by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
Jump on board for what you may ask?
What I am referring to is something we have been talking about at Depke Wellness for some time not…
The gut/brain connection!
Here is an excerpt from a past article on the gut/brain connection from Depke Wellness.
“So you think your brain is all in your head? Well, think again. Obviously it starts in your head but your brain extends into the brain stem, from there this leads to the Vagus nerve which then extends throughout the gastrointestinal system. Yes that same nerve tissue that is within your brain extends into the gut and oh, what a connection!”
If you would like to read the entire article on the Gut/Brain Connection, click here.
Finally conventional thought is catching up and that is so exciting for all of us. For decades natural health pioneers have been sharing information on the need for beneficial bacteria in the gut, recognizing that this is not just a gut issue but also a brain issue.
The “groundbreaking” news from the UCLA Health website has recently shared:
“UCLA researchers now have the first evidence that bacteria ingested in food can affect brain function in humans. In an early proof-of-concept study of healthy women, they found that women who regularly consumed beneficial bacteria known as probiotics through yogurt showed altered brain function, both while in a resting state and in response to an emotion-recognition task.”
If you would like to read the article in its entirety, visit this link. I would truly recommend this article for all our readers.
“The discovery that changing the bacterial environment, or microbiota, in the gut can affect the brain carries significant implications for future research that could point the way toward dietary or drug interventions to improve brain function, the researchers said.”
While I am happy to see that conventional medicine is on board with this information, it would make sense that instead of discussing this as a desire to create further drug interventions, how about taking probiotics or naturally fermented foods?
I can share that personally, I take 2 capsules of the Depke Wellness Prebiotic/Probiotic Formula every morning when I wake up. Thanks to some work my wife does for our home we also enjoy naturally fermented drinks such as coconut water kefir and kombucha on a regular basis to also kick up our healthy bacteria. There are so many health options to maintain a healthy gut/brain connection that are often not put into use.
Here is a list of naturally fermented products for your personal use.
*As a special note, when these foods below are “rushed” and put through a chemical fermentation process they do not enjoy the same beneficial bacteria gift. Many of these are now chemically fermented but finding these in their true naturally fermented state is invaluable. Many of these can still be found in these healthy states of fermentation.
- Sourdough Bread – Sourdough bread is fermented with the help of wild yeasts that are unique to a region, climate, or even kitchen. Mixing wild yeast culture into flour and water to make bread will create bubbles that cause the bread to rise, and give the bread a characteristic sour taste.
- Cheese – Cheese is really milk gone bad (in a controlled way) All cheese consists of milk, culture, and sometimes coagulant. Different cheeses began with different cheese cultures, some of which have been handed down for generations.
- Cultured Butter – Cultured butter is butter made from soured (again in a controlled way) cream that is then whipped or churned to separate the whey from the butterfat. This extra step is what makes cultured butter more expensive than regular butter.
- Crème fraîche – One of the most versatile dairy products around, crème fraîche is soured cream, the precursor of cultured butter, and one of the easiest and most foolproof cultured dairy products to make at home.
- Yogurt – Yogurt is milk that has been cultured with two very specific strains of bacteria: streptoccus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus. Most yogurts in the grocery store are filled with artificial additives, colors, and sweeteners. When shopping, look for plain yogurt containing nothing but cultures and milk. Or make your own.
- Kefir – Also known as drinkable yogurt, kefir is a cultured dairy product similar to yogurt, but it contains more strains of friendly bacteria than yogurt.
- Salami – Salami and other cured meats made the traditional (slow) way are actually fermented. The meat is mixed with salt and spices, inoculated with a special culture, and then allowed to cure naturally, without additives. That’s why, when you bite into a really fine artisanal salami, you can usually detect a slight tang. That’s the fermentation.
- Wine -To make wine, the grapes are mixed with yeast and allowed to ferment before aging.
- Beer – Beer is made from fermented mashed grains like hops and wheat. Differences in flavor and body come from manipulating the ratio of ingredients and adding other flavors.
- Sauerkraut – Sauerkraut is another very simple home fermenting project. You can ferment cabbage easily with just salt, or you can use a lacto-fermentation method by adding a little yogurt whey. Try it here.
- Pickles – Traditionally, dill pickles were made through fermentation. Now they are most often made with vinegar. The traditional types are making a resurgence, however, and can be found in specialty stores carrying local products. Or you can make them yourself.
- Kimchi – There are more varieties of kimchi than cars, but all have a delicious funk in common, and that funk comes from fermentation. Kimchi is made like sauerkraut but may contain different types of vegetables and seasonings, sugar, and often some type of dried or fermented fish product.
- Kombucha – This popular drink, like yogurt, and unlike wild fermented items like sauerkraut, is the product of a very specific culture. The culture is a spongy, slightly slimy disc that is sometimes called mother and sometimes called a skoby. The culture ferments a mixture of black tea and sugar into a tart, slighty fizzy drink that some people insist is a cure-all for many ailments. Making Kombucha video.
- Fish Sauce – Where does the dipping sauce in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants get its pungency? From the fish sauce, which is made of mashed up whole fish, packed in salt and fermented. But beware. Not all fish sauce is created equally. Some brands are produced through a chemical process, not a natural fermentation process.
- Vinegar – Vinegar is made by fermenting wine with a “mother,” which is a stringy mass of bacteria found in unpasteurized vinegar. It’s easy to make vinegar at home from leftover wine and culture, either purchased or obtained from another vinegar.
- Miso – The salty paste used in Japanese cooking is made with a special koji culture, rice or barley, and soybeans. Many people think it’s the key to Japanese longevity.
- Tempeh – This meaty tasting soybean cake, popular in Indonesian cuisine is a product of fermenting cooked soybeans with a special mold. If the tempeh sometimes appears moldy, that’s because it is. But rest assured, it’s like the mold in blue cheese and ok to eat. Here’s a great recipe for pan-fried tempeh
Enjoying these naturally fermented foods when available while taking your daily probiotic goes a long way in not only helping your gut but also your brain. Now it’s not just us health geeks talking about it, conventional medicine in now on board. For that, we are thankful!