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Fermentation Beats Inflammation

You often hear about yogurt and fermented foods being good for your gut, but new research suggests they may do more than that.

Scientists at Stanford University believe that yogurt and other fermented foods including kefir, kimchi, cottage cheese, and kombucha not only support good gut bacteria but may also aid in preventing the inflammation that kickstarts arthritis and diabetes.

According to the study authors, an increase in overall gut microbial diversity was observed when these foods are consumed, with larger effects from bigger servings. Nineteen markers of inflammation known as inflammatory proteins also declined with the addition of fermented foods.

Researchers discovered the benefits of fermented foods while doing a comparison study on the impact of diets high in fiber and high in fermented foods. The researchers were surprised that a high-fiber diet didn’t increase microbiota diversity despite it being linked with lower mortality.

Samples were collected and analyzed during a 3-week pre-trial time, then at 10 weeks of the diet and a 4-week post diet time when subjects ate what they wanted. Subjects who consumed more fermented food had similar effects on the diversity of their microbiome as well as inflammatory markers. This was consistent with previous research highlights that, short-term changes could alter the gut microbiome.

The study also found that higher fiber intake resulted in higher carbohydrates in stool samples, indicating incomplete fiber digestion by gut microbes. The scientists point out that their findings were similar to other studies that suggested that the gut microbiota of those living in the industrialized world is lacking fiber-degrading microbes.

Fermented foods can be a healthful part of a balanced diet, and help fight inflammation. If you are considering adding fermented foods to your eating patterns, these tips may be helpful…

  • Enjoy yogurt or kefir at breakfast or for a snack with fruit.
  • Try kombucha tea made at home (or purchased commercially) in place of water at one or two meals. Look for low-sugar options!
  • Add beans or lentils to salads, soups, and stews to boost fiber intake.
  • Enjoy air-popped popcorn as a snack in place of crackers or chips.
  • Add kimchi or sauerkraut to sandwiches or salads for something different.
  • Make overnight oats with yogurt or kefir, fresh or frozen berries, and nuts.

DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.

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