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By Nancy Gossard
Wellness Editor 

Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Raw Sauerkraut For a Healthier Gut


Last updated 4/17/2019 at 10:47am

Our bodies need prebiotics, probiotics and a healthy microbiome. I like vegetables so much that I could eat only them and vegetables do have something that meat does not have naturally: Prebiotics.

From wiki:

Prebiotics: a substrate that is selectively used by a host microorganism to produce a health benefit.

Compounds that can be classified as prebiotics must also meet the following criteria:

• non-digestible and resistant to breakdown by stomach acid and enzymes in the human gastrointestinal tract

• selectively fermented by intestinal microorganisms

• selectively target and stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria

We need to nurture our microbiome and good gut bacteria. Microbiome is defined as the microorganisms in a particular environment (including the body or a part of the body). We depend on a vast army of microbes to stay alive: a microbiome that protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins.


Our guts have 100 trillion bacteria, most of them (at least among us Westerners) "good" bacteria. Unfortunately, those good bacteria are starving due to antibiotic use; antimicrobial cleaners; and our reliance on fast-food, simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, instead of adequate plant-based fiber.

It may sound counterintuitive that the hand sanitizer or kitchen soap with antimicrobials is bad for you, but if you have access to soap and water, they kill bacteria just as well and don't have a lingering effect on your health or the environment. (I am not condemning sanitizer outright. I have some and used it copiously to avoid catching scabies from a rescue/foster kitten.) That also suggests skipping the drive-thru, avoiding sugar, and limiting animal fats as a way to help heal your gut.

If you add a large amount of prebiotics to your diet in a short amount of time, you may experience bloating or increased gas from the fermentation. Prebiotics can be taken in pill form: cal-mag butyrate, inulin powder, or arabinogalactans.

Foods that have a lot of natural occurring prebiotics are:

• Allium vegetables such as garlic, onion, leeks, chives, and scallions are great choices. Add them to food raw for the best source of prebiotics.

• Apple cider vinegar (organic)

• Asparagus

• Avocado

• Carrots

• Cinnamon

• Dandelion greens are leafy green vegetables that are made up of 25% prebiotic fiber.

• Jicama (yacon), Jerusalem artichoke, and chicory root all contain inulin, a form of prebiotic fiber.

• Okra

• Potato skins

• Peas

• Radishes

• Soybeans

• Tomatoes

• Turmeric

• Whole-grain and sprouted-grain breads

• Wheat germ, whole wheat berries

If you put cinnamon or turmeric in your morning coffee and have a salad with avocado, tomato, and carrots topped with ACV for lunch you have fed your gut bacteria. Now we need to make sure we have enough of them. That's probitoics.

From Wiki:

Probiotics are live microorganisms intended to provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora...Live probiotic cultures are part of fermented dairy products, other fermented foods, and probiotic-fortified foods.

Some fermented products that contain lactic acid bacteria (LAB) include: vegetables such as pickled vegetables, kimchi, pao cai, and sauerkraut; soy products such as tempeh, miso, and soy sauce; and dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk.

More precisely, sauerkraut contains the bacteria Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus plantarum, Pediococcus pentosaceus, and Lactobacillus brevis, Leuconostoc citreum, Leuconostoc argentinum, Lactobacillus paraplantarum, Lactobacillus coryniformis, and Weissella sp.

Dr. Terry Wahls recommends adding a probiotic capsule to food you are fermenting or using the liquid from previously fermented food. Dr. Wahls is the author of The Wahls Protocol, How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine.

Trader Joe's sells a raw sauerkraut that could be used as a starter for your next batch. Or you could make it the old fashioned way and just use salt and water. Fermenting crocks make things easy, but I have seen recipes that just call for a jar. Here are some links to get you started.

Dr. Wahls


Fermentation Crock links: This is the most reasonably priced one I could find.

These are the most reasonably priced ones I could find.

Carrie's Killer Kraut from

1 32 Oz Mason jar

4 C grated Red Cabbage (any cabbage will work)

2 Large Carrots grated (about a cup)

2 green onions sliced

1/2 small red onion (about half a cup)

4 cloves of garlic minced

1/4 finely chopped parsley

1 heaping T minced ginger

1/4 finely chopped jalapeno or Serrano chile (optional)

Juice of 1 lime (about 2T)

1 T Himalayan salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl, pour the lime and salt on top. Then, with clean hands, scrunch everything together. Mix it really well to get those juices going. Then cover it with a towel and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour.

Huffington Post

Fill the mixture in your mason jar and mash it down. Keep pressing with either your hand, a large spoon or even a smaller jar. You want to push it down until you see juice. Ideally, you want the juice to cover the kraut. If it doesn't you can add a small bit of brine (salt water) to the mixture. Secure your lid and store on your counter, away from the sun. Check it in about 10 days. We like ours at 14 days but you can let it set for up to 30. When you get the taste you want, pop it in the fridge. That will stop the fermenting process.


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