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Share Its A Gut Feeling

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Food Heroes

It’s a GUT feeling!

Are you taking care of your gut and digestive system? The answer for most of us is; ‘probably not’.

Probiotics are good bacteria that primarily line your gut and are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system and there is more and more evidence of the effect your gut microbiome has on your mental and emotional health and vice versa, in fact both serotonin and dopamine (which have major effect on mood) are made in the gut. Ted Dinan, a professor of psychiatry at University College Cork, said probiotics for the brain — psychobiotics — have the potential to reduce mild to moderate depression.

So, there is more to that saying ‘gut feeling’ than you imagined!

Historically, we had plenty of probiotics in our diet from eating fresh foods from good soil and by fermenting our foods to keep them from spoiling. But intense farming practices and modern food production methods like pasteurisation and prolific use of antibiotics have depleted our natural sources of good bacteria.

A way to build a better microbiome may be to seek out foods that naturally teem with good bacteria like probiotics. We’ve noticed an increased demand for fermented and live foods like cultured vegetables and natural dairy products.

Here’s our list of 'Top 7 Gut Friendly Foods' which we stock instore:

1. Kefir: Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of milk and fermented kefir grains. Kefir has been consumed for over 3,000 years and is derived from the Turkish word “keif” “feeling good.” It has a slightly acidic and tart flavour it contains about 30 different microorganisms, making it a much more potent source of probiotics than other fermented dairy products. Our milk Kefir is specially made for us at Ardkeen by Trisha Hennessy of Knockeen Farm in Piltown in Kilkenny who also supplies us with a range of wonderful natural yoghurts. We also stock King of Kefir (made in Dublin) which is a water kefir made using freshly juiced ingredients with a blend of dried herbs and spice to create an infusion of the flavours. The drink is then allowed to ferment with the water kefir culture which grows on the natural sugars. Just before bottling either apple juice or organic honey is added to the drink and when bottled it is left to incubate for 2 weeks. This allows it to fizz up in the bottle naturally. The low level of sweetness is achieved using a small amount of the Stevia plant extract as a natural sweetener. The end result is a refreshing and tasty natural soft drink with a light fizz. For those who prefer their probiotics a little less tart we have Kefi (Kefir Icecream) developed by a clinical nutritional therapist is there perfect way to introduce probiotic into your kid’s diet (it’s good for adults too!)

2. Cultured Vegetables: Both Sauerkraut and Kimchi are high in enzymes, which can aid digestion.  Made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables, sauerkraut is not diverse in probiotics but is high in organic acids, which give food its sour taste and support the growth of good bacteria. Kimchi is a cousin to sauerkraut and is the Korean take on cultured veggies. We stock both Sauerkraut and Kimchi from The Cultured Food Company, founder Hayley Milthorpe is reviving the ancient art of live fermented foods with a view to improving our optimal gut health.

3. Kombucha: Is an effervescent fermentation of black tea that is started by using a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Originating in Japan, Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years. Kombucha is highly rich in enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, bacterial and amino acids, it’s primary health benefit is as a digestive support. Twin brothers Padraig & Adrian Hyde from Cork make HOLO kombucha which is certified organic and a great alternative soft drink.

4. Yogurt: You’ve probably heard natural yoghurt is a good source of probiotics. Readily available, most will have included it in their diet at some stage but we are particularly keen on sheep’ milk yoghurt from Velvet Cloud in Co. Mayo, the sheep are grass fed and the Flanagans only use two ingredients in the production; fresh sheep’s milk from their flock of Friesland and Lacaune ewes and live yogurt cultures. The result is mild and creamy and because of the unique properties of sheep’s milk, it suits many with digestive challenges or who are allergic to cow’s milk.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar: Considered a prebiotic -- not to be confused with probiotics, such as yogurt, which are sources of those friendly bacteria. Prebiotics are a source of food for beneficial bacteria, helping maintain the population of these bacteria in your gut and keeping your digestive system healthy. Made with “mother” (a colony of beneficial bacteria, similar to a Kombucha SCOBY), we stock unrefined, unpasteurized and unfiltered Llewellyn’s Irish Apple Cider Vinegar

6. Bone Broth: Easily digested and soothing to the digestive system, studies have shown the gelatin in bone broth is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities helping with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, and supporting healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract. We sell a huge amount Sadie’s Kitchen Bone Broth each week to customers who attest to the benefits.

7. Raw Milk: Many argue the anti-microbial and immune-enhancing components of milk are greatly reduced in effectiveness by pasteurisation. Ireland has seen a growth in the demand for raw milk which some find easier to digest than the commercially pasteurised and homogenised version. We stock the wonderful creamy Jersey milk from Limerick organic farmer John Liston of Dysert Farm. Straight from the cow, not processed, pasteurised or homogenised we know it won't be to everyone’s taste but we're of the opinion that it tastes exactly as milk should creamy & rich.

If this has piqued your interest, we can reccommned some further reading here:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/psychobiotics-could-be-used-to-treat-depression-and-available-within-five-years-382747.html

http://apc.ucc.ie/research-2/apc-research-themes/brain-gut-microbiota-axis/

http://time.com/4801842/probiotics-mood-depression-ibs/

Here’s to your happy gut & a happy you!

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