Fermented Foods Help to Fight the Flu – This is How!

fermented foods

With up to 80% of the human immune system housed in the digestive tract, taking care of your gut is an essential part of staying healthy this winter. As temperatures drop and flu-season approaches, those looking to give their immune system a natural pick-me-up can opt for fermented foods and beverages (such as kimchi and kombucha) to boost their immunity.

When you eat too much processed food, drink alcohol in excess, or don’t get enough exercise, the microbiome in your gut deteriorates, which means your body has less protection against illnesses. “There are a ton of different factors that influence the type and number of bacteria we have in our gut. Diet is one of the key ways to restore balance and stay healthy,” says Alex Glenday, Director at Brew Kombucha, South Africa’s first producer of certified organic rooibos tea kombucha.

Foods and beverages that go through a natural fermentation process, like kombucha, tempeh, sauerkraut, and certain yoghurts, gain probiotic properties. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that play an essential role in digesting food and helping to absorb and synthesise nutrients. Beyond the gut, they also assist with metabolic and immune function.

“As a beverage, kombucha has additional benefits because it keeps you hydrated and provides electrolytes, as well as vitamins B and C. It can also help with relieving uncomfortable conditions like diarrhoea or a bloated stomach. It’s also a tasty alternative to alcohol, for those looking to cut back or cut out,” says Glenday.

When you are picking a kombucha to stock up on over the winter, look out for one that is raw instead of pasteurised, because this process can destroy all the live bacteria and remove the main health benefits from the drink, advises Glenday. “Additionally, the darker the bottle, the better. When probiotics are exposed to light for a long period of time, they are damaged. This impacts the gut health benefits of the kombucha.”

Launched this Autumn, Brew Kombucha’s new flavour variant – Ginger Lemon – adds an extra kick to the traditional kombucha mix. “Ginger is known for soothing the digestive tract and providing antioxidants, while lemon is great source of Vitamin C. We’ve combined the health benefits of these ingredients with the immune-boosting qualities of kombucha to create a delicious new flavour – just in time for winter,” says Glenday.

Brew Kombucha is available at selected stores nationwide, including Wellness Warehouse, Spar, Food Lovers Market, and a number of health shops nationwide. In 2020, Brew won a number of awards at the International Aurora Taste Challenge, including double gold for their buchu-flavoured kombucha, gold for their floral African rose flavour, and silver for their original rooibos flavoured kombucha. 

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