Our hormones are greatly impacted by the health of our gut.
If our gut microbiome has been compromised by foods with preservatives, pesticides, and additives, then our digestion may not be up to par to absorb all the micronutrients we need for hormone regulation.
For example, leptin, the hormone that controls appetite and tells us when we are “full,” is impacted by the gut. A healthy colony of gut flora increases our sensitivity to leptin, helping us know when to stop eating.
Also, estrogen needs to be properly metabolized and eliminated from the body to prevent excess of this hormone, which can lead to symptoms like PMS, heavy bleeding, endometriosis, and fibroids. When the gut microbiome has enough healthy beneficial bacteria, digestion is improved and excess estrogen is properly eliminated.
What exactly is the gut microbiome?
The gut microbiome is the accumulation of microbes, fungi, bacteria, and even viruses that live in the human body, The more healthy bacteria (the probiotics) that are present in the intestines, the stronger our immune system becomes. This is because the good bacteria competes with the bad bacteria to survive. We can intentionally boost the good colony through incorporating fermented foods into our diet, regularly.
Sauerkraut and cultured vegetables, and drinks like kombucha and kefir, are all types of fermented foods. As foods ferment, healthy bacteria feed off the plant sugars and pre-digest these foods, giving you diverse strands of the “good” bacteria that strengthen your immune system, ward off sickness, and prevent leaky gut.
Probiotics not only help repair the lining of the intestines, but help you absorb more nutrients and fight infection. Probiotics provide a big immune system boost so you can have the energy and health to birth your dreams into reality, be a great mother or caregiver, create at work, and feel truly nourished.
Ancient cultures even fermented their food.
Sauerkraut, or the culturing of vegetables, is a practice known to have been used by many ancient cultures as a way to preserve fresh produce and enhance digestibility. Tribes that lived in climates with seasons could eat the cultured vegetables in colder months when winter made farming impossible. The ancient Greeks even called the process of fermenting “alchemy” as the lactic acid produced as a by-product from fermentation preserved fruits and vegetables and enhanced intestinal health from the accumulation of lactobacilli, what we know as healthy bacteria or probiotics.
I modern times, we see the art of fermentation in crafting beers, wine, and pickles. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and cultured vegetables are gaining popularity and are now sold in many health food stores as a way to promote a healthy gut microbiome.
It becomes easy! Once you get the hang of it…
If you want to start fermenting, it becomes easy after you practice. You can use just the basics: cabbage and salt, or add more herbs, spices, and vegetables. Once you shred the cabbage, you will add it to a bowl with salt and squeeze with your hands to break down the vegetable cellular wall. The massaged cabbage will then go into a clean jar with a lid and then you will wait for seven days. This waiting period is when the alchemical magic happens.
You can ferment all types of vegetables, and even add spicy peppers to make what is traditionally known as kimchi, a recipe originating in Korea.
My Sauerkraut recipe is simple but flavorful. I encourage you to practice! Making your own sauerkraut is a lot cheaper than purchasing it from the store. However, if you are short in time and need to buy it, look for a brand that says “live cultures” on the label. Some brands cook their sauerkraut, and cooking diminishes the living probiotics.
I would love to hear how it turns out for you! Comment below if you get stuck or have questions about this process.