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Fill Your Belly With Foods
that Provide Good Bacteria

By Jordan Rubin – Extraordinary Health Article

By now you know how important it is to consume a diet based on natural or whole foods for optimal gut health. But this way of eating is nothing new.

In fact, did you know that the food of our ancestors, including fermented foods, contained several thousand times more bacteria, mainly the good probiotic bacteria, than our food does today? It’s true, and part of the shortfall is due to our modernized way of eating that often excludes fermented foods. This lack of good bacteria in our food can decrease optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrition for gastrointestinal and overall health.

Dr. Joseph Brasco, a board-certified gastroenterologist who serves as a medical consultant with Garden of Life, suggests adding the following foods to your diet to support digestive health:

Meats: Eat organically raised cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, and venison that graze on nature’s bountiful grasses and fish caught in the wild like salmon, tuna, or sea bass. Grass-fed meat is leaner and is lower in calories than grain-fed beef. Organic and grass-fed beef is higher in gut-friendly omega-3 fatty acids and important vitamins like B12 and vitamin E. They're also way better for you than assembly-line cuts of flank steak from hormone-injected cattle eating pesticide-sprayed feed laced with antibiotics.

Fish with fins and scales caught from oceans and rivers are lean sources of protein and provide essential amino acids in abundance. Supermarkets are stocking these types of foods in greater quantities these days, and of course they are found in natural food stores, fish markets, and specialty stores.

Avoid certain meats like breakfast links, bacon, lunchmeats, ham, hot dogs, bratwurst, and other sausages. Crustaceans such as lobster, crabs, shrimp, and clams and fish without fins and scales are “bottom feeders,” content to sustain themselves on excrement from other fish—so they’re out, too.

Cultured dairy products from goats, cows, and sheep: One benefit of eating cultured dairy is the beneficial microorganisms they contain. These living organisms contain something called “probiotics,” which, by definition, are living, direct-fed microbials (DFMs) that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. The normal human gastrointestinal tract contains hundreds of different species of harmless or even friendly bacteria, otherwise known as intestinal flora. When an unbalance of these bacteria occurs, however, the result is often digestive unrest.

One of the best ways to introduce probiotics to your diet is through cultured dairy products like goat’s milk fermented kefir. Dairy products derived from goat’s milk and sheep’s milk can be easier on stomachs than those from cows, although dairy products from organic or grass-fed cows can be excellent as well. Goat’s milk is less allergenic because it does not contain the same complex proteins found in cow’s milk.

Note from Christine: The Mt. Capra products, including the fermented CaProtein are great sources of fermented goat products.

And while we are on the subject of dairy…you may want to avoid consuming fluid dairy products, such as milk and ice cream, since they contain the milk sugar lactose. Instead, eat fermented dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, hard cheeses, cultured cream cheese, cottage cheese, and cultured cream. Why? Fermented dairy products contain little or no residual lactose, which is the type of sugar in milk that many find hard to digest.

Cultured and fermented vegetables: Raw cultured or fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, pickled carrots, beets, or cucumbers supply the body with probiotics as well. Although these fermented vegetables are often greeted with upturned noses at the dinner table, these foods help reestablish natural balance to your digestive system.

Cultured vegetables like sauerkraut are brimming with vitamins, such as vitamin C, and contain almost four times the nutrients as unfermented cabbage. The lactobacilli in fermented vegetables contain digestive enzymes that help break down food and increase its digestibility. So, try some sauerkraut or pickled beets, which are readily available in health food stores.

Fruits: Raw fruit is quite healthy but may cause digestive disturbances, so you may want to eat fruit cautiously. Fruit on its own has high sugar content, so consume fruits with fats and proteins, which will slow down the absorption of sugar. Limit your consumption to two or three fresh fruits daily, which can be consumed during snack time.

Try blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and grapes—fully ripened. And choose organic so that you avoid pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Try to eat fruits and vegetables in season, but you can also use frozen produce, since that often represents the best option for healthy fruits and veggies out of season. In the case of berries and certain fruits, the difference between fresh and frozen is minimal.

So, there you have it—foods that could help you avoid “a pain in the gut,” says Brasco.

Start eating better today and feel the difference. Your gut will thank you.

Note from Christine: See Garden of Life’s probiotic formulas for probiotic supplementation of good bacteria, called Primal Defense probiotics including:


Note: The content provided in this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. You are encouraged to consult with your medical health care provider regarding any health concern or health-related condition you may have.

These statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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The statements contained on these pages have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information conained here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this document are for information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, meant for diagnosing illness, or for prescriptive purposes. Readers are encouraged to consult their health care provider before beginning any cleanse, diet, detoxification program, or any supplement regimen. The information in this document is not to be used to replace the services or instructions of a physician or qualified health care practitioner.


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