What if I told you that eating a few tablespoons of sauerkraut or a cup of kefir or yogurt per day could help you conquer chronic fatigue?
You’d probably think I’m crazy, right?
Crazy like a fox… Here’s how fermented foods can help end years of suffering.
What Your Gut Has To Do With Fatigue
I’ve written about the connection between the thyroid and the gut (here and here), but many of these principles can be applied to other causes of fatigue.
If you’ve been following me for any time, you know I believe that the vast majority of chronic fatigue can be traced back to one or more of the following disease states:
- Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysregulation
- Hypothyroidism and Other Autoimmune Disease
- Environmental Toxins
- Chronic Infections
Most of these issues can be caused or contributed to by an unhealthy gut and it is nearly impossible to resolve these issues without addressing gut health first. This starts with providing the gut with lots of beneficial bacteria…
How Fermented Foods Can Help Your Gut
Fermented foods contain many beneficial bacteria (mainly Lactobacillus species) and have been shown to provide a variety of health benefits, including:
- Helping people lose weight
- Reducing inflammation and pain
- Reversing autoimmune issues
- Minimizing lactose intolerance
- Reducing anxiety
- Improving cognitive function
A common misconception is that fermented foods and supplemental probiotics increase the number of beneficial bacteria that live in the gut, but research has shown that is not the case. It is more of a qualitative change rather than a quantitative change.
These transient bacteria that you’re putting into your gut help to regulate the immune system via an upregulation of T-regulatory cell function.
They also can produce B vitamins, including folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and biotin. Lactobacilli can also produce omega-3 fatty acids which play a role in reducing inflammation and immune regulation.
3 Fermented Foods You Can Try Today
Some of the more common fermented foods include vegetable ferments like sauerkraut or kimchi. There are also fermented drinks like kefir or kombucha. There’s always the old standby of yogurt (if you’re not intolerant of casein, the protein found in dairy products.)
If you have or think you might have gut issues such as, SIBO or dysbiosis, then you need to start with a very small amount of fermented food, like a few strands of sauerkraut or a teaspoon of kefir. If, after 4 or 5 days, you are not experiencing any gas, bloating, cramping, you can increase the amount you’re consuming. If you experience issues when you bump up your intake, scale back down for several more days before trying it again.
If you want to get your hands dirty and make your own, then I’d recommend checking out websites like CulturesForHealth.com or TheHappyHerbalist.com for equipment and recipes. My wife and I are actually about to start making our own, so follow me on Instagram and you’ll get to see the whole process.
For those of you that are more of it, grab and go kind of people, here are 3 products that you can purchase that will get you well on your way:
- Pickled Planet Great Plain Raw Sauerkraut – you cannot go wrong with this plain-Jane kraut. If you’re looking to be more adventurous You might want to try their Dill E Gent version
- Pickled Planet Korean Kimchi – this spicy mix of veggies is a perfect addition to your breakfast or as a snack
- Lifeway Original Unsweetened Milk Kefir – kefir might be one of the most potent fermented foods that you can eat and this one tastes a lot like plain yogurt
Start with one of these and as you become more of a fermented food connoisseur, branch out and mix things up a bit. After all, variety is the spice of life!
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The post How Fermented Foods Can Fix Your Chronic Fatigue appeared first on Dr. Brandon Allen.