Benefits of Fermented Foods For Gut Health

Benefits of Fermented Foods For Gut Health

By: Bio-K-Plus Company

Gut health is more important than you think. It’s crucial to proper digestion, immune system strength, and mood regulation. To enjoy optimal gut health, you need to cultivate a healthy gut biome with plenty of “good” bacteria. 

One way to support your gut health is to consume more fermented foods. These foods are rich in “good” bacteria, so they keep your gut healthy and one of the easiest ways to consume them is through drinkable probiotics.

In this article, you’ll find out all the amazing benefits of fermented foods for gut health. 

What Are Fermented Foods?

The fermentation process is an ancient food preservation technique. It’s been used for thousands of years. Even with the rise of modern refrigeration, fermenting has stuck around due to its many health benefits. 

Fermented foods naturally contain healthy bacteria, known as probiotics. When probiotics enter your system, they can bolster the “good” gut bacteria, which is beneficial for digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune health. 

Probiotics also fight against “bad” bacteria, which can cause bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. In turn, probiotics can help restore balance to your gut biome. 

What Are Some Examples of Fermented Foods?

Fermented products come in both food and drinkable options. With such a wide variety, you can find ones that are vegan, keto, soy-free, dairy-free, and anything in between. 

Here are some examples of fermented products:

  • Fermented Milk – Fermented milk contains Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, two strains of bacteria known to break down milk proteins and lactose. This means that even people who are lactose intolerant may be able to digest fermented milk and gain its antioxidant and immune system-supporting benefits. (Fermented milk is found in the Original and Strawberry flavors of Bio-K+ drinkables.)

  • Fermented Soy – Fermented soy is often found in many Eastern diets, particularly Japanese diets. This fermented food is full of essential nutrients, and in one 2017 study1, it was even linked to healthier blood pressure levels. (Fermented soy is found in the Mango Bio-K+ drinkable.)

  • Fermented Rice – Fermented rice is high-energy food rich in the all-so-beneficial B-complex vitamins. Mixed with vitamin K, B-complex vitamins that are beneficial for brain health and high daily energy levels. (Fermented rice is found in the Blueberry Bio-K+ drinkable.)

  • Fermented Pea – Fermented pea is a low-allergenic fermented food, meaning it’s less likely to affect those with common allergies. It’s also an excellent source of the nine essential amino acids—protein building blocks—that your body can’t produce naturally and must be absorbed through food. (Fermented pea is found in the Raspberry Bio-K+ drinkable).

By enjoying a variety of these fermented foods in your probiotic drinkables, you can help improve your gut flora and enjoy the resulting health benefits. Check out our blog on understanding fermented foods to learn more about other fermented foods you can add to your diet.

Benefits of Fermented Foods For Gut Health

There are many benefits of fermented foods for gut health. 

Here are the most notable ones:

#1 Improved Digestion

Many people experience digestive issues at some point during their life. Some common digestive problems include bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Some people can help mitigate these uncomfortable issues by consuming more probiotic-rich foods or by taking a daily probiotic supplement2

Bacteria plays a large role in digestion. Humans don’t digest food on their own—it takes billions of bacteria to get the job done. By increasing your good bacteria, they can help you: 

  • Break down nutrients – The “good” bacteria from fermented foods break down valuable nutrients in the digestive system so they’re easier to absorb. For instance, if you’re lactose intolerant, fermentation can break down lactose into glucose and galactose, which are more easily digested. This way, you can enjoy yogurt, cheese, and kefir with less discomfort if you choose to eat them. 

  • Break down antinutrients – Probiotics also break down antinutrients, like phytates and lectins3. These compounds are found in seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes. Without fermentation or cooking, these foods are difficult to absorb and may cause digestive issues. By fermenting these foods, you may enjoy their full nutritional value and digest them with greater ease. 

#2 Enhanced Immune System Support

Your immune strength is closely intertwined with your gut health. The more “good” gut bacteria you have, the less vulnerable you’ll often be to colds and infections.4

Eating fermented foods can aid your immune system by providing it with supportive probiotics. These “good” bacteria will lower your gut’s pH, killing off the harmful bacteria that thrive in a higher-pH environment. 

To fight against illness, it’s helpful to consume probiotics in conjunction with vitamin C, iron, and zinc, either in supplements or food. Consult with your medical doctor or dietitian before adding a new supplement into your daily routine. 

#3 Restored Gut Health After Antibiotics

Antibiotics are frequently prescribed to treat infections. While very effective at this job, antibiotics can wipe out both good bacteria and bad bacteria. They don’t discriminate. In turn, one round of antibiotics can have very severe impacts on your gut flora. 

