My answer was YES.
I thought I would take a moment to talk about why that funky stuff floating in your kombucha is so great for you, and where it came from.
Let's start with fermented foods.
The human race has been eating fermented foods forever. Seriously, forever.
Unfortunately as convenience foods filled our pantries, fermented foods slowly have taken up less space on our plates. In fact, a lot of people may not consume any at all. Our ancestors would consume these foods several times a day, not just for the taste but for the health benefits. It's not like we have replaced these fermented gems with something better, most of us have replaced them with a bunch of carbohydrate rich garbage (carbage) loaded with preservatives and sugar.
What are fermented foods?
Raw sauerkraut, raw pickles, kefir, yogurt (with live cultures), miso, kimchi, lots of other vegetable ferments and kombucha. More about these later.
So why should you be eating (or drinking) at least one (or more) of these foods a day?
They contain probiotics, the good bacteria that lives in your intestinal tract. These friendly bugs have been in the spotlight of research for years. We are learning more about them then we ever imagined, there are SO many! They actually outnumber your cells 10 to 1 and weigh almost as much as your brain. Here are a few highlights...
- They are our first line of defense. When you hear that 70% of your immune system is in your gut, its because of the probiotics there. Supporting this community of good bacteria also supports your immune system.
- They are linked to a large number number of health issues, including weight management, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and more. We know that having a healthy microbiome (your population of good bacteria) has a positive impact on most organ systems.
- One of my favorite things to learn about is the impact that our gut bacteria has on our brain. Yes, your gut has a large impact on cognitive health. There is a neurologist who has an entire site about this topic, check it out HERE.
Fermented foods contain a large variety of microflora (those good guys), more than most supplements. We only know how to manufacturer or create some strains of good bacteria, the magic that happens through the natural fermentation process is going to give you a much larger variety on a regular basis.
Fermented foods also contain "predigested" nutrients that are easy for your body to use, improving digestion and nutrient absorption.
That was a quick summary of why you need ferments in your life!
Basically, supporting your digestive system through consuming fermented foods (rich in probiotics) means you're also supporting brain health, your cardiovascular system, a healthy inflammatory response and your immune system. Who doesn't want that?
Now to the fun stuff.
You can find fermented foods at a grocery store or most health food stores.
Back to the list...
RAW pickles or RAW sauerkraut- they must be refrigerated ALL the time. If you're buying them off the grocery store shelf then they have been heated (pasteurization) and have no more good bacteria for you. Unfortunately heating the probiotics kills them, so you have to be careful! Bubbies is a fantastic brand that makes raw ferments!
Kefir and/or Yogurt- must be labeled that it has "active cultures," or they may be listed. Kefir is my go to. If you don't have kefir in your life you need to get some. Yogurt typically has 2-4 strains of good bacteria, Kefir has 12. Yes 12. Make the change.
Miso is a fermented soybean product that makes some delicious soup. Boil your water and make your soup, then add the miso to the warm water (not boiling). Remember, heating up that good bacteria can kill it.
Kimchi and other raw ferments. This list could go on forever. I've seen fermented beets, carrots, ginger, etc. If you're a DIY person, start fermenting at home. Its SO cost effective and you can create some delicious things!
Kombucha- my favorite. You can buy it just about anywhere now, its in the refrigerator. If you love it and find yourself buying it on a regular basis it can get costly! Prices range $3-6 a bottle!