up metabolism.
You should aim to get in two portions of whole grains every day in order to increase healthy gut bacteria. Doing so will prevent constipation, stomach aches and gas.
2. Green vegetables
Spinach, broccoli and celery are great examples of prebiotic foods that can provide you with healthy gut bacteria. They’re rich in minerals and nutrients that can improve your overall health.
You should include 1 cup of green vegetables in each meal. By doing so, your digestive system will get all of the elements that it needs to run smoothly.