Marinated cabbage (sauerkraut) in glass jar

I’d like to again thank Dr. Neal Barnard for posting a guest blog with practical and informative information on gut health.

When you have healthy gut bacteria, there is not much room for the unhealthy ones to thrive. Conversely, if you do not have enough healthy gut bacteria, the unhealthy ones can take over. A loss of diversity in your gut environment can also reduce the presence of healthy bacteria. Influences that decrease this diversity are animal and dairy foods, processed foods, chemicals in food and water, and frequent reliance on antibiotics. I always say germs are my friends; I try to surround myself with healthy microbes in my food and environment. You can create a healthy gut environment by having prebiotics and probiotics.

Prebiotics are the fiber in your food. They act as food for probiotics to grow on. They also carry out toxins and maintain a healthy environment in your intestines. Probiotics are the microbial life that you continually supply through your food and environment. Probiotics are found in naturally pickled and fermented foods. Eating probiotics regularly nourishes and supports gut and overall health.

—Have a variety of grains, beans, vegetables and fruits
—Use organic foods as often as possible
—Consider installing or buying a high quality water filtration system (such as a Berkey filter) for cooking and drinking
—Have naturally pickled and fermented foods. The healthiest fermented foods are miso, sauerkraut and kimchi, umeboshi plums, naturally cured olives, and vinegar.
—Create a healthy home environment by bringing in natural materials and green plants
—Allow for plenty of sunshine and fresh air to circulate
—Garden and interact with healthy soil

—Avoid animal and dairy foods
—Avoid chemicalized or heavily processed foods
—Avoid sugars or artificial sweeteners
—Avoid reverse osmosis systems or buying distilled or artificially enhanced waters.
—Minimize or avoid the use of antibiotics
—Minimize or avoid use of antibacterial or toxic cleaning products