It’s very recent that fermented foods have begun to disappear from our plate. Modern pickles and sauerkraut are made with vinegar instead of the traditional method of lactose-fermentation using salt. Bread and pasta are made with commercial yeast instead of being naturally leavened with wild yeast (sourdough). Wine, beer and cheeses are being pasteurized — killing off all the good bacteria we so desperately need to maintain health.
But there are many advantages to going back to the traditional ways of our ancestors, and eating more fermented foods.
10 Reasons Fermented Foods Are Good For Us
Beneficial bacteria provide enzymes which aid in digestion
Fermented foods are rich in enzymes that assist us in assimilating our food. Most foods require a specific enzyme to “unlock” their nutritional potential, so these enzymes are essential. Take milk for example – it contains the sugar lactose and we need the enzyme lactase in order to assimilate lactose. By culturing that milk into a variety of products, such as yogurt or kefir, those enzymes proliferate and thus the food is easier for us to digest.
Fermenting food actually increases the vitamin content
Fermented dairy products show an increased level of folic acid which is critical to producing healthy babies as well as pyroxidine, B vitamins, riboflavin and biotin depending on the strains of bacteria present.
Boosting your immunity
Eating fermented foods help to boost your immune system. You are less likely to get sick when fermented items are part of your regular diet. Just a little dose of sauerkraut or kombucha can work wonders to keep you feeling well all year long! Many fermented foods have also been known to decrease allergic responses!
Fermented foods are better than supplements
Probiotic supplements usually focus on one or two strains of bacteria, which is helpful for treating specific issues (a fungus such as ringworm or a Group B-strep in pregnancy, for example), but at times it can be problematic. For overall health, it is best to get the beneficial bacteria from foods rather than supplements because there will be a variety of different strains – and the more diverse the strains, the better for balancing the gut’s bacterial colonies.
Fermented foods restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut
Do you suffer from lactose intolerance? Gluten intolerance? Constipation? Irritable bowel syndrome? Yeast infections? Allergies? Asthma? All of these conditions have been linked to a lack of good bacteria in the gut.
It is becoming increasingly clear that a healthy bacterial microflora is essential to health and well-being. The bacteria in our intestines exist in complex communities that help us digest food and assimilate nutrients, synthesize essential nutrients for us, and regulate our immune responses and many other aspects of our functionality.
Fermented foods promote dental health
Cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and halitosis (bad breath) are all caused by the proliferation of harmful bacteria in our mouths. By eating fermented foods rich in lactic acid bacteria and other beneficial bacterias. This also falls in line with the belief that good dental health starts with good overall diet and health