Gut health is trendy at the moment. The gut has been likened to being like the “engine room” for the body, it is where food is digested, nutrients are absorbed and good gut health is essential for good health and well-being.
Last year I worked on adrenal fatigue with my naturopath, one of the ways we did this was through probiotics. During this time I decided to do some research into probiotics to help me understand how they could be of benefit to my body. I read a great book called ‘Gut‘ by a German medical student, Giulia Enders (2015), she describes “probiotics as the edible living bacteria that can make us healthier”. Good bacteria or probiotics help to improve the health of your gut and overall health of your body.
When I take probiotics:
- When I am travelling, particularly when I will be eating different types of food or drinking different water.
- While I am on antibiotics to help balance the good and bad bacteria as antibiotics can cause an imbalance.
- If I have a lot of eczema. Eczema has been a lifelong struggle for me but something I am learning to manage.
But you don’t have to take probiotics in capsule form, another way to get probiotics is from food. Outside of the above scenarios, I don’t take a regular probiotic as I believe you should be able to get most of what you need from your diet. So I only supplement a couple of times a year.
Good food sources of probiotics include:
- Yoghurt – if it is live-cultured then it contains probiotics, look for words like lactobacillus acidophilus on the packaging.
- Sauerkraut – fermented cabbage with a sour flavour, I love it in salads.
- Kimchi – the Korean version of sauerkraut but with a spicy taste.
- Kombucha – a fermented tea, which I think tastes a bit like cider.
- Kefir – fermented coconut water, which you drink in small amounts.
Sauerkraut is super easy to make, here is how I make it at home.
1 medium sized cabbage
1 1/2 tablespoons salt (I use Himalayan but you can also use sea salt)
1 large jar with a wide mouth and lid (sterilised)
1 large bowl
Chopping board and knife
- Take the top few outer leaves off the cabbage and keep one or two aside. Then cut the cabbage removing the core and slice into small strips.
- Put the cabbage slices into the big bowl and add the salt. Knead and squeeze the cabbage with your hands, eventually the cabbage will become more watery, this can take up to 10 minutes.
- Pack the cabbage into your jar, pressing it down with your fist.
- When all the cabbage is in the jar, take your outer cabbage leaves and put this on the top of the cabbage to act as a weight.
- Put the lid on the jar loosely and leave at room temperature (ideally not too hot). You may need to release the gas from the jar every day or so. You can also remove the outer leaves after a few days as they may turn mouldy, don’t eat these.
- Taste test over a week, but usually after about a week it will be ready to eat and you can store in the fridge for about 2 months.
Note: I am not a medical professional, so please talk to your health provider before taking probiotics.