As antibiotics disrupt your gut microbiota, this dysbiosis may play a role in the development of certain conditions,5 such as:

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Asthma

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Depression

#4 Enhanced Vitamin Production and Absorption

When you consume a meal, your stomach’s digestive juices and enzymes break the food down into tiny molecules. These nutrients are then absorbed in the small intestine. From there, they circulate throughout the entire body in the bloodstream, nourishing all of the body's cells. 

Fermented foods can support this entire process. These beneficial bacteria can also synthesize vitamins on their own, including:

  • B1 - thiamine

  • B2 - riboflavin

  • B3 - niacin

  • B5 - pantothenic acid

  • B6 - pyridoxine

  • B12 - cobalamin

  • Vitamin K

As a result, your body can get more nutritional value from your food. 

#5 Improved Mood

Many people don't realize that your gut and brain are closely linked. They’re connected through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, also known as the “gut-brain” axis. 

Research continues to shed light on how your gut bacteria and mental health is closely intertwined.6 In fact, your gut produces the same neurotransmitters found in the brain, like serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood. 

Some studies also show that Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum probiotic strains may positively impact mood.7 Thus, if you want to improve your mood and reduce anxiety or depression, it’s worthwhile to try adding in some fermented foods to your diet. 

#6 Potential Mitigation of Chronic Disease

According to a growing body of research, having a diverse gut microbiota supports your health.8 On the flip side, a lack of bacterial diversity in your gut can sometimes be associated with the following chronic diseases:

  • Obesity

  • Asthma

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

While the reasons for this are still being studied, it’s clear that increasing gut microbiota diversity has positive impacts. By eating fermented food, you can get in more healthy bacteria strains and increase your gut’s bacterial diversity. 

Do Fermented Foods Help You Lose Weight?

Research is still being done to determine the impact of fermented foods on weight loss. Some studies show that a healthy and diverse gut biome can mitigate obesity for certain people.9 

Further research supports that Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus gasseri may be associated with weight loss and a reduction in belly fat.10

In turn, fermented foods may support weight loss for some people. However, many other factors come into play, likefood intake, hormones, sleep, and much more. 

How Often Should You Eat Fermented Foods?

To enjoy all these health benefits, you should make fermented foods a regular part of your diet. Shoot for at least one serving a day, whether it’s a daily kombucha, a morning serving of yogurt, or other fermented foods to support different dietary restrictions.

Bio-K+® Fermented Drinkables

If you want a healthy probiotic supplement in a delicious form, check out our drinkable probiotics. They come in a wide range of delicious flavors, like vanilla and strawberry. The vegan-friendly drinkables come in raspberry, blueberry, and mango. 

The probiotics found in these drinkables are of the highest quality. They contain patented probiotic strains that boast proven efficacy in clinical trials. 

Learn more about Bio-K+ delicious drinkables today!

Sources:

  1. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 147, Issue 9, September 2017, Pages 1749–1756, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.117.250282

  2.  “The Growing Role of Probiotics.” Harvard Healthwww.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-growing-role-of-probiotics. Accessed 13 July 2020.

  3. Popova, Aneta. “Antinutrients in Plant-Based Foods: A Review.” The Open Biotechnology Journal, 29 July 2019, openbiotechnologyjournal.com/VOLUME/13/PAGE/68.

  4. “The Growing Role of Probiotics.” Harvard Healthwww.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-growing-role-of-probiotics. Accessed 13 July 2020.

  5. “Facing a New Challenge: The Adverse Effects of Antibiotics on Gut Microbiota and Host Immunity.” PubMed Central (PMC), 20 May 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6511407.

  6. “Gut Microbiome Laboratory - Impact of Gut Microbiota on Host Physiology.” Mayo Clinicwww.mayo.edu/research/labs/gut-microbiome/projects/gut-microbiota-host-physiology?_ga=2.252502606.698910434.1594499728-53158076.1594225946.

  7. “The Effects of Probiotics on Depressive Symptoms in Humans: A Systematic Review.” PubMed Central (PMC)www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319175.

  8. Durack, Juliana. “The Gut Microbiome: Relationships With Disease and Opportunities for Therapy.” PubMed, 7 Jan. 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30322864.

  9. “Probiotics: How Effective Are They in the Fight against Obesity?” PubMed Central (PMC)www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412733.

  10. “Lactobacillus Fermentum and Lactobacillus Amylovorus as Probiotics Alter Body Adiposity and Gut Microflora in Healthy Persons.” ScienceDirect, 1 Jan. 2013, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464612001399.


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