All disease begins in the gut. - Hippocrates
The process of digestion and absorption is critical to health. We have to be conscientious about what we eat and how foods benefit us.
At the very simple level, the human body has to have a balanced pH (acid/base level) to function correctly. Research has proven that disease cannot survive in an alkaline state, yet it thrives in an acidic environment.
On the pH scale of 1 to 14, an acidic environment is less than 7.4. A basic or alkaline setting is greater than 7.4. The human body works best when it remains close to 7, which is neutral. You can find more information and pH values here.
Healthy gut flora, the complex community of microorganisms living in the digestive tract, has a balanced pH. Probiotics, which are typically associated with a healthy digestive system, may also help maintain this balance. These five foods help improve gut flora and balance the body's pH:
Wheatgrass is a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. It's also a source of protein.
This food's high alkalinity helps balance your body's pH levels. Wheatgrass is a complete food that provides enzymes and all essential amino acids, as well as antioxidants that help repair damaged cells. Some other benefits may include:
The best way to consume wheatgrass is through freshly squeezed juice. If this isn't a viable option for you, the powdered form is a good alternative.
Kefir is a unique cultured dairy product that is one of the most probiotic-rich foods on the planet. It has incredible medicinal benefits for the digestive system, such as:
The best kefir is home made, since you know the quality of the milk, the container and anything you add to each batch. If making at home isn't an option, plain greek kefir is a good alternative.
If you are lactose intolerant, you may make water kefir to gain many of the same benefits.
Kombucha describes a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drinks that are commonly consumed for their health benefits. Kombucha is produced by naturally fermenting tea using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).
A probiotic beverage that aids digestion and gut health, kombucha provides numerous benefits, from fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth to improving mental clarity and mood stability.
Kombucha is quite easy to brew at home. You can get a starter kit at most health food stores or from The Kombucha Shop.
Yogurt is created through the bacterial fermentation of milk. The process involves adding healthy bacteria to milk in a controlled temperature environment.
Yogurt provides a dose of animal protein plus vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, vitamins B-2 and B-12, potassium and magnesium. It's an appropriate option for breakfast, snacks and other meals.
The best yogurt is homemade, since you know the quality of the milk, the container and anything you add to each batch. Most store-bought yogurt contains sugar and preservatives. I am happy to share my homemade starter and help you start making your own yogurt.
If making a batch at home isn't an option, plain Greek yogurt is a good alternative.
The bacteria in sourdough pre-digests the flour, releasing micronutrients. This process takes place during a long, slow fermentation, which also gives the loaf a superior taste and texture. Plus, sourdough bread takes longer to digest, helping you feel full after you eat it.
The best sourdough is the one that you bake at home. All you need are flour, water and salt. All of the unnatural ingredients included in commercially produced bread are eliminated. To get started, try this great homemade recipe that I've been using.
If you choose to buy your bread, find a local bakery and buy a fresh sourdough loaf made from whole wheat, rye or spelt.