The key ingredient to a healthy diet

Have you tried all the nutrition tips you can find for your health problem but still don't seem to get the relief you're after? You can eat kale till you wee green (not a real thing) without gaining the benefits, if your digestive system isn't absorbing it.


Absorption relies heavily on the gut microbiome. (That's the many bacteria that populate the surface of the gut, sometimes called gut flora). We've all heard of probiotics but not many of us truly understand what they are. Probiotics are essentially the bacteria good bacteria themselves. When you take a probiotic it injects the gut with those microbes then it's up to you to keep them alive. Prebiotics are the food that the bacteria needs to live. The tips given below help you feed the good microbes making it hard for the bad ones to survive, without having to spend your money of probiotic pills. 

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1. Eat sauerkraut.  This is a pickled preparation of cabbage. Anything which has been pickled is a fermented preparation that has naturally occurring probiotics in. Great for your gut. I tried my hand at making a spicy sauerkraut, I'll tell you the results once I know! Get a recipe here. 

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2. Drink Kombucha or Kefir fermented drinks. Kefir is a living yeast which comes in granules that can be added to milk or juices to create a sparkling drink. It's as delicious as you make it really. You can also buy fermented juices at whole food shops now. Kombucha does the same but is traditionally blended with tea as well. Here's a recipe. 

3. Eat biolive yoghurt. Beware of the high sugar products like yakult that has so much sugar in it far outweighs the benefit of the tiny amount of bacteria in it. Go for unsweetened natural biolive-live yoghurt instead and add a touch of honey or fresh fruits to liven it up instead. 

4. Avoid refined sugar. Sugar feeds all the "bad" bacteria in the gut. When things like candida get out of balance it can wreak havoc by releasing toxins that cause symptoms like bloating and thrush. 

5. Chill out. Stress negatively effects our microbiome. Stress changes the composition, diversity and number of microbes in the gut. It leads to a less diverse microbiome and a higher amount of harmful bacteria like Clostridium. Read more about it here. 

Fermented Foods

You'll notice I haven't said to take Probiotics. That's because you simply don't need them if you're eating right. Fermented foods such as the ones above are high in lactic-acid bacteria which helps to feed the good bacteria in the gut, creates omega-3 fatty acids, and changes the pH of the gut. But Probiotics are great if you need a quick reboot after a course of antibiotics. When that happens, it's variety rather than quantity that matters.

Not long ago we were obsessed with the amount of millions or billions of bacteria in each capsule but now we know better. Brands like bio-kult and optibac focus on offering many different types of bacteria and even use specific types for specific problems. 

Want to Learn More?

If you'd like to learn more about making your own fermented foods I'd recommend the new course by The New England Herbal Academy. I'm going to be doing it myself and it'd be lovely to chat about it. When you purchase courses with The Herbal Academy through my links you also help support me to continue writing these blogs, win, win. I'd love to hear any questions you might have below in the comments.

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy