The Lowdown on Kefir, Kimchi and Gut Health

Photo by Alison Marras

“There are more bacteria in the gut as individual cells than there are cells in our entire body,” declares Brighter Day’s co-owner Peter Brodhead. “They are more in the driver’s seat than we had any idea,” which means maintaining a healthy digestive environment is the key to our overall health.

Everything from our mood to our inflammatory responses is modulated by this bacteria—both good and bad. “We’re just barely breaking ground on the diversity,” says Brodhead. “We know just a small fraction of what there is to potentially know. [For instance], the majority of your serotonin and those transmitters starts in the gut.”

There are more bacteria in the gut as individual cells than there are cells in our entire body.

So, what we eat has even more impact on our mental and physical health than mere calories in and out. Brodhead recommends including fermented foods, such as kimchi, kefir and kombucha, to fortify the beneficial bacteria. He also points to resistance starches such as asparagus, beans and hummus. Ghee—a form of clarified butter—is another booster.

“Fiber is the food that feeds beneficial bacteria,” he explains. “The more of those, the better your biome is and the better diversity of your biome.”

Still skeptical?

Brodhead cites a study in the United Kingdom where children with eczema were given probiotics. “When they got the bacteria balanced out, the skin cleared up.”

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