A regular part of the American diet is processed food and many people regularly take antibiotics, which aren’t great for our gut health. These two things break down bacteria in our gut. Since you mostly won’t stop grabbing a snack from the vending machine, ordering fast food or heading to the pharmacy, we need a way to replenish the bacteria these things destroy.
Michalea Gale, a dietician at Medstar Harbor Hospital, says eating or drinking fermented foods are a great way to replenish that bacteria. There are tons of fermented foods out there, like kim-chi, yogurt or kombucha.
So we went to Wild Kombucha in Northwest Baltimore to see how they create their kombucha. “We make tea, we use fair trade organic gunpowder green tea just like you would on a stove at home and then we ferment it with a symbiotic culture of bacteria in yeast known as a scoby for about two weeks then at the end of that you have the base of our kombucha,” said Sid Sharma, the co-founder of Wild Kombucha.
Once the base is made, that’s when they add their flavors using organic juices, so no chemicals or added sugar.
“In this one there’s ginger juice and grapefruit juice and that’s it,” said Adam Bufano, the owner of Wild Kombucha. He added, “it’s super simple and straight forward.”
Bufano started making kombucha when he was just a child with his family. “We made all fermented stuff like sauerkraut and sour dough break. My family was super healthy, didn’t want to eat anything artificial.” That’s why he said he feels so strongly about the product they make.
“Our focus is really just bringing healthier alternatives to the market and trying to make our community,” said Sharma.
Gale said the most important thing when buying kombucha, or other fermented foods, is to look at the ingredients. “Number one make sure it contains live and active cultures,” said Gale. She added, “and take a look at sugar content. She said some drinks will add sugar to make them taste better and wind up having just as much sugar as a soda.
So how much of these probiotics do you need for your body? Gale said it’s different for every person.
“Everyone’s GI tract is very unique. It’s like our own DNA. It’s difficult to say what one person needs versus the other and this is why right now when you’re supplementing these things and find what works for you it’s a trial and error process,” said Gale.
She said prebiotics are just as important, since they fuel probiotics. She said, “all of our prebiotics are either fibers or non-digestible carbohydrates. This is found in whole fruits and vegetables.”
Gale said, ultimately, any foods that will be good for your overall health are also beneficial for your gut health.