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Do It For The Culture: How Fermented Foods Can Heal Your Gut

Gut function is a pretty complex process when you really think about it. Typically food is broken down in your digestive system over the course of 12 to 48 hours. As the food is broken down, the nutrients and minerals make their way to different systems and organs in the body in order to support healthy functions.

Weird to think that your small intestine is 11 feet long, but it’s true! Most nutrients and water are absorbed through that organ, keeping your body hydrated, regulating your bowels, and even having an impact on hormones, and levels of stress.   

Boosting prebiotics and probiotics in your gut can help keep it healthy. Strengthening the lining of your intestinal walls and ensuring you have healthy villi (which are like little sensors lining your small intestine) will help keep things moving along the 11-foot road. 

Probiotics promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Good bacteria in your body are needed for the healthy functioning of the digestive system, which directly benefits other systems and organs. When you have a healthy gut, you also have a healthy immune system, allowing you to fend off additional bacteria and viruses that you may be exposed to. 

You can take probiotic supplements, but there are also so many delicious ways to get more good bacteria into your gut. 

Fermented, or cultured foods are one of the best ways to get extra flavor and happy gut helpers into your body. Beverages like kombucha and other fermented teas are low in sugar, but super high in probiotic content. Fermented veggies like sauerkraut and kimchi pack a powerful punch of probiotics. Even pickled carrots, garlic, onions, ginger, and other plant-based items can give your body a solid probiotic boost. Yes, pickles are powerful!

Miso also includes cultured probiotics and has the added benefit of being pretty filling, widely available, versatile and inexpensive. You can get really creative and add to salad dressings, roasted veggies, and of course soups! 

Yogurt has long been a source of probiotic content. I would recommend going for yogurts with low sugar content. And if you don’t eat dairy, there are a lot of non-dairy, cultured yogurt alternatives. I think my favorite is coconut yogurt!

Prebiotics are sources of nutrients that feed the probiotics, or good bacteria. Keeping the good bacteria in your gut healthy and active requires “feeding” them the prebiotic sources to keep them happy. Prebiotics are typically carbohydrates that are full of fiber, such as leafy greens, apples, beans, onions, garlic, spinach, and cabbage. 

Getting in probiotics is great, but you also want to be sure that your newly ingested good bacteria is being supported and kept healthy by prebiotic fibrous, food sources.

To get access to even more valuable wellness info, tips + tricks, you should seriously consider my Yoga Prehab™ Membership, where everything is focused on optimal health, well being, and mobility. The easiest, least expensive way to start living pain-free and healthier – today!

Cuckoo for Coconut Water

You’ve probably seen various brands of coconut water in the grocery store, gas station, health food store, the neighborhood bodega – it’s basically everywhere. 

And for good reason! Coconut water is full of potassium and magnesium, both of which are vital nutrients for healthy organ function and useful in supporting muscle recovery and lubricating your joints effectively. Truly, the perfect workout drink!

When you’re sweating and exercising, you want to be replacing electrolytes into your body. Through sweating and activity, your body utilizes and sweats out certain important nutrients. To aid in recovery and to combat potential fatigue, refueling those electrolytes is super important. 

Potassium and magnesium are excellent for muscle recovery and combatting fatigue after some serious exercise. Sodium, still an important electrolyte, can also be found in coconut water, although not in as high of an amount as other electrolyte beverages. 

And unlike other popular sports drinks and electrolyte beverages, coconut water isn’t loaded with tons of sugars, dyes, or excess ingredients. Oftentimes those sports drinks have extra carbs, calories, and sugars that you just don’t need. Of all the electrolyte-filled beverage options on the market, coconut water is for sure the healthiest. Keep it simple with coconut water and give your body only what it really needs. 

In addition to being a great drink during and after workouts, I actually love coconut water in smoothies as well, as it gives an extra boost of magnesium and potassium while keeping the flavor the same. Sometimes adding milk substitutes like almond milk and oat milk, among others can make a smoothie feel heavy or dense, whereas coconut water keeps it really light, refreshing, and hydrating. Sometimes that super creamy smoothie is what you’re craving, other times maybe you’re in the mood for something lighter. In those instances, coconut water does the trick!

I have a habit of drinking a ton of coconut water when I’m in Tulum, MX to help beat the heat and recharge from time working out or time in the sun. 

For skincare, coconut and coconut water is definitely trending as an active ingredient. One creative tip for hydrating your face with coconut is to utilize it as a facial spray, especially in hot and humid weather. You can refrigerate a tiny spray bottle, being sure to refresh the coconut water and clean the bottle every 7-10 days. 

Coconut water is now super accessible, great for replenishing electrolytes lost through sweating, and packed with potassium and magnesium for joint protection and muscle recovery!

Try out my favorite Muscle Recovery Smoothie:

1/2 an avocado from Mexico

1 cup fresh pineapple (frozen works too)

1/2 medium banana

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 cup coconut water

3–4 ice cubes

  • Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Interested in even more wellness wisdom? Consider joining the Yoga Prehab™ tribe to enhance your flexibility, save your joints, and get comfortable! My unique combination of Physical Therapy-Based Yoga, Body-Saving Solutions, and HIIT is designed to help heal aches and pains, and get you living your most comfortable, adventurous life!

Why You Should Make Pineapple and Papaya Your New BFF’s

Papaya and pineapple – aside from their notoriously tropical flavors, what’s the deal with these fruits? 

One of the reasons these fruits are super-powered for human health is due to their enzymatic content. Naturally occurring enzymes in these fruits get to work in your digestive systems by helping breakdown food effectively and moving food through your digestive system. 

Think about it as the enzymes infusing your body with a little extra “cleaning power” – helping efficiently separate nutrients from waste, putting the good stuff to work, and then motoring that waste right on out of your body. Helpful, right?

Pineapple contains the digestive enzyme bromelain which assists in breaking down proteins that you ingest and helps put them to good use as fuel for your body. Bromelain also helps sift out amino acids, which are useful for muscle growth and recovery as well as being essential for normal organ function. Helping your body break down and actually absorb the proteins is a huge benefit of digestive enzymes. 

The caricain enzyme in papaya has been found to be effective in breaking down gluten, making it potentially useful if you find yourself sensitive to gluten. The papain enzyme in papaya supports human tissue growth and naturally helps protects tissue and muscle fibers within the body. 

Papaya has a ton of fiber – also great for healthy and regular digestive function – as well as folate, and important B vitamin that supports the metabolic process, cell growth, and cell regeneration. In this way, joint health and tissue protection make papaya a great ingredient to consume for joint and muscle comfort and recovery, especially if you are maintaining an active exercise and mobility schedule. 

 In Thai cuisine, green papaya salad is a culinary staple. The green papaya is actually just an unripened papaya – still light green in color, not yet ripened and bright orange. The green or unripe papaya is actually even better for your digestion and even more full of enzymes. Papaya salad is usually consumed on an empty stomach or at the very beginning of a meal for maximum benefit! Still, a fully ripened papaya will still contain all of the excellent enzymes, but with a different texture and flavor. Ripened papaya you will find to be sweeter and softer than green papaya. 

Papaya enzymes are even becoming increasingly popular in skincare in mask form, as the enzymes work to exfoliate and clear away dead skin. Not only do these papaya infused masks gently scrub your pores and skin clean, they also smell amazing!

Papaya and pineapple are also chock full of vitamin C, helping boost and protect your immune system. Easy to incorporate into smoothies or as a post-workout snack, I highly recommend these powerful fruits to anyone in need of digestion support, joint protection, or extra vitamin C!

Share your preferred pineapple and papaya recipes with me on Instagram

And if you’re looking for a longer-term solution to your daily aches and pains, look no further! Yoga Prehab™ is a proven combination of Physical Therapy-Based Yoga, Body-Saving Solutions, and HIIT created to help your body heal, get fit, and prevent potential injuries.