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Fermented Foods Can Boost Immunity, Improve Gut Health, and Reduce Allergies

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  • Kefir Starter

    Kefir Starter

    Better Digestion, Boost Immunity

    Kefir has many benefits, including better digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It has been known for thousands of years for its anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties.

    Kefir is an ancient cultured food, rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Kefir means "feel good" in Turkish, and that's just how you'll feel after drinking a glass in the morning! Easy and fun to make at home, it is superior to commercial yogurt. An absolute must after antibiotic use!

    Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract and is simple and fun to make at home. To make kefir: Mix one packet with 1 quart of warm milk, cover and set at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

    Each packet yields 1 quart of kefir, and can be reused up to 7 times. This means you can create 10 ½ gallons of kefir from one box!

    • Digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates
    • Has anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties
    • Rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins
    • An absolute must after antibiotic use

In a study published in Immunobiology in 2006, researchers found that a probiotic beverage called kefir can decrease the allergic response. (1)

One out of 12 children in the United States has a food allergy.

Results from the study also suggest that kefir may control inflammation in the digestive system, which is one major hallmark of leaky gut and food allergies.

Other studies confirm that fermented foods—like kefir—can calm down an overactive immune system, dramatically reducing allergies. (2)(3)(4)

An allergy is your body’s way of communicating that your immune system is out of balance. During an allergic reaction, the immune system overreacts to a normally harmless substance in the environment, also known as an allergen.

Whether an allergic response takes place in the lungs, the skin, or the digestive tract, the signs of an allergic response include redness, swelling and pain, itchy skin, and a buildup of mucus.

Over the past several decades, the numbers of those affected by allergies have been climbing. One study found that 20%-30% of the Western population is affected by one allergy or another. (5)

Another study in Pediatrics published in 2011 found that one out of 12 children in the United States has a food allergy. (6) This translates into 6 million children.

Where Do Allergies Come From?

Excessive cleanliness may be to blame for childhood allergies and related disorders. You can boost your child's immunity to reduce allergies with friendly bacteria found in fermented foods!

According to the hygiene hypothesis, our cleanliness may be one way that allergies develop.

The hygiene hypothesis asserts that the less time children spend on the farm, in the mud, with siblings, and out of the city, the less contact they have with microbial bugs. (7)(8)

As it turns out, a diverse mix of microbes is extremely important to the developing immune system of a young child. Many of these microbes turn “on” the immune system’s ability to self-regulate. In other words, microbes from the environment keep the immune system from overreacting, turning “off” cues for inflammation and an allergic response. (9)

For example, one study found that when an expecting mother is exposed to a rich microbial environment (like a farm), her child is less likely to develop asthma and other allergies. (10)

These days, we see less microbial diversity and more allergies because of:

  1. Standard American Diet, which relies on refined and processed foods
  2. Antibiotic overuse
  3. Vaccinations
  4. Reduced household size (siblings are a great way to pass along germs)
  5. “Improved” hygiene

Experts tell us that these five factors have manipulated the digestive system and the immune system, throwing them both out of balance. (11)

Fermented Foods: The Strongest Probiotic

In order to restore this balance and support a healthy immune response, we suggest that you get reacquainted with the good microbes in your environment. One gentle way to do this is with fermented foods.

Fermented foods contain probiotic microbes that feed on the sugars naturally present in food. (12)(13)

As bacteria and yeast feed on the sugars around them, they release enzymes to break down large food particles. This means that fermented foods are predigested and full of enzymes. Predigested foods contain nutrients that are easy to absorb, meaning less work for your stomach and your small intestine.

Examples of fermented foods include:

Raw foods have a special therapeutic value in the body because raw foods contain active enzymes. When it comes to fully digesting a meal, enzymes are essential.

Heat destroys enzymes, making foods tougher to digest. For example, raw milk contains an enzyme that helps you digest milk sugars. Without this enzyme, when you drink pasteurized milk you may find that you are unable to digest milk and are lactose intolerant. Often, missing enzymes mean that the gut will become sensitive and inflamed.

Unfortunately, research shows that as early as 30 years old, your body stops making the enzymes that it needs. (14) In this context, raw and fermented foods are an important food group that many of us are missing from our diet.

How Fermented Foods Support the Immune System

When you eat fermented foods, you re-introduce beneficial microbes to the gastrointestinal tract—some of which you may have missed out on during your childhood.

Probiotic-rich foods are foods that are full of beneficial bacteria and yeast. They synthesize nutrients like biotin, folate, and vitamin K2. (15) These nutrients protect our cells from damage, nourish the brain, and support the skeletal system. Good bacteria actively fight harmful bacteria and produce specialized fats that control inflammation. (16)(17)

When it comes to allergies, fermented foods work in your favor.

This is because the probiotics in fermented foods work in concert with your immune system.  Studies show that beneficial microbes control outbreaks of allergic hypersensitivity and inflammation. (18)(19)

Making Your Own Fermented Vegetables at Home

When you decide to make a batch of fermented vegetables at home, be sure and use an airtight container that is either glass or stainless steel. Mason jars work beautifully for this purpose.

Ferment your shredded vegetables at room temperature—or 72°F —for at least three days. Depending on the fluctuations of temperature in your home, you may need to ferment your vegetables for up to a week. Be sure and taste them in order to check where they are at in the fermentation process.

When fermenting foods at home, we always suggest using a starter culture that contains specific strains of beneficial microbes. This prevents wild and pathogenic microbes from feeding on your vegetables as they ferment.

We also suggest feeding your starter culture with a prebiotic like EcoBloom.  A prebiotic nourishes the starter culture and gives your batch of fermented vegetables the edge that it needs to flourish. Be sure to encourage bacteria growth by adding a pinch of minerals and Celtic Sea Salt; good bacteria thrive in a mineral-rich environment.

How to Make Cultured Vegetables at Home

  1. Combine shredded vegetables in a large bowl. Good choices include cabbage, carrots, or kale.
  2. Remove several cups of this mixture and blend with enough filtered water to make a "brine." Add brine and activated starter culture back into the bowl with the shredded vegetables. Stir well.
  3. Pack mixed veggies down into a 1½ quart glass or stainless steel container. Use your fist, a wooden dowel, or a potato masher to pack veggies tightly.
  4. Fill container almost full, but leave about 2 inches of room at the top for veggies to expand.
  5. Roll up several cabbage leaves and place them on top to fill the remaining 2 inch space. Clamp jar closed.
  6. Let veggies sit at room temperature for at least three days. A week is even better. Refrigerate to slow down fermentation. Enjoy!

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Research has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that probiotics can help to reduce an allergic response in the body. A probiotic beverage called kefir can help to control digestive inflammation, which contributes to leaky gut and food allergies.

Other research supports fermented foods as a means to calm down an overactive immune system and reduce allergies. This research is especially helpful for the 6 million children in the US that suffer from food allergies. Unfortunately, allergies in today's children are even more prevalent because of processed foods, antibiotic overuse, vaccinations, and so-called improved hygiene.

Fermented foods are the strongest probiotic available to support a healthy immune system with beneficial bacteria.

Fermented foods can be found in raw fermented vegetables, fermented Spirulina, dairy kefir, and coconut water kefir. For help with chronic allergies, digestive distress, and weakened immunity, you can start making fermented vegetables at home in as little as three days. We recommend using a handy starter culture along with a prebiotic like EcoBloom to whip up your own fermented veggies thriving with friendly bacteria!

  • Veggie Culture Starter

    Veggie Culture Starter

    Resist Infections, Enhance Digestion

    • Ideal for appetite and weight control
    • Ideal for pregnant women
    • Ideal for children with Autism and ADD
    • Can be enjoyed daily
    • Easy to make at home
  • Super Spirulina Plus

    Super Spirulina Plus

    Detoxify and Support Cellular Health

    • A naturally fermented source of probiotics and bio-available superfoods
    • 100% fermented for increased bio-availability
    • A vegan, kosher, and Organic Certified product
    • Helps to detoxify your body, maintain a healthy weight, and boost energy
  • Kefir Starter

    Kefir Starter

    Better Digestion, Boost Immunity

    Kefir has many benefits, including better digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It has been known for thousands of years for its anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties.

    Kefir is an ancient cultured food, rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Kefir means "feel good" in Turkish, and that's just how you'll feel after drinking a glass in the morning! Easy and fun to make at home, it is superior to commercial yogurt. An absolute must after antibiotic use!

    Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract and is simple and fun to make at home. To make kefir: Mix one packet with 1 quart of warm milk, cover and set at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

    Each packet yields 1 quart of kefir, and can be reused up to 7 times. This means you can create 10 ½ gallons of kefir from one box!

    • Digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates
    • Has anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties
    • Rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins
    • An absolute must after antibiotic use
  • EcoBloom

    EcoBloom

    Feed Your Probiotics

    • Helps to enhance immunity
    • Food for the good bacteria in your gut
    • Helps fight constipation
    • Helps release stress
    • Helps improve liver function
  • Ancient Earth Minerals

    Ancient Earth Minerals

    Protect Yourself from Mineral Deficiencies

    • The highest quality blend of humic, fulvic, micro and macro minerals and amino acids
    • The only high quality mineral supplement of its kind that you can take in capsule form
    • Helps your body to nourish your thyroid and adrenals, detoxify, reduce the signs of aging, and build immunity
  • Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes

    Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes

    Break Down Food, Absorb Nutrients and Prevent Gas and Bloating

    • One of the most complete and powerful digestive enzymes available
    • Assures digestion of proteins over the entire pH range from 2.0 to 11.0
    • Fast-acting, high-potency enzyme formula
  • Celtic Sea Salt® (8 oz.)

    Celtic Sea Salt® (8 oz.)

    Healthy Gourmet Sea Salt with No Additives

    • Not processed in any way beyond drying and grinding
    • Subtler flavor than that of the coarser variety
    • Salt is fine-ground and perfect for baking!

REFERENCES:

  1. Vinderola, G., Perdigon, G., Duarte, J., Thangavel, D., Farnworth, E., & Matar, C. (2006). Effects of kefir fractions on innate immunity. Immunobiology, 211(3), 149-156.
  2. Adiloğlu, A. K., Gönülateş, N., Işler, M., & Senol, A. (2013). [The effect of kefir consumption on human immune system: a cytokine study]. Mikrobiyoloji bulteni, 47(2), 273-281.
  3. Lee, M. Y., Ahn, K. S., Kwon, O. K., Kim, M. J., Kim, M. K., Lee, I. Y., ... & Lee, H. K. (2007). Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects of kefir in a mouse asthma model. Immunobiology, 212(8), 647-654.
  4. Hong, W.-S., Chen, Y.-P. and Chen, M.-J. (2010), The Antiallergic Effect of Kefir Lactobacilli. Journal of Food Science, 75: H244–H253.
  5. AW Zuercher, et al. Food products and allergy development, prevention and treatment. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 2006; 17.
  6. Gupta, Ruchi S., et al. The Prevalence, Severity, and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States. Pediatrics 2011; peds.2011-0204.
  7. DP Strachan. Hay fever, hygiene, and household size. BMJ. 1989; 299: 1259–1260.
  8. J Riedler, et al. Exposure to farming in early life and development of asthma and allergy: a cross-sectional survey. Lancet. 2001; 358: 1129–1133.
  9. WG Shreffler, et al. Association of allergen-specific regulatory T cells with the onset of clinical tolerance to milk protein. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2009; 123: 43–52 e7.
  10. MJ Ege, et al. Prenatal farm exposure is related to the expression of receptors of the innate immunity and to atopic sensitization in school-age chil- dren. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2006; 117: 817–823.
  11. ZQ Toh, et al. Probiotic therapy as a novel approach for allergic disease. Front Pharmacol. 2012; 3: 171. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2012.00171. Epub 2012 Sep 21.
  12. Ge, S. J., & Zhang, L. X. Predigestion of soybean proteins with immobilized trypsin for infant formula. Applied biochemistry and biotechnology, 1993; 43(3), 199-209.
  13. Jiazhi, Z. Study on enzymatic modification of casein and process of formula milk powder [J]. Science and Technology of Food Industry, 1997; 2, 000.
  14. Laugier, R., Bernard, J. P., Berthezene, P., & Dupuy, P. Changes in pancreatic exocrine secretion with age: pancreatic exocrine secretion does decrease in the elderly. Digestion, 2009; 50(3-4), 202-211.
  15. O’Hara AM, Shanahan F. (2006) The gut flora as a forgotten organ. EMBO Rep, 7:688–93.
  16. L Macia, et al. Microbial influences on epithelial integrity and immune function as a basis for inflammatory diseases. Immunol. Rev. 2012; 245: 164–176.
  17. W Feleszko, et al. Probiotic-induced suppression of allergic sensitization and airway inflammation is associated with an increase of T regulatory-dependent mechanisms in a murine model of asthma. Clin. Exp. Allergy. 2007; 37: 498–505.
  18. YJ Yang, et al. Lactobacillus acidophilus ameliorates H. pylori-induced gastric inflammation by inactivating the Smad7 and NFkappaB pathways. BMC Microbiol. 2012; 12: 38. doi:10.1186/1471-2180- 12-38
  19. W Feleszko, et al. Probiotic-induced suppression of allergic sensitization and airway inflammation is associated with an increase of T regulatory-dependent mechanisms in a murine model of asthma. Clin. Exp. Allergy. 2007; 37: 498–505.

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

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