Probiotics & Fermented Foods

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By the time we’d completed the segment of healthtalks with Dorota Trupp, we just knew that there’d be a number of questions you’d want us to answer. So we had Dorota put together this summary of Probiotics and Fermented foods for you.

If you want to ensure a healthy gut, you should consider adding fermented foods to your diet. Among the many benefits of fermented foods is the fact that they are high in probiotics, or ‘good bacteria’, which can dramatically improve the state of your digestive system.

The best way to begin eating fermented foods is slowly – one spoonful of your preferred probiotic-rich food is enough to begin with. You can then gradually increase the amount you consume. So the next day you could have two spoonfuls, the following day three spoonfuls and so on. In terms of probiotic drinks, such as kefir (fermented cow’s milk) and the tea-based Kombucha, one to three cups a day will be sufficient to keep your body nourished with beneficial bacteria.

The reason you need to take it slowly when you first try fermented foodstuffs is because they are detoxifiers. Probiotics cause the ‘bad bacteria’ in your gut to break-up and as they do this they release toxins into your bloodstream. This is known as a ‘die-off reaction’. By gradually increasing how many probiotics you eat, you limit the amount of these toxins inside you, making it easier for your body to flush them out. The die-off reaction is why you may initially experience an unpleasant reaction to fermented foods. It doesn’t happen in all cases but if this happens to you, just remember that this is a normal response to probiotics and is easily managed.

If you are thinking of purchasing raw fermented foods, you should know that it is illegal for retailers to sell these in Australia. So be prepared to be disappointed when you learn that the beautiful organic sauerkraut you just bought from your local health food store had to be pasteurised before being sold. Pasteurisation of course, kills off all the probiotics, which means that the only way to get a good dose of good bacteria, is to ferment food and drink yourself.

This news may be a little discouraging but it’s really not that difficult. You just need to familiarise yourself with the proper preparation methods and how the end product should look and taste. Fortunately, at Trupp Cooking School, we can guide you in making various fermented drinks and foods. We can also help you develop a specific dietary plan that will speed your recovery from digestive issues. For more information, check out the details of our bestselling ‘Heal your gut with the lost art of fermentation & probiotic foods’ cooking course.

An option if you have a gut bacteria imbalance, which may involve symptoms of bloating, indigestion, uncomfortable bowel movements, food allergies and/or intolerances, is to use a probiotic supplement. I’d suggest that you give the conventional brands a miss, as their products are typically designed for people who have generally healthy digestive tracts. Instead, get the stronger practitioner-brand probiotic supplements. These supplements are manufactured according to strict industry guidelines using powerful, condensed strains of various probiotic bacteria – exactly what you need in order to quickly and efficiently populate your compromised digestive tract with good bacteria. I’ve found that to get the best value for money, avoid chemists and supermarkets and check out the over-the-counter practitioner supplements sold in health food stores. These are usually more expensive but are well worth the money – the knowledgeable sales assistants at dedicated health food stores can most often help you identify the authentic products.

Finally, a note on autism which we touched on in the segment. Research has revealed that alongside their autistic symptoms and developmental delays, autistic children typically display a history of digestive issues such as gastrointestinal tract inflammation. However, treatment that would ease digestive problems in these children is not always provided in the course of conventional autism therapies. I think that this is extremely regrettable because resolving an autistic child’s digestive issues will likely improve their brain development and overall health. There have been countless documented cases around the world of families who have addressed the symptoms of autism through early implementation of biochemical treatment: a combination of a specific diet, nutritional supplements and most importantly, probiotics such as those found in fermented foods. The probiotic foods are particularly important as they help to balance gut bacteria, which seems to be a major health problem in autistic children.

In fact research suggests that the development of healthy gut flora and a strong digestive tract, together with a strong immune system, may even prevent the onset of autism, which can develop at any time in the first three years of life. Why is this so? The digestive tract of a developing infant is supposed to be a source of nourishment. But when a child’s gut flora has not properly developed, or if the gut lining has been damaged by bad bacteria, the digestive tract becomes a major source of toxicity and malnutrition. A child can become deficient in key nutrients such as iron, zinc and B-group vitamins, which can impede brain development and together with the toxicity that comes from bad bacteria activity result in an autistic condition.

So here are some tips for those who are contemplating parenthood and for parents of young children:

Prospective mothers – get yourselves screened for any digestive problems and heal your gut as soon as you can, preferably before you get pregnant.

Mothers – breastfeed for as long as you can, as breast milk has been shown to protect infants against gut flora imbalances.

Include fermented foods in your family’s diet and if necessary use good-quality probiotic supplements.

Be wary of giving antibiotic treatments or vaccinations to children who have digestive issues, eczema and/or low immunity

Test your child’s intestinal flora composition and if necessary, fix any digestive issues as soon as possible using probiotics and and a diet.

If you’d like more information please contact Dorota Trupp: trupp@bigpond.com

Posted in Detox, Food
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