(NaturalNews) Today there's a supplement for everything. And while supplementation has its place in natural healing, it's important not to forget that real healing can - and should - come from whole foods, too. Probiotic foods in particular offer an important key to health. They are valuable for protecting the body against invaders and they also help us assimilate the nutrients we eat. Probiotic foods have been a staple in cultures throughout the world for century upon century. This not only made storing certain foods easier (before refrigeration and preservatives were invented), but fermentation and culturing also bestowed a new level of nutritional value on these foods. Today we can take advantage of these methods by adding more probiotic foods to our diets.
Here are four foods that offer loads of probiotic power in every bite:
Sauerkraut is a familiar and simple probiotic food. Quality store bought sauerkraut can be found, but you need to make sure it is raw (unheated) so the probiotic cultures are preserved. However, sauerkraut is also incredibly simple to make at home. Shredded organic cabbage and sea salt is enough to do the trick, but you can also add whey to encourage lacto-fermentation or onions and spices to change the flavor up a bit.
2. Kefir Water
Not to be confused with dairy kefir, this kefir drink requires no dairy or milk at all. It can be made at home very easily, and only needs to culture for 24-48 hours. The result is something like sparkling water or juice, tangy and sweet all at the same time. You start with water kefir grains, organic sugar (to feed the grains) and organic fruit or juice to flavor. Most people will find these drinks enjoyable, and kefir water can be especially useful as a replacement for conventional juices and sodas for adults and children alike.
Another delectable fermented beverage, kombucha is made by fermented organic black tea with sugar and a scoby (also known as the kombucha mother or mushroom). Kombucha typically takes longer than kefir water to ferment, but the result is a beverage so nutritious it can be called medicinal. Many people rave about the detoxification benefits of drinking kombucha every day. Kombucha can also be purchased at health food stores in a variety of flavors, but of course making it at home is much more economic.
4. Fermented Soy
There are two sides of the coin when it comes to soy. Processed soy products, soybean oil, and any soy that has not been fermented are not healthful and may actually cause damage to your thyroid, digestion and hormone levels. However, on the flip side, fermented soy in moderate amounts can actually be quite healthy, providing protein, vitamins and minerals in addition to natural probiotics. Fermented soy foods includes miso, tempeh and fermented soy sauce.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welcome.html
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