Fermented foods are foods that have been preserved through a process of fermentation. In this process the natural bacteria feed on the sugars and starches in food, which results in lactic acid. The result of this process is longer lasting preserved foods that are high in beneficial enzymes, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and most importantly, different strains of probiotics. But why is this important for us?
The Benefits of Fermented Foods
There are a variety of different benefits to eating fermented foods. All of these benefits have to do with our microbiome. The microbiome is a word used to describe the colony of good bacteria that live in your gut. These bacteria help you digest food efficiently, getting the most nutrients and living your healthiest life.
Your microbiome helps regulate your immune system, it keeps your gastrointestinal tract healthy, boosts your mood, improves your brain function, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. And one of the best things you can do for your microbiome is eat fermented foods.
There are four main benefits of consuming fermented foods.
Fermented Foods include Probiotics – Your microbiome is a collection of good bacteria that live in your digestive system and help you s. The best thing you can do for this colony is help it reproduce by consuming probiotics. Fermented foods contain good bacteria and may be more effective than probiotic supplements. Make sure you read the label and look for the names of the probiotics in the food!
Better Nutrient Absorption– Fermented foods help you to maintain a good balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. These good bacteria, in turn, help you to absorb all the nutrients of your food. This can lead to increased overall health, raised immunity, and weight loss or maintenance.
Food Preservation – Fermented foods are also preserved foods, think pickles or sauerkraut. By fermenting your foods, you can make sure that your vegetables last for months, not days. This is especially beneficial if you are growing your own food!
Better for your Wallet – Because fermented foods will last longer than fresh vegetables, it makes sense that it also helps keep the grocery bill down! By preserving your fruits, veggies, and dairy, you can make your food last longer, and spend less on fresh vegetables at the grocery store each week.
Some of the Best Fermented Foods
Cultures all around the world eat fermented foods. From shrimp paste in Thailand, to yogurt in Europe, nearly every culture in the world has invented its own fermented food. Let’s take a look at some of the most delicious, and widely available, fermented foods from around the world.
Yogurt – Yogurt has long been popular in Europe and the United States. This is a fermented food made from dairy that often has a tangy taste. Make sure you read the labels and find yogurt with strains of probiotics. Many mainstream yogurts these days don’t have health benefits.
Kimchi – Made in Korea, kimchi is spicy fermented cabbage. In Korea, this tangy food is served as a side dish at every meal. Growing in popularity around the world, Kimchi has been shown to promote weight loss, combat cancer cells, and even fight depression.
Sauerkraut – This pickled cabbage dish originates from northern Europe. Whereas kimchi is spicy, Sauerkraut has a distinctive sour taste, and goes well as a topping on all sorts of different dishes.
The Takeaway on Fermented Foods
Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain better health, or just find a more adventurous topping for your sandwich or salad, fermented foods are worth adding to your diet. Next time you are in the grocery store, have a look out for natural fermented foods with good strains of probiotics.
Or, if you are particularly energetic, try making your own fermented foods at home! You’ll be feeling the health benefits in no time.
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