EatInEatOut Spring 2015 - Page 14

The reason fermented foods are a hot health topic is because they contain good bacteria. In fact, there are trillions of bacteria in your gut. Because of their small size, the bacteria only weigh a couple of pounds for the average person. Everyone has a unique combination of bacteria in their gut – a bit like your fingerprint. There’s a constant tug of war between good and bad bacteria in our gut. The idea is to get the good bacteria to outnumber the bad bacteria. New research suggests that if your gut bacteria balance is out of synch, it could lead to health problems such as digestive issues, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, obesity and diabetes. Taking antibiotics wipes out both good and bad bacteria, so consider getting a healthy dose of good bacteria during that time. Good bacteria feed on prebiotics, which are carbohydrates your body cannot digest. When bacteria eat prebiotics, they produce compounds that deliver the following benefits: • increasing calcium absorption (along with iron and magnesium) • speeding up how fast food travels through your body • boosts immune system by making antiinflammatory compounds • producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that could possibly lower risk of colon cancer and lower cholesterol production by the body (good for heart health) Feed the good bacteria in your body by eating: • Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, bananas, garlic, leeks, onion, tomatoes • Grains: barley, rye, whole grains • Fermented milk products: yogurt, buttermilk, kefir • Roots: chicory root (inulin), dandelion root Inulin, a fibre from chicory root, is also added to a number of foods like cereals, granola bars, bread, soups, sauces and drinks. With all these potential benefits, get on the health trend and nosh on fermented foods several times a week. The big time BENEFITS of good bacteria 14 WWW.EATINEATOUT.CA Sources World Gastroenterology Association Global Guidelines on Probiotics and Prebiotics Gut Microbiota Worldwatch International Human Microbiome Association Probiotics, American Gastroenterological Association Prebiotics, EatRight Ontario The Pros of Probiotics, EatRight Ontario Digestive benefits of fermented foods, Tufts University List of fermented foods, Wikipedia