Ask An Editor: Your Gut Garden

Hi, Christine here, we talk a lot about successful gardening on here, but today I’ll shine a light on different kind of garden. Your gut garden and how to help it grow. First let’s have a brief overview on the topic and then I’ll show you how easy it is to make probiotic rich Kombucha in your home.

Your microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms. While these tiny living things exist over your entire body, the majority live in your gut, and influence your overall health and bodily functions. The number and composition of your gut flora greatly impact both your mental and physical well-being.

Friendly gut bacteria are vital to digestion. They destroy the harmful bacteria and microorganisms. Because your gut microbiota and the integrity of your gut lining plays such an important role, an unhealthy balance will cause innumerable issues that you would never guess were a result of the food/beverages you consume.

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Allergies
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Asthma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

    Skin issues such as acne or eczema can result from an imbalance. Your microbiome is also tied to autoimmune diseases and allergies. In addition, research has shown, in both humans and animals, that an unhealthy diet may lead to increased levels of endotoxins. Studies suggest that endotoxins can leak through the gut lining and into the bloodstream causing chronic, systemic inflammation. This is believed to lead to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, as well as many other complications.

  • Blood vessel and coronary inflammation
  • Depression, anxiety and stress
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gum inflammation
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease and gingivitis

Inflammation affects your blood vessels, including your coronary arteries, and structures in your brain. A decline in brain health may lead to depression, anxiety or lessen your ability to deal with stress. Certain types of bacteria can irritate your intestines and lead to inflammatory bowel diseases. And your mouth health can decline from a microbiota imbalance. You may experience gum inflammation, an increase in cavities due to weakened enamel, or the onset of gum disease or gingivitis.

Ways you may be damaging your microbiome:

  • Antibiotics and medications
  • Inactivity
  • Cigarettes
  • Alcohol
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress

Antibiotics don’t just kill the bad bacteria, they kill the beneficial as well. Studies have shown that one round of antibiotics can alter your microbiome for up to a year. And antibiotics aren’t the only medications that will damage your bacteria balance. Blood pressure, cancer and diabetes medications can negatively impact your gut flora as well.

A lack of physical activity can have a negative impact on your gut garden as well. Research has shown that an increase in fitness levels is beneficial to gut health. In addition, after studying cigarette use and gut bacteria balance, there was a notable increase in gut flora diversity following the cessation of smoking.

Chronic alcohol consumption has been shown to cause dysbiosis and has a harmful impact on gut bacteria.  Dysbiosis occurs when the harmful bacteria outnumber the helpful bacteria. Sleep deprivation and increased stress may be detrimental to your gut health so ensure you are getting plenty of consistently timed rest and work at lowering life’s stressors.      

Certain diets that limit your nutritional diversity can disrupt the balance, a rich and diverse gut flora is a healthy one. If you aren’t eating a diverse range of foods, it may limit your ability to recover from infection. 

Each gut bacteria requires a different nutrient to grow, so consuming a wide variety of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains will result in more diverse gut bacteria. You can boost and grow your microbiome with mindful lifestyle changes and by choosing pre and probiotic rich foods and beverages.

Foods rich in prebiotics

Prebiotics are a type of fiber commonly found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Consume plenty of high-fiber foods to feed the beneficial bacteria in your colon, while limiting the growth of harmful bacteria.

  • Dandelion Greens
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Lentils, chickpeas and beans
  • Barley
  • Cocoa
  • Flaxseeds
  • Wheat Bran
  •  Seaweed
  • Apples
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Nuts
  • Chicory Root
  • Burdock Root
  • Jicama Root
  • Konjac Root

Are all rich in prebiotics

Foods rich in probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria and yeasts.

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso soup
  • Soft cheeses
  • Kefir
  • Sourdough bread
  • Acidophilus Milk
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha

Are all rich in probiotics.

Kombucha is a delicious source of probiotics that can easily be added to your lifestyle. It can be brewed at home using a scoby, which is commonly confused for a mushroom, when in fact the term Scoby is an acronym meaning symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.

If you would like to start your first Kombucha batch and don’t know where to begin, I have the perfect kit for you. It comes complete with instructions and everything you need to get started.

The Kombucha brew now jar kit makes ¾ to 1 gallon of Kombucha Tea and contains:

  • 1 SCOBY kombucha culture
  • Strong starter liquid
  • Hannah’s Special Tea Blend for Perfect Kombucha
  • Reusable muslin tea bags
  • Organic evaporated cane juice sugar
  • Upcycled cotton cloth cover and rubber band
  • E-guide with batch brew and continuous brew instructions
  • And 1 gallon glass brewing vessel

Get your own kombucha jar kit at: https://www.motherearthnews.com/store/product/kombucha-brew-now-jar-kit?utm_medium=ask-an-editor

Before getting started, use vinegar to disinfect your hands and the vessel. A residue of dish soap will harm the living scoby.

Heat 4 cups of purified water in a tea kettle or pot, just as the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and let cool one to two minutes, then add it to the brewing vessel. Make sure the vessel isn’t too cold or it might crack.

Add your tea bags and allow to steep for seven to 15 minutes.

Remove the tea and stir in ¾ to one cup of sugar until dissolved.

Add 8 to 12 cups of purified water to lower the temperature to luke warm. Test to make sure it’s no warmer than body temperature.

Add the scoby and one cup of starter liquid. In future batches, retain 2 cups from the top of the brew to use as starter liquid. Cover the container with the provided cloth and rubber band.

Place your container in a warm, ventilated area out of direct sunlight for 7 to 21 days. 75 to 85 degrees is optimal. The longer the fermentation time, the stronger the taste.

Once your Kombucha is ready, bottling and flavoring instructions are included with your kit as well as directions for storing using a scoby hotel and the advantages of continuous brewing.

 

Fresh fruit, flowers, barks and berries are all good flavoring choices. Cinnamon and cranberry create a festive holiday taste, June kombucha can be created using green tea and honey, you can even experiment with adding coffee. Recipes and options are limitless.

Unless you see mold, the brew is normal and Kombucha is safe to consume. Usually what is mistaken for mold is normal Scoby or yeast growth. Mold on Kombucha looks like mold on bread. It’s dry, fuzzy and sitting on top of the culture. Usually in circles and colored white, black or green.

Good for the Gut recipes

Be sure to check out the links included in the video description for these good for the gut recipes:

  • Mushroom Miso Soup
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Apple-Ginger-Orange Sauerkraut
  • Water kefir
  • Lacto-fermented Lemonade
  • Kombucha

Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,”. I challenge you to read and research more on the complex and amazing functions that begin in your gut. And be mindful, if we are what we eat, is what you’re consuming helping or harming you?

I’ve included some great resources in the video description on how to help your gut garden grow. There you can also find the link to purchase the Kombucha Brew Now Jar Kit from the Mother Earth News store. Thanks for watching. Be well!

Good for the gut recipes:

https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/mushroom-miso-soup-zerz1808zpop

https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/chocolate-chia-pancakes-recipe-zerz1808zpop

https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/almond-milk-recipe-zerz1808zpop

https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/coconut-yogurt-recipe-zerz1808zpop

https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/untraditionally-traditional-sauerkraut-zbcz2010

https://www.myfermentation.com/non-alcoholic/water-kefira-refreshing-probiotic-zbcz1610zwoo

https://www.myfermentation.com/non-alcoholic/lacto-fermented-lemonade-ze0z1904znad

https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/home-brewing-kombucha-zbcz1703

 

Articles to learn more:

https://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/gut-feeling-the-microbiome-and-mental-health-ze0z1808zpop

https://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/are-antibiotics-safe-for-children-4-risks-of-antibiotic-overuse-zbcz1512

https://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/why-to-support-beneficial-bacteria-during-pregnancy-zbcz1604

https://www.myfermentation.com/non-alcoholic

https://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/digestive-herbs-zm0z12amzdeb

 

Sources used:

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/ss/slideshow-microbiome-overview

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/improve-gut-bacteria

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-things-that-harm-gut-bacteria

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-best-prebiotic-foods

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/ss/slideshow-probiotics

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-things-that-harm-gut-bacteria#TOC_TITLE_HDR_7