Your Weekly Wellness Vol. #10

Volume #10

Fermentation frenzy
You might have noticed that suddenly something called Kombucha is now available everywhere from your local hipster coffee shop to Walmart. So what’s the deal? Kombucha is one of many trendy fermented foods, like kimchi and kefir, that are gaining popularity for their “good bacteria” which has been shown to support digestive health in the gut.

Magic microbes
So what is fermentation and why has it become such a hot food-trend? According to Celeste Thomas, a registered nurse and the founder of True Spoon, “A fermented food is any food that undergoes the process the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically resulting in effervescence and heat. Very science'y I know but pretty much its little bugs breaking down the organic matter in food and transforming it into gut supporting magic.” Thomas says citing the health benefits of fermented foods to be nearly endless, from balancing gut flora, aiding immunity, and fighting the common cold to supporting food digestion and even helping to make your skin glow so good.  

Gut check
Not everyone is about that fermentation life though. Some point out that many fermented foods on the market don’t actually have enough probiotics in them to have any of the real health benefits listed. While others are concerned that many products contain too many probiotics, which studies have shown can cause painful bloating (whoop! You know all the things about that now), headaches, and other health ailments. More on that, here.

Buyers beware
These days, health food stores are literally brimming over with fermented food products, from the aforementioned kombucha to kimchi and kraut. But buyers beware! According to Thompson, not all packaged fermented foods are created equal. More specifically, she recommends looking out for sugar, salt, and pesticides which are “the biggest sneaky culprits” found in fermented foods. She also recommends going rogue and dabbling in making your own fermented foods at home, which can be a fantastic low-cost option. Here’s a delicious recipe to get you started. 

When elastic waist pants are life
Bloating, which happens when your stomach expands to accommodate your food, is a totally normal function of the body that occurs when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or gas. Most people describe bloating as feeling full, tight, or swollen in the abdomen. Common side effects include the need to immediately unbutton your jeans and change into sweatpants.

Put down the bubbly
To reduce bloating, the key is to prevent adding any extra air to your GI tract. How? Although everyone swallows air when they eat or drink, eating or drinking too fast can cause you to swallow even more air than normal. In addition to slowing down between bites of pizza, docs also recommend taking it easy on fiber and avoiding carbonated drinks, both of which can produce excessive amounts of gas that tend to get trapped in the GI. Here’s a helpful list with 18 other ideas for bloating relief, from taking peppermint capsules to hitting a yoga class. *Adds link to bookmarks*

Poppin' TUMS like M&Ms
But what happens when bloating is impacting your quality of life? It could be time to call a doctor. Typically, bloating is benign, and can be solved by keeping a food journal and eliminating offending ingredients, but sometimes it can also be a sign of something more serious including food allergies like lactose intolerance and celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and even some cancers. You can find a complete list of warning signs and symptoms to look out for, here.  


Leave a comment