Eat Smart: Use Beneficial Bacteria to Tickle Tastebuds, Promote Gut Health

The purposes of pre- and probiotics differ, yet they support our digestive health symbiotically. Probiotics are the good bacteria in the gut that promote the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients and strengthen the immune system. Prebiotics are the fuel for the good bacteria in our gut. Quite a team, right? Boosting the body’s digestive process with pre- and probiotic supplements has become mainstream, and food companies are catching on to this health trend.

Shelf-stable probiotics have enabled their inclusion in many ready-made food products. They can be found added to nut butters, granola, oatmeal, cereals and more. Be cautious, as these products may not be gluten-free. Even probiotic supplements often contain small amounts of gluten. Traditional foods remain the best choice; plus, they’re simple and tasty ways to add gluten-free pre- and probiotic foods to your diet every day.

Lay the groundwork for a healthy gut by starting with prebiotic foods. They’re found in the non-digestible parts of foods, such as the fiber in raw or cooked onions, raw asparagus, leeks, garlic, jicama and dandelion greens, as well as under-ripe bananas. The fibers pass through the small intestine undigested, reaching the colon to be fermented by the good bacteria, feeding it. Now, let’s be sure you’ve got that good bacteria to nourish.

Fermented and cultured foods are effortless additions to your meals and are the most beneficial way to incorporate probiotics into your day. Yogurt is a great option, as long as it contains live cultures. Opt for unsweetened, plain whole-milk yogurt, and add fresh berries. If choosing a non-dairy yogurt, make sure it has live cultures as well. Enjoy a couple of tablespoons of raw sauerkraut or pickled vegetables (not heat-treated) as a side dish with any meal, sprinkled on a salad, tucked into a collard wrap, or as a topping on cooked pork, red meat and fish. Try mixing apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”) and extra-virgin olive oil, or coconut aminos and sesame seed oil, as the acid ingredient in your salad dressings. Raw cheese, kefir, kombucha, brine-cured olives and kimchi are even more options.

The following recipes offer a fun way to serve up raw sauerkraut, take yogurt one step further, and use a few probiotic capsules in the cupboard to satisfy anyone’s chocolate craving.

Raw Sauerkraut Confetti Salad in Cucumber Ribbons

A sharper brain, improved immune function, and weight loss are just a few of the benefits of raw sauerkraut. Reap the benefits of this delightful salad that comes together in minutes. Click here for the recipe

 Yogurt Cheese

The variations are endless when it comes to this simple spread. You can easily experiment with your favorite ingredients to add sweet or savory flavors, and still get your daily dose of probiotics! Click here for the recipe

 Dark Chocolate-Dipped & Coconut-Topped Creamy Almond Bites

Just 8 simple ingredients and you won’t be able to get ENOUGH probiotics when it comes to these capsule-incorporated treats. Click here for the recipe

 

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