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Fermented Food Diet

August 13, 2021

The addition of fermented foods in your diet is key to obtaining optimal health because it enhances diversity of gut microbes and decreases inflammation in the gut. Certain proteins, such as interleukin 6 that have been linked to conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, was also shown to be less active after implementing fermented foods in a person’s diet. The modern Western diet is usually heavy on processed, unhealthy foods which can throw off the balance of your gut microbes and lead to gastrointestinal issues. 

A diet focused on fermented foods can help with weight maintenance, improved digestion and better immunity. Implementing fermented foods in your diet has also been shown to decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. The consumption of fermented foods can rapidly alter the gut microbiome and change the status of your immune system quickly. 

There are many reasons a healthy gut is essential and it is important to know how to improve your gut health. Your body needs good bacteria to break down complex carbohydrates which is important because this process releases other beneficial substances to your body. Good bacteria is also needed to fight off the bad pathogenic bacteria you swallow every day. Having good bacteria in your gut creates an acidic environment in your intestines that bad bacteria normally cannot live in. Your body naturally produces some vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and K, that can only be synthesized if your gut is healthy and full of good bacteria. 

There are many options to integrate fermented foods into your diet. 

  • Kombucha – a slightly fizzy tea that contains potent health promoting properties from the synbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. 
  • Probiotic yogurt – produced from milk that’s been fermented with lactic acid bacteria. It is high in nutrients and contains live cultures. It is important to get yogurt that still has these beneficial bacteria and has minimal added sugar.
  • Sauerkraut – shredded cabbage that is fermented by lactic acid bacteria. To actually receive the health benefits from sauerkraut, make sure to get the unpasteurized. 
  • Kefir – is a type of cultured dairy product that is slightly fizzy and has a consistency thinner than yogurt. It is known to decrease the markers of inflammation and improve digestion of lactose for people with an intolerance. 

It is important to restore your gut health after eating unhealthy, processed foods and also after taking antibiotics. Eating an excessive amount of processed foods can throw off your gut balance, making it harder for your body to digest any food. Antibiotics wipe out both the good and bad bacteria and because of that, sometimes even cause diarrhea. Eating fermented foods will help restore your gut microbes back to normal after either of these situations. Along with restoring your gut, the probiotics found in fermented foods have been associated with improving many different conditions such as gastrointestinal problems, immunity and weight loss. Fermented foods have many benefits so it’s worth finding your favorite food in this category and implementing it into your diet daily.

By Dharmendra Verma

Dharmendra Verma, MD finished his residency training in Internal medicine at the University of Texas, Houston along with MD Anderson Cancer Center, where subsequently, he received subspecialty fellowship in Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.

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