A wide body of evidence has demonstrated that diet shapes the gut microbiome, which we now know can affect the immune system and other health measures. According to a proof-of-concept study in Cell, one way we can give our microbiome a boost is to feed it more not-so-fresh foods—like these overnight oats below.
After analyzing blood and stool samples of 36 healthy adult participants, Stanford School of Medicine researchers discovered that a 10-week diet high in fermented foods including yogurt, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut boosts microbiome diversity and decreases markers of inflammation suggesting improved immune status.
Fermentation is an anaerobic process in which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down food components (e.g., sugars such as glucose) into other products (e.g., organic acids or alcohol). Historically, this has been used to extend shelf-life of items like vegetables and dairy.
It still remains to be determined what is the sweet spot for daily fermented food intake concerning microbiome health and if certain options (i.e., kefir versus yogurt; miso versus sauerkraut) are more powerful than others, but it appears rising and dining on these make-ahead overnight oats is good for the gut.
1 T honey
1 t ground turmeric
¼ t ground ginger
¼ t ground cardamom
¼ t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
1 ½ C plain kefir
1 1/3 C rolled oats
1/4 C ground flax
1 C chopped mango
2 T coconut flakes or chips
2 T unsalted shelled pistachios
In a medium bowl, combine the honey, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and salt. Add 2 tablespoons boiled water and stir to dissolve honey. Stir in kefir. Place 2/3 cup oats and 2 tablespoons flax in each of two wide-mouth jars or cereal bowls. Add half the kefir mixture to each jar or bowl and stir until all the oats are moist. Seal jar shut or cover bowl and chill overnight. In the morning, top with mango, coconut and pistachios. Makes two servings.
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