It seems as though there is a new product arriving on our supermarket shelves each day, that promises to be the ‘next big thing’ in maintaining good gut health. From yoghurts, to bread, and even snacks – the choices are endless. But when it comes to beverages, what are the best choices we can make to support our gut health?
Thought to have originated in China or Japan, kombucha exploded into our supermarkets and onto café menus around three years ago, and it’s popularity only continues to grow. Featuring a fermented green or black tea base, kombucha also has a specific type of culture known as SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts). The bacteria and yeast found in the SCOBY uses the sugar in the tea as a food source, fermenting it. During the fermentation process, the sugar is converted into acetic acid – which is what gives kombucha is distinctive taste and fizz.
When it comes to gut health, kombucha can be a rich source of probiotics, or the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut that are critical for maintaining healthy gut function. A word to the wise, depending on the brand, kombucha can sometimes have a stack of added sugar. Think of it as a ‘sometimes’ treat rather than a shortcut to good gut health.
Another fermented beverage, kefir is usually made from cow’s or goat’s milk. The milk has kefir ‘grains’ added to it, which are actually colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria. The colonies look somewhat like grains, hence the name. The addition of the kefir grains to milk begins a process in which the grains multiply and ferment the sugars in the milk milk – transforming it into kefir.
Like kombucha, kefir is a great source of probiotics. In fact, kefir grains are thought to contain over 60 different strains of bacteria and yeasts, making them extremely rich in diverse probiotics that support good gut health.
Whilst not strictly benefitting the health of your gut, peppermint and ginger teas can be effective in managing some gut health complaints. From discomfort associated with IBS to easing nausea, ginger and peppermint teas are a good go-to for easing the symptoms of your digestive ails.
H20 – you can’t go past it. Staying adequately hydrated each day helps to maintain the mucosal lining of the intestines, as well as ensuring that the delicate balance of bacteria in the gut is maintained. When it comes to water, bottoms up!
Intended as general advice only. Consult your health care provider to discuss any specific concerns.