Fill Your Belly With Foods
that Provide Good Bacteria
By Jordan Rubin – Extraordinary Health
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
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
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
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
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