We're talking to Joanna Nolan of Be Nourished about her kimchi and sauerkraut, plus looking at what makes for a healthy gut.
Be Nourished makes and sells organic, cultured vegetables. These probiotic super-foods are teeming with live organisms and essential enzymes that aid digestion and repopulate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria.
Jo says, "As a mother of two children I became interested in nutrition while looking for ways to nourish my family. I stumbled upon Sally Fallon's book, Nourishing Traditions. I thought sauerkraut might be one of the easiest fermented foods to experiment with. However, I soon discovered that if I wanted the benefits of organic, raw sauerkraut made from fresh, local ingredients, I was going to have to make it myself."
Jo noticed some positive results in her family's health, "Having included these fermented vegetables into our family’s daily diet we found that sugar cravings and allergies, such as hay-fever, were suddenly disappearing."
What are 3 Things to Avoid if You Want a Healthy Gut?
- Highly processed foods that contain sugar. It's possible that sugar (particularly the component of sugar, fructose, in processed foods) causes imbalances in gut bacteria which in turn may affect our digestive systems.
- Artificial Sweeteners. With the push for reducing sugar intake and the possibility that more people will be attracted to using sugar substitutes I Quit Sugar says that, "Artificial sweeteners could have an effect on gut and metabolic activity by actually changing the composition and function of our gut microbiota. Sugar alcohols, for example, sorbitol and mannitol, can cause problems for people suffering from Irritable Bowel because they don't pass easily through our cell walls, meaning that gut bacteria digest them."
- Alcohol in excess. One small glass of a nice, red wine (red wine is low fructose) with a meal can be beneficial but over-doing the alcohol can result in many, many serious metabolic problems.
3 Things You Can Do to Improve Gut Health
- Exercise. Research has shown that "... regular exercise could reduce the risk of colon cancer by up to 25%," quotes I Quit Sugar.
- Don't run yourself ragged! Recent research has shown that there may be a link between imbalance in gut bacteria and mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
- Eat fibre-rich foods like vegetables and whole grains and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt (made with full-cream milk or pure coconut milk and unsweetened of course).
ABC reporter, Tony Jones, interviewed microbiologist, Guilia Enders, about her book, Gut: The Inside Story of our Body's Most Underrated Organ which addresses these six points and more. Here's a link to the complete interview on ABC.
From the transcript:
TONY JONES: Let's look at some of the areas you focus on in your book and the first one is the possible link between obesity and gut bacteria. Are there studies which show the difference between the gut bacteria of obese and normal weight people?
GIULIA ENDERS: Yes, there are plenty of studies, actually. And we see, for example, that there are some bacteria that can be found in people with higher weight. ... I like to call them the "chubby bacteria" because we see that they can actually harvest more calories out of the food you eat. And we see that overweight people ... when they go to the toilet, there are less calories that they excrete and other people, they just excrete more of the calories they take up. Then we see that there are things like diversity. Having a more diverse gut ecosystem will actually be a very protective thing for people struggling with overweight. We see that some diets, when they work on one person they don't work in another person. A study that showed that a diet worked when it altered the gut flora.
TONY JONES: So how do you know? I mean, how do you know if you've got the right level of diversity in your gut bacteria to actually help you, for example, maintain a healthy weight or avoid diseases like diabetes? As you say, there is a link or there appears to be a link.
Guilia Enders goes on to say that we need to become more aware of our own gut. Are we eating enough fibre, how are our stools...? "If you're basically eating very low fibre, and industrial nations eat about half of the fibre that the World Health Organisation recommends, then you'll be pretty sure you don't nurture your microbes as well as you could..."
Let's become aware of this whole new area of research into the gut biome being carried out in the field of microbiology.
A customer comments about her experience of beginning to use the fermented foods from Be Nourished. "After starting to eat these cultured vegetables I have found I am losing my cravings for sweet things. I never thought I would like fermented food, but these are amazing and now I am getting the whole family eating them," That's encouraging!