Happy Gut Bugs

Written by amy on March 19th, 2012

   The importance of a healthy balance of bacteria and yeasts in the digestive tract has been well documented by evidence-based reviews. This balance can help support the immune system as well as decrease inflammation in the gut, possibly helping with conditions such as cancer, irritable bowel disease, gastroenteritis, and diarrhea. 

 One popular strategy for creating this balance is through the use of supplemental probiotics, taken in a pill form.  However, there is a second strategy that is less trendy despite long being celebrated by cultures throughout history and across the globe. Naturally fermented foods are dietary sources of live active cultures and including these regularly in the diet can reap more benefits than can be obtained through a supplemental, single strain of probiotics.  Fermented dairy foods, such as yogurt and cheese, are well known choices.  Fruits and vegetables, such as kimchi, chutneys and sauerkraut, may be less common in American cuisine but offer tasty options as well. 

 

Kimchi

1 head Napa  cabbage, cored and shredded

1 bunch spring onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, grated

½ cup daikon radish, grated (optional)

1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

½ tsp dried chili flakes

1 tsp sea salt

4 Tbsp whey (if not available, use an additional 1 Tbsp salt)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and pound with a wooden mallet or meat hammer to release juices.  Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouthed mason jar and press down firmly with the mallet or hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage.  The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

Source: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

 

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