Flu-Fighting Tip #1:
Foods that Support your Digestive and Immune Health
Adding Fermented Foods to your Diet
Before you skip over this point and look for the traditional tips about hand-washing and getting more sleep, I encourage you to realize the amazing benefits of fermented foods. They not only improve your immune function, but also repair and support your digestive tract. Traditionally, cultures consumed fermented foods as a regular part of their diet. Numerous studies support the disease-preventing and healing power of these foods. Making them a regular part of your diet will make your body strong and resistant to disease!
If you find you or your family are constantly getting sick or dealing with a chronic illness (such as Digestive Disorders or discomfort, IBS, Allergies, Celiac, Fatigue, Acid Reflux, Hormonal Imbalance, autoimmunity, etc.) then it’s time to help your body heal by making it stronger, not just masking the symptoms!
Over 80% of your immune system resides in your digestive tract! Surprised? Immune health and digestive health are intimately linked. Your digestive tract is the first line of defense; if you don’t prepare the army on the fore-front, the invaders will easily breach the barrier and make you ill!
There is a delicate balance of “good-to-bad” bacteria in your digestive tract which, if preserved for good, will make your immune system strong. Good bacteria (a.k.a. probiotics) will not only help keep you healthy, but they will prevent and heal flu-like illness as well as chronic disease by repairing damage done to your intestines.
Easy Fermentation at Home:
Don’t let the word “Fermentation” throw you for a loop! It doesn’t mean consuming mold or weird tasting organisms. Fermentation is a natural process that enhances the vitamin content and digestibility of foods so you get maximum nutrition from what you’re eating.Lactic Acid is produced which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and allows beneficial bacteria to thrive, making it a rich probiotic food for us to consume.
I eat a small bowl of fermented vegetables every morning and homemade yogurt each afternoon. Fermented vegetables help with digestion and increases stomach acid which helps with acid reflux. Eat a few spoon-fulls before each meal.
Here are some at-home recipes for fermented foods:
Homemade Yogurt Lactose free and breaks down the milk proteins for easy digestion. Many people with dairy allergies (such as myself) can handle this yogurt.
Home-Fermented Vegetables: Not Just Your New Years Sauerkraut
Other fermented foods include (available at health food stores or can be made at home):
- Kefir (fermented milk beverage)
- Any vegetables that have been fermented with whey (strained from yogurt)
- Pickled vegetables (beets, cucumbers)
- Kombucha (fermented tea beverage)
Here are some tips for purchasing fermented foods (although home fermented are best)
Make sure the package says “Contains live and active Cultures” or “Pasteurized prior to Fermentation”. Heat processing will kill the live enzymes and bacteria so make sure the cultures are still living!
Don’t buy fermented foods with a ton of added sugar (most yogurt’s and kefir’s in the store contain tons of sugar and dead cultures…not worth the money!)
Look for multiple bacteria strains, there are thousands of strains living in you so don’t just support one!
If you are purchasing Sauerkraut or other fermented foods, do not buy the heat processed or canned kind. Look for those that need refrigeration, are “raw” and unpasteurized, and again, contain live and active cultures. “Bubbies” is a good brand.
- If you are not going to consume fermented foods, I recommend getting a high-quality Probiotic supplement (not from the grocery store but from the health food store). Bio-Kult and Garden of Life are good brands, Metagenics and Prescript Assist are high-quality as well (available online. Get one with a casing that will withstand your stomach acid and that contains many different strains and billions of bacteria.
Don’t be afraid to add new foods to your diet!
They could change your health forever!