Tis’ the season to put on comfy clothes, crank up the holiday tunes, and bake our peppermint hot chocolate kefir bread. Watch our recipe video here.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are “good” bacteria. They are live microorganisms similar to the ones already living in your gut and may offer health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. The word “probiotic” itself is often translated to “beneficial for life.” It is a derived from the Latin word “pro” meaning “for” and the Greek word “biotic” meaning “life.” With increasing research linking the correlation between probiotics, gut health, and immunity, it’s no secret that the integrity of our gut is vital to our health. Although additional factors such as stress, antibiotic usage, and individual health conditions can contribute to the condition of our gut, a focus on healthy food choices is one of the easiest ways to support the microbiome.
Several studies have shown a strong association between the gut-brain-microbiota. Probiotics introduced to the gut have been found to support immunity, improve allergies, and improve digestion. We’ve discussed before how our brain and gut communicate with each other. Scientists previously thought there was a one-way communication between the brain and the gut, but now realize that it’s a two-way line. Basically, your gut, which is comprised of millions of neurons called the enteric nervous system, is also talking back to your brain. On top of alerting your immune system to foreign invaders, digesting and absorbing nutrients, your gut also produces serotonin. In fact, about 90% of the serotonin in your body is produced by the cells in your gut.
Prebiotics + Probiotics = a Healthy You
Prebiotics are non-living, non-digestible carbohydrates naturally found in a variety of foods. Your body actually can’t digest prebiotics, so they’re what probiotics feed off of to remain actively working in your digestive system. They help the digestive system by promoting the growth of good bacteria. Prebiotics and probiotics work together in balance to make sure our digestive system stays on track and regular. Research has found that consuming a variety of prebiotic and probiotic food sources may improve your body’s natural functions, including both your immune and digestive system.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup Plain Whole Milk Kefir
- ½ cup cacao powder
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp each vanilla extract, peppermint extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup crushed peppermint sticks
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup melted white chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Grease a 9 x 5 inch bread pan with non-stick cooking spray or oil. Set it aside.
- In a medium bowl, add eggs, kefir, vanilla and peppermint extract, and coconut oil and mix until combined.
- In a large bowl, sift together the whole wheat pastry flour, cacao powder, baking soda, baking powder, coconut sugar and salt.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared bread pan. Fold in dark chocolate chips.
- Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely
- Drizzle melted white baking chocolate over loaves. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint.