The Health Benefits of Fermentation
Fermented foods offer a lot of health benefits, but unfortunately have disappeared from our diets over the past decades. In an effort to extend the shelf life of foods, milk and yogurt are mostly pasteurized, and vinegar-based pickles and sauerkraut have replaced fermented versions. Too many of today’s foods are created in labs and offer little nutrition.
Fermenting foods means converting the food’s carbohydrates into lactic acid. This process will preserve the food and also create beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics. Fermentation will also preserve the nutrients in the food and break the food down into a more digestible form.
The connection between eating fermented foods and improved digestion is well-documented. Cultures around the world have been eating ferment foods for centuries, from sauerkraut in Germany to kimchi in Korea.
The idea of replacing the good bacteria in our gut may not occur to many people, but anyone on a long round of antibiotics or chemotherapy will have little good bacteria left in their digestive systems. Fermented foods are an excellent way to replenish that good bacteria. Many people suffer from lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, constipation, yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies…these conditions have all been linked to a lack of good bacteria in the gut. Consuming the healthy bacteria found in fermented foods can restore and balance the flora in your gut and this leads to better vitamin and nutrient absorption.
If the idea of fermentation is daunting to you, the recipe for sauerkraut posted on our blog is ridiculously simple and a good place to start. And it will taste better than any sauerkraut you’ve ever purchased in a store. Good luck!