Well apparently, they’re kind of freeeeaking awesome for you and your gut.
It's not new, it a resurgence from the dawn of time (well almost), our ancient ancestors were all over it - but that was out of a basic need to preserve food without refrigeration. They had it right back then, but over the decades we thought we knew better... turns out we didn't. We REALLY didn't. In fact, our food has turned toxic with the advancement of technology. But now it is back - not that it ever went anywhere, but back in the mainstream and it's uber groovy to delve back into the ancient technique of fermenting. And with good reason!
Fermenting is the process of turning the carbohydrates and sugars in foods (using microorganisms) into compounds like lactic acid—that’s the delish tangy stuff that gives fermented foods their distinctive taste. This process unleashes a probiotic powerhouse boosting levels of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and gut. This positive balance of the body's collective bacterial community has been shown to aid digestion, increase immunity, prevent disease, and - according to some preliminary studies - reduce blood pressure and keep you slim. WHAAAAAT? Did that just say 'keep me slim'? Start the car!! Now where can I buy fermenting jars STAT?! Apparently the potency of the nutrients in the food are also enhanced during the fermenting process too. Double banger!
Not only that it has a whole host of other benefits and makes you wonder why we ever ditched this fermenting business!
- Increases the overall vitamin and mineral levels
- Aids to curb carbohydrate and sugar cravings
- Helps remove toxins from the body
- Aids the body’s natural detoxification process
- Improves bowel health
Increases the digestibility of the foods by neutralising plant toxins
- Fermenting nuts, seeds and/or grains greatly reduces anti-nutrients, lectins, gluten and phytates
- It creates B Vitamins and K2
- Aids digestion so you can absorb food better
- Helps balance the production of stomach acid
- Helps the body produce acetylcholine (which acts as a potent digestive aid, reduces constipation, improves the release of digestive juices and enzymes from the stomach, the pancreas and gallbladder)
- Fights candida, bad pathogens and harmful bacteria
So it seems there is nothing that fermented foods can’t do! Every hipster and his dog seem to be onto it.
Here is how you can get some in your life… you may even be into one of these and have no idea how good it is for you.
Kombucha – Fermented beverage of black tea and sugar which becomes carbonated throughout the fermenting process.
SauerKraut - Sauerkraut is one of the oldest traditional foods. Made from fermented cabbage, it’s high in dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and B vitamins.
Kefir - Kefir is a fermented milk product (cow, goat or sheep milk) that tastes like a drinkable yogurt.
Pickles - Pickles contain a ton and vitamins and minerals, plus antioxidants and gut-friendly bacteria
Miso - Miso is created by fermenting soybean, barley or brown rice with koji, a fungus.
Tempeh - Another beneficial fermented food is tempeh, which is a soybean product that is created by adding a tempeh starter (which is a mix of live mold). When it sits for a day or two, it becomes a cake-like product.
Natto – A popular dish in Japan consisting of fermented soybeans
Kimchi - Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish that is made from vegetables including cabbage, plus spices and seasoning. This Korean delicacy dates back to the 7th century.
Raw Cheese - Raw milk cheeses are made with milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. Goat milk, sheep milk and A2 cows soft cheeses are particularly high in probiotics
If you don't have time to ferment yourself or you just can't be bothered - there are lots of store bought fermenting options for you. Ask at your local health food store which ones are best and made from live cultures. Avoid labels which say 'pasteurised' as this process wipes out the cultures you need to help fortify your gut.