Did you know that fermented foods provide many health benefits such as anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-atherosclerotic activity?
In the past, the beneficial effects of fermented foods on health were unknown, so people primarily used fermentation to preserve foods, enhance shelf life, and improve flavor. Fermented foods became an important part of the diet in many cultures, and over time fermentation has been associated with many health benefits. Because of this, the fermentation process and the resulting fermented products have recently attracted scientific interest. In addition, microorganisms contributing to the fermentation process have recently been associated with many health benefits, and so these microorganisms have become another focus of attention. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been some of the most studied microorganisms. During fermentation, these bacteria synthesize vitamins and minerals, produce biologically active peptides with enzymes such as proteinase and peptidase, and remove some non-nutrients. Compounds known as biologically active peptides, which are produced by the bacteria responsible for fermentation, are also well known for their health benefits. Among these peptides, conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) have a blood pressure lowering effect, exopolysaccharides exhibit prebiotic properties, bacteriocins show anti-microbial effects, sphingolipids have anti-carcinogenic and anti-microbial properties, and bioactive peptides exhibit anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, opioid antagonist, anti-allergenic, and blood pressure lowering effects. (1)
When working with a Functional Medicine doctor in the past, I was recommended to eat a large spoon of fermented foods daily. A single serving a day helped me have healthier gut bacteria. Fermented foods bolster the gut microbiome, creating a healthier mix of microbes and strengthening the walls of the intestines to keep them from leaking.
Zanini, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, often recommends two to three servings of fermented foods per day.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to food. Same dietary advice doesn't work for everyone, so listen to your body and choose food with caution.
Here are 8 fermented foods and drinks that have been shown to improve health and digestion:
Making your own fermented food is a plus. Google 'How to make fermented food at home' and you will learn a variety of recipes to get you started. Or maybe you have an older relative that can share with you a traditional recipe. Pick what works the best for you.
Here is my today's brunch with Ruby Sauerkraut from Hawthorne Valley. Organic cabbage, garlic, onion and bay leaves, wild fermented through a traditional process that preserves nutrients and vitamins, while creating rich probiotics and beneficial enzymes.
Smashed avocado on GF toast with (outdoor access) organic egg and sauerkraut. Yum!