It might seem that fermented vegetables have come back in vogue recently, however they have been around for centuries and the health benefits of eating fermented foods are huge.
Eating fermented foods have been linked to boosting your immune system, easing digestive problems, improving chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue syndrome in addition to many other medical diagnoses.
The reason being is that it improves your ‘gut health’. Not a glamorous topic I know, but something that is imperative to our overall health and well-being.
Fermented foods contribute live ‘good’ microbes to the microbiome, in your gut. These microbes have a powerful effect on our bodies, but when they are out of balance they can contribute to the following conditions – intestinal and irritable bowel syndrome, immune diseases, as well as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
What is fermentation?
Fermentation is a metabolic process in which microorganisms such as yeast or bacteria convert organic compounds (carbohydrates – sugars and starches) into alcohol or acids.
Fermentation has many uses such as:-
- Preserves food – Extends the shelf life of foods e.g. pickled vegetables, cheese, salami and wine. This was commonplace, before the modern world of refrigeration.
- Improves your gut flora – there are many ‘good’ bacteria in fermented foods, so it is a great supply of adding microbes to the gut. Examples – yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and kombucha tea
- Increases micronutrients – Vitamin B levels are increased in some foods
- Easily digestible foods – e.g. the lactose in milk is broken down into a simpler sugar like glucose. This helps people who are lactose intolerant sable to eat yoghurt and cheese.
- Eliminates anti-nutrients – Natural compounds that interfere with the absorption of the nutrients can be destroyed by fermentation. Eg. Legumes and seeds contain phytic acid, which binds minerals such as iron and zinc, which reduces their absorption when eaten. Tempeh and miso are examples of fermented legumes.
The Best Of The Best
Sauerkraut, kimchi, dill pickles and other pickled vegetables are fermented using lactic acid fermentation, where the bacteria converts the sugars in the vegetables into lactic acid. The vegetables are mixed with salt, which stops the growth of unwanted organisms. When the fermentation is complete, the pickled vegetables are rich in beneficial microbes.
A carbonated, slightly alcoholic fermented milk drink that looks similar to runny yoghurt. Kefir is made using a lactobacilli bacterial culture and yeast.
Heated milk curdles during the lacto-fermentation process.
The lactose sugar in milk is converted by the lactobacilli bacteria into glucose and galactose, which further break down into lactic acid which gives the natural yoghurt it’s sour taste. Live bacteria stay in the yoghurt providing good bacteria for your gut flora.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeast and fungi that are found naturally in fermented foods. Studies have shown that they can improve digestion, help protect against disease and improve your immune system.
Easy Guide To Make Your Own Homemade Sauerkraut
I recently shared a recipe to make your own homemade sauerkraut in the Run Well – Eat Well – Be Well Club, you can get a sneak peek at the guide here - How To Make Your Own Sauerkraut.
If you are a woman who is healthy, loves to run, exercise, eat healthy food and knows the importance of developing a great mindset OR is ready to BE and DO all those things you’re going to LOVE what the ‘Run Well – Eat Well – Be Well’ Club has in store for you! For more info click here