Probiotics are critical for optimal health. They help maintain a healthy immune system which in turn keeps the whole body in good health. However, in addition to supplementing with a capsule or tablet, you can also boost your beneficial flora by eating fermented foods.

Fermented foods are loaded with billions of good bacteria. They help to sustain the balance between the good and bad bacteria. If you have dysbiosis, an imbalance of bad bacteria, you may experience a host of problems such as digestive issues, immune dysfunction, allergies, possible skin conditions, food sensitivities and chronic yeast infections, just to name a few.

Consuming fermented foods on a regular basis benefits you in the short and long term.

1. Fermented foods assist with B vitamin production, sleep regulation, proper circulation and nervous system function, and aid in preventing heart disease. Fermented cabbage is also a great source of Vitamin K2.  This is very important as it helps with blood clotting, bone health and brain function.

2. Fermented foods can be more easily assimilated than some supplemental probiotic pills. They support intestinal and digestive health by providing enzymes that help with the breakdown of foods. They allow your body to produce antibodies that strengthen your immune system and help fight off potential pathogens.

3. In numerous studies, it has been shown that without the proper amount of good flora, individuals are more prone to weight gain, sugar cravings and diabetes.

4. Fermented foods and probiotics are very beneficial for those with compromised immune systems, autism and autoimmune disorders. They can aid in reducing systemic inflammation by preventing toxins from passing through a weakened gut lining and entering the bloodstream. This also assists in mitigating the risk of food sensitivities.

Naturally Fermented Food Sources

Kimchi
Sauerkraut
Kefir
Fermented raw yogurt, milk and cheese
Tempeh
Natto
Kombucha
Braggs apple cider vinegar

When you decide to add fermented foods to your diet, start off slowly. You can begin with a few teaspoons per day with each meal, then increase as you become more comfortable with it.

If you don’t like store bought fermented foods, you can make your own. This way you can choose the specific foods you would prefer to ferment.

If you don’t like the taste of fermented foods at all, you can always supplement with a high quality probiotic capsule or powder. Each individual is different and one size does not fit all in this case. One of my personal favorites to recommend is Probiotic Plus. It has worked remarkably well for many of my patients.
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands. You need to find the right one that works best for your specific needs.