Fermented Foods for Better Health
Reasons Why Your Guts Need Fermented Foods
Fermented foods have been around for thousands of years but only to more recent times are gaining more attention. Fermented foods go through a process called lacto-fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch to produce lactic acid. Through this process, the food is preserved and creates beneficial enzymes, Vitamin B, Omega 3 fatty acids and mixed strains of probiotics. It is not only a means of preserving food but also a way to promote its healthy properties to maintain the gut health. Research has shown that the probiotics in fermented foods can help power up the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract producing antibodies to pathogens.
Fermented foods taste great and it’s important to include these foods into your diet for the following reasons:
- Natural Probiotics. Probiotics during the fermentation are also known to be good bacteria. Eating or drinking fermented foods like Kefir and Kombucha helps by balancing out the bacteria levels in your gut and keeps away the bad bacteria from invading the gut and growing. Bad bacteria thrives when you consume processed food and will eliminate harmful toxins that can cause digestive problems and can trigger food allergies. These natural probiotics can slow down or reverse some diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation, GERD and acid reflux. Its health benefits include good digestion, improved immunity and improved bowel movement.
- Absorbs Food Well. A proper balance of the good bacteria and enough digestive enzymes in the gut can better absorb nutrients in the food you eat. It must go together with a whole food diet; this helps your body absorb as many nutrients from the food you’re eating.
- Easy on the Budget. Most of the time, we spend too much on food to satisfy our cravings (because often we are eating foods that are devoid of nutrients such as processed foods). With fermented foods, you can easily make your own meal without hurting the monthly food budget; it is inexpensive to buy and so easy to make at home. Incorporate fermented foods to your everyday meals and enjoy long lasting health benefits.
Here are fermented foods you can easily make at home:
- Live culture pickles, sauerkraut, vegetables and kimchi.
- Cheese made from raw milk.Unpasteurised miso (not heated)
- Tempeh made from fermented soybeans
- Fermented drinks and tea such as kombucha
- Yogurt and kefir made with live cultures
- Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans
- Store for Longer Periods. The best thing about fermented foods is its ability to stay for longer periods of time without losing the vital nutrients, it can even go for months when you make fermented homemade salsa, sauerkraut, pickles, beets and garden salads.
- Raw and unpasteurised. Pasteurisation process can wipe out cultures needed to help fortify the gut. Go ahead and make your own sauerkraut or kefir to preserve its freshness and health benefits when eaten raw and unpasteurised.
Fermented Food Facts and Tips
- Fermented foods must be kept in a cool, dark place to help live organisms thrive.
- Always check the label, it must be marked “fermented”.
- Choose organic, non-GMO products and it must be locally farmed.
- Start with small servings, ½ cup of fermented foods is recommended for starters and then gradually increase to a cup.
- Choose non-pickled and unpasteurised fermented foods.
- Add a spoonful or two of fermented kale powder or fermented grass powder to your morning smoothie.
- Toss fermented veggies into salads and enjoy it as snack or as a side dish.
Try a Variety of Fermented Organic Veggies and Fruits
The sky’s the limit when we talk about fermented foods, so here’s a few recommendations of fermented foods which you can try at home on a daily basis:
- Go for fermented tomatoes, onions, kale, green beans, radishes, beets and sauerkraut.
- Fermented condiments such as ketchup, chutney, salsa and relish.
- Dairy eaters may try fermented yogurts, cultured buttermilk and some cheese. Non dairy eaters can have fermented yogurts with coconut milk as alternative.
- Also try natto, miso, tempeh, tofu and soy sauce.
Have you ever tried incorporating fermented foods into your diet? How was it? Feel free to share with us your favourite fermented foods.