Fermented Foods for Healthy Gut Flora

by Sudha Hamilton

 

We are not alone. In fact we are hosts to trillions of micro-organisms happily munching on our waste products and doing a sterling job within our digestive system. It may come as a bit of a shock to those of us with obsessive compulsive cleaning tendencies,  that killing all the tiny invisible bugs is not a really good idea. Bacteria are all around us, within us and performing vital tasks for our health and the health of this planet.  Of course like everything in existence there are good and bad bacteria, not intrinsically bad but just bad for humans and probably quite good for something else. The good bacteria,  or gut flora,  are involved in a myriad of useful functions, like fermenting unused energy substrates, producing vitamins for us, preventing the growth of bad bacteria, producing hormones to help us store fats and improving our immune functioning.  If we did not have all these bacteria munching away our bodies would be unable to digest many of the carbohydrates that we consume, such as certain starches, fibres, proteins, and sugars like lactose. Studies with animals indicate that we may need to eat 30% more calories to maintain our stable body weight without the helpful presence of gut flora. The good bacteria transforms carbohydrates into short chain fatty acids and these are able to be processed by our cells into nutrition  and energy. Lactic and acetic acid are also produced by this saccahrolytic fermentation and they are used by our muscles. There are numerous other positive functions supported by good bacteria in our systems.

Continued in Healing Our Wellbeing by Sudha Hamilton

©Sudha Hamilton