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8 Fermented Foods That Are Good For Digestion

8 Fermented Foods That Are Good For Digestion

Here’s something that might shock you: the stomach is like a second brain. In fact, its function is so important to the human body that it affects just about everything when it is out of shape. The gut is made up of trillions of good and bad bacteria, and when it gets out of balance, problems begin to occur everywhere.

Ever noticed blemishes or pimples on your cheeks that just aren’t going away no matter which products you use? Ever wonder why your kidneys hurt constantly, but nothing is detected? Or perhaps you have an irritable bowel or embarrassing flatulence, even though you aren’t necessarily eating foods that would cause this. With the amounts of processed foods, medications, and hidden yeasts and chemicals we consume, our very important gut flora is often thrown out of whack. What is nutritionally beneficial to rectify this is the good bacteria that thrives in fermented foods. Below are 8 of the best that, when introduced slowly, will have your digestive tract better balanced and on the road to recovery.

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1. Tempeh

Made from soybeans, tempeh is a delicious (not to mention vegan/vegetarian) fermented food that can be cooked and prepared with any lunch or dinner in a stir-fry, burger, or even just with some veggies. Because it is made from soy beans, it is closely linked to tofu, though it is a less-processed version which is fermented and full of amino acids that are good for the gut. 

2. Pickles

Much like sauerkraut in their simple recipe of salt (and water), “real” pickles are made from cucumbers and spices, but can additionally include herbs for more flavor. Alternatively, any fermented vegetables are going to be good for your gut, so you can really get creative with this one and choose vegetables to your tastes. 

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3. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk drink which comes in the form of both milk or yoghurt, depending on what you prefer. It is, at first, an odd consistency – it almost tastes fizzy, as if it might have turned bad! This is just the live cultures buzzing. Kefir is an amazing source of probiotics and calcium. 

4. Natural yoghurt

Many yoghurts that we buy in the supermarket are packed with sugar, which is detrimental to the health of your stomach. If you can get your hands on a natural yoghurt, they are packed with probiotics and live cultures that rectify and aid imbalances — 100% Greek yoghurt is a good option.

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5. Miso

You might have first heard of miso as the Japanese soup sold in small doses at your favorite restaurant. It is, in fact, a paste that is made from barley, soy beans, or rice, and is full of live cultures that are good for the stomach. While stirring it into soups is the most common form of consumption, braver souls enjoy its flavor so much that they even spread it onto toast like peanut butter! 

6. Kombucha

Kombucha is a very ancient Chinese tea that was once known as the “tea of immortality.” Made from yeast bacteria, it is added to sweetened teas and then changed by the sugars into a bowl of incredible nutrients, including vitamin C, B vitamins, amino acids, organic acids, enzymes, and antibiotic tendencies. It is a mixing pot of good gut health!

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7. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is the traditional German dish of fermented cabbage. It might be an acquired taste, but as it is made from only cabbage and salt, it is a very healthy gut choice which is full of fiber and probiotics.

8. Kimchi

Kimchi is the Korean version of Sauerkraut. It is made with seasonings and thus has more flavor than the traditional sauerkraut, yet it is similarly packed with fiber and goodness. It is also being more widely used these days, and has been known to even taste good as a pizza topping!

Featured photo credit: Albumarium via albumarium.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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