The wellness industry is full of discussions over ways to keep the gut microbiome healthy. Not a bad idea since having a healthy gut correlates with improved mood, better skin, smooth digestion and reduced inflammation. Between probiotics, infrared saunas and countless other options to increase healthy gut flora, many overlook one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase healthy bacteria within your gut – adding fermented foods to your diet.

Easy on the Stomach

Fermented foods are loaded with natural probiotics that are more bioavailable than those in pill form, meaning that you don’t have to eat much for your gut lining to absorb the good bacteria. These microorganisms are central to keeping your digestive system healthy and strengthening the gut lining. Fermented foods not only increase the potency of the nutrients within your food, but they also go through the preservation process so they can digest extremely easily, giving your whole system a boost of probiotics.

Better inside, Better Outside

Keep organic yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut on hand at home. After eating these foods for a few days, you’ll notice that your skin is glowing and your digestion feels better than ever. Keeping this routine long-term will only compound the benefits. Probiotic-filled foods also boost immunity by flooding your system with good bacteria. Plus, fermented foods taste amazing!

Homemade is Better

Not all fermented foods are created equal, however. Store-bought varieties often have stabilizers, chemicals and other ingredients that neutralize the probiotics that naturally occur when you ferment different foods. Negating the gut-healthy benefits of the probiotics, store-bought versions don’t pack as much of the punch as homemade fermented foods. If you want to go the store-bought route, start with organic kefir, kombucha and tempeh.

Another benefit of fermenting your vegetables or homemaking yogurt is that it’s incredibly easy. You can choose just about any vegetable you would like, make the brine with white vinegar, water, salt and sugar and store for at least 24 hours for the fermentation process to take place. You can also make your own sauerkraut or yogurt with just as much ease. Try picking up cabbage, coconut milk and any vegetables you want to ferment next time you’re at the grocery store. Check out a few recipes and have a fridge full of probiotic-filled foods to reach for throughout your day. Just taking your daily probiotic may not be enough to give your microbiome the boost it needs. By adding nutrient-dense fermented foods to your diet, you can supplement your probiotic intake for better digestion, improved immunity and healthier skin and nails. Put it this way – if you take care of your gut, it will take care of you. Fermented foods help you do just that.

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About Paige Pichler

Paige Pichler is a writer, speaker, Project HEAL National Ambassador and yoga instructor. She writes about wellness, higher consciousness and health trends for a better life.

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