LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Do you know the status of your gut health? Do you secretly struggle with digestive issues? If so, you are not alone. There may be a solution for you through fermented foods.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences wants everyone to know more people struggle with these problems than talked about.
The good thing is there are possible solutions to all your tummy woes.
“There's always the next greatest thing that people want to use to try and lose weight. This isn't really about losing weight,” said Tonya Johnson, Director of Nutrition at UAMS.
It’s more than just another quick fix or fad.
“This has become popular in the last decade or so,” said David Rath, a Registered Dietitian with more than 20 years of experience. He operates David Rath Nutrition in Little Rock.
Recent research shows there may be a new health advantage to eating fermented foods and incorporating probiotics into your diet. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast found in options like yogurt, kefir, pickles, and much more.
“If you just add small amounts throughout the week, then you can get those benefits and they build up over time,” said Johnson.
“Within the last couple of years, we've found out more about what's called the microbiome. It's the bacteria you have in your gut,” said Rath.
He suggests sauerkraut and yogurt for his patients to help with diarrhea and digestive infections. It may also help with chronic diseases and weight control. But that research is still being confirmed, so knowing the status of your gut health is important.
“Yogurt has live and active bacteria, that's what you want to look for. If it’s not living, it's not going to help,” said Rath.
Johnson said cancer patients at UAMS have found fermented foods increase gut motility. She thinks history speaks for itself.
“It may seem like something that is new to people because they've just not heard about the process. But sauerkraut, wine, and beer have been around for years,” she said.
Barbara Warren has Auto Immune Disorder, which increases her risks of infection. She saw great improvement from adding fermented foods and probiotics to her diet.
"I'm not opposed to taking medications, but if I can take something that is naturally grown or that just happens in the world regularly, to me there's a huge benefit to that,” said Warren.
Fermented foods are easier to digest because they've already been broken down.
UAMS adds that if you are immune compromised, have an existing condition, or chronic disease to check with your doctor first before considering this diet change or taking supplements of any kind.