Culture Craze: 3 Sources of Gut-Loving Bacteria
Fermentation is everywhere right now. Just about anything that can be fermented has been - vegetables, dairy, tea, and even poop (don’t worry, we’ll explain)! Fermented products are not just for your European grandmother or hemp wearing uncle anymore. The average consumer now enjoys sauerkraut and miso on a regular basis, and probiotic supplements are nearly as common as daily multis.
Incorporating more fermented foods, beverages and supplements into your lifestyle has been shown overall to support digestive health, boost the immune system and promote mental well-being. So, grab a bottle of effervescent kombucha or spicy kimchi and reap the many benefits!
Kombucha, a fermented sweet tea has been growing in popularity over the past few years. With flavours like coffee, chai, and mango many people are jumping on the bucha bandwagon. The kombucha culture (also referred to as a SCOBY or mushroom, pictured above) grows during fermentation, allowing home brewers to share this strange looking Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast with others. A few Kardish kombucha favourites are GT’s and canadian-made Rise.
Other popular fermented beverages include apple cider vinegar, kefir water, and of course beer and wine. More unfamiliar options like rejuvelac, kvass, and boza are popular throughout other cultures.
Many cuisines from around the world include traditionally fermented foods. You might be familiar with sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt and of course chocolate!
Fermented foods may not contain the therapeutic dose of bacteria found in a supplement, but their naturally occurring yeast and bacteria may have their own unique benefits that cannot be reproduced in a lab setting. Fermenting foods also helps to unlock valuable nutrients through pre-digestion by bacteria. If cabbage or kale causes you digestive upset, perhaps a fermented option would be more favourable. Did you know that kimchi is an excellent source of vitamin K2, a micronutrient that is crucial to the health of our bones, teeth and heart?
Remember we mentioned rejuvelac? It may not be a common beverage, but it is a key ingredient in Zengarry Cashew Cheeses, which are a fermented non-dairy cheese products. So grab some crackers and a tub of Zengarry and enjoy the delicious benefits!
Probiotic supplements are often a blend of assorted strains like lactobacillus and acidophilus available in various strengths (i.e. 12 billion, 100 billion). Back in the early 1900’s when Eli Metchnikoff received the Nobel Prize for his work in demonstrating that beneficial microbes could treat intestinal illnesses, probiotic supplements were not sold at the local pharmacy, but now we can easily find a cooler dedicated to these bacteria at health food stores! At Kardish Health Food Centre, one of our favourite probiotic lines is Progressive HCP.
You’re probably wondering (worrying?) about the fermented poop? Probiotics can come from several different places; they can be grown in dairy, on vegetables, from the soil or harvested from human feces (yes, poop). Bacteria harvested from healthy human donors are added to a petri dish and multiplied over many years. What is truly unique about human strain probiotics is their ability to attach to the lining of the intestinal tract, where they can multiply and promote healthy digestion. But don’t worry, there’s no poop - or even traces of poop! - in the probiotics that are being bottled today!