Lindsay Lohan with kombucha

I have always been one to keep up with the latest fitness and health trends so naturally I found Kombucha. It wasn’t Madonna, David Beckham, or Halle Berry ( all spotted regularly with signature glass bottles) that convinced me to start brewing my own. It was the fermented, probiotic goodness that sold me (and the $4 a bottle price tag in stores). Plenty of opinions are out there, bad and good, but I often find the preliminary research too narrow and jilted. Fermentation and probiotic digestion-enhancing properties are well documented for  helping to optimize health and digestion by aiding intestinal bacteria in performing their tasks more efficiently.

Natural gut bacteria is important. Thats why we have nearly four pounds of it. While not all is good, our “intestinal flora” sometimes needs some weeding. Cultured and fermented foods are your tools to regulate the balance. Kombucha is a fermented sparkling tea beverage that packs a massive antioxidant punch and looks and tastes like a cross between Champagne and vinegar. Comprised of acetic acid, malic acid, butyric acid, oxalic acid, lactic acid, and a teensy bit of alcohol, kombucha has been a standard refresher, alleged hangover cure, and all-around home remedy in Asia and Eastern Europe for millennia.

Here are a few of my other gut friendly favorites.

Kimchi- A traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables.

Sauerkraut-  Fermented cabbage that is regularly used in Europe to treat ulcers and digestive problems. Look for “raw”, which is not heated or pasteurized.

Local Raw Honey- The nectar from honey is what makes it antiallergenic and local pollen will help with local allergies. Thats why you go local. Raw (straight from the hive) means it maintains all its alkaline forming enzymes and benefits.

The latter is not only a superfood but but a prebiotic as well. The difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic is that a prebiotic is the fuel for good bacteria, whereas probiotics are the actual good bacteria. Prebiotics are non-digestible nutrients that your good bacteria can use for energy. They stimulate the growth of good bacteria and generally pass through the digestive system intact while performing their magic in the colon.

Now that we know how to optimize our nutrient absorption through a healthy stomach make sure you don’t start dumping trash into your digestion garden. Minimize sugar and proccessed foods that inflame the GI tract and stick with enzyme rich cleansing foods like papaya, broccoli, and fish.

The most important thing is balance. If you don’t want an apple, you aren’t hungry. Don’t stress your body unless it needs it. Digestion, exercise, and emotion are all forms of stress. With positive mind all these stresses are healthy and met with the antioxidants that we create with happiness and absorb in real foods. Now go eat, drink, and be merry.