Fermented Foods... All you need to know!
Fermenting foods may sound daunting and strange to anyone who doesn’t know much about the benefits of this amazing technique, but let us fill you in on how every single one of us can benefit from introducing fermented food into our diet!
Firstly, what are fermented foods? Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process called lacto-fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food and creates beneficial enzymes, B Vitamins, Omega-3 Fatty Acids as well as various strains of probiotics (good bacteria).
Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve many of the nutrients in the food and helps to break it down into a more digestible form. When you add this to the abundance of good bacteria present in these foods, it leads to digestion becoming much improved and contributes to overall gut health.
Fermentation of foods is already widely used in many countries for example Kimchi in Korea or Sauerkraut in Germany, both of which are types of fermented cabbage traditionally eaten in those countries. However, with all the processing methods foods are put through in the modern world, we have lost many of the vital nutrients and probiotics present in naturally fermented foods for example pasteurised milk and yoghurt have replaced raw forms as well as vinegar-based pickles and sauerkraut replacing traditional lacto-fermented versions.
So what are the benefits of eating fermented foods? Besides the fact that they taste delicious, here are some of the reasons to get cracking on these foods!
- Probiotics– Eating fermented foods and drinking fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases such as cancer, improve bowel health, aid digestion, and improve immunity!
- Absorb Food Better– Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. Pair this with your healthy real food diet, and you will absorb many more nutrients from the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be absorbing more of the live nutrients in your foods.
- Budget Friendly– Incorporating healthy foods into your diet can get expensive, but not so with fermented foods. You can make your own whey at home for a couple of euro, and using that and sea salt, ferment many foods very inexpensively. Drinks like Water Kefir and Kombucha can be made at home also and cost only cents per serving. Adding these things to your diet can also cut down on the number of supplements you need, helping the budget further.
- Preserves Food Easily– Fermented versions of foods last months in the fridge! This goes for sauerkraut, pickles, beets and other garden foods. Lacto-fermentation allows you to store these foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients like you would with traditional canning.
The field of probiotics and gut health is constantly advancing and the link between them and overall health is becoming more evident through trials and research, so now is a better time than ever to start investing in your gut health!
Sally & Ola