Does your stomach talk to you after you’ve eaten? Overeating, poor food choices, and definitely stress can give you a bad tummy. Incorporating a few simple, probiotic-rich foods can help restore your belly’s balance and have you digesting more efficiently.

Gut Check

You’ve probably heard it a million times: You are what you eat.  That’s only partially true—you are also what you absorb. If you’re not digesting and processing your food properly, you are not getting the most out of the food you consume.  Your gut, or your digestive system, is the foundation of your body and it has a huge effect on your overall health and wellbeing.
The term “gut feeling” is not just an expression, it turns out to be based in fact.

Immune Check

Your immune system is also a key component of your gut. Everything you eat or drink contains some form of bacteria or pathogen, which sounds creepy, but it’s true. So, your gut is the first line of defense.
It’s a self-contained ecosystem of “gut flora, ” which is comprised of bacteria, yeast, and acids, and more. It’s designed to process both beneficial and harmful cells of all types.  These micro-organisms in your gut get out of balance. They can become overwhelmed by antibiotics, toxins, drugs, chemicals, and/or other hard-to-digest things like preservatives and additives. The result is poor digestion.

Poor Digestion = Poor Nutrition = Inflammation = Disease

Not digesting food properly is just one pitfall or poor gut health.  Aside from cheating yourself nutritionally, you could be setting yourself up for an array of problems.  If your gut is out of balance, it will likely lead to chronic inflammation, and that’s something you want to avoid at all costs.
Inflammation anywhere in the body has been targeted as a key factor in all types of disease ranging from Crohn’s, IBS, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
Signs of poor digestion can include the following chronic symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Bloating or excess gas
  • Heartburn
  • Cramps or abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or loose stool
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Headaches and Fatigue

Get the Balance Right…

Keeping your gut happy involves two key factors: eating right and consuming foods rich in natural probiotics.  Avoiding processed foods, caffeine, sugar, refined carbs, and trans fats is ideal. In a perfect world, we would eat right every day and not have to worry about supplements. But alas, we can only do our best.

Probiotic Foods to Keep Your Gut In Check

  • Yogurt looks for plain, live-cultured, Greek, and handmade or artisanal varieties.  Goat’s milk is especially high in probiotics. Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, and flavors or colors.
  • Kefir- a fermented dairy product similar to yogurt, but more liquid.
  • Kombucha- very popular, a fermented black or green tea drink. It comes in a variety of flavors.
  • Sauerkraut- made from cabbage
  • Kimchi- Korean spicy veggie
  • Miso- Japanese soybean paste good for seasoning and soup.
  • Tempeh- similar to tofu, but fermented.
  • Buttermilk- only the traditional (not cultured) variety
  • Aged and soft cheeses- Gouda, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Cottage, Bleu, and Roquefort all have probiotics in abundance

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is quoted as saying, “All disease begins in the gut.” So if you want to stay healthy and disease-free look no further than your belly.  When you are done navel-gazing, make sure you eat well, incorporate probiotic foods into your diet, and search for more helpful information.