Did you know certain foods you may not expect can help you fight the flu and also colds?
You may have to add a few to your shopping list if you aren't familiar with these fermented foods recommended by dieticians. Some examples: yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles.
According to doctors were spoke with, fermented foods give our bodies healthy bacteria that's key to a healthy immune system.
It's all about keeping the system functioning in top shop and that's important because it turns out 80 percent of our immune system revolves around our intestines and that's how your get the good bacteria to outnumber the bugs.
You're probably familiar food like yogurt that contains live and active cultures. Doctors say it's key to make sure the label says 'live and active cultures' to get those disease fighting benefits.
Kefir, a cultured milk is also growing in popularity.
You also want to look for the word 'raw' on the label.
Kombucha, a fermented tea, is also growing among health enthusiasts and available at health food stores.
Health experts say other foods like fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and pickles are also beneficial, but looking at the label, again is key.
"Another key to those labels besides raw foods, are those vegetables that don't contain vinegar," said Cape Girardeau Holistic Nutritionist, Cheryl Mothes-Proulx.
She's started a business called FaithfullyFed to help others learn how to create menus with healthy, raw, natural foods.
"Most of the foods in regular stores are too pasturized or processed to really contain all of the health benefits," she said. "When they're adding vinegar and pasturizing it all that high heat actually destroys the good enzymes that we actually need."
Mothes-Proulx also recommends Miso and Tempeh.
"I use tempeh in almost every one of my recipes," she said.
Tempeh is a is a bean like cake that can be made with a single bean or a mixed combination of beans and grains.
"Raw cheese are also great. You really need to go to a health food store if you want the best and most nutritious varieties," she said. "It's also very easy to make your own you just have to be ready to wait for the foods to ferment so it takes a while and a commitment to get it going. But, it's still pretty easy to do."
"The problem with our diets today is that it doesn't have any of the good nutrient dense vitamins that we need," said Mothes-Proulx. "You can take all of these vitamins and supplements but if you're not absorbing them then you're wasting your money. When a food ferments it's makes the vitamins and nutrients more readily available. "
Nutritionist say even though it's the cold and flu season if your immune system is strong you won't get sick.
"Fermented foods are a power player to make sure that system is strong," said Mothes-Proulx. "I'm a proven example. For twenty-five years I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I've been sick. Fermented foods are a regular source in my diet. People just need to make a few small changes and before you know it it becomes a life style."
Nutritionist recommend starting slowly with one serving a day of fermented foods to make sure your digestive track can handle it.
However, we're told it doesn't take long to adjust if you're sensitive.
Doctors and health experts also suggest finding a local farms are a great way to find fresh, natural, raw, and unpasteurized milk and cheese products.
Check out these links for shopping lists and how to make your own fermented foods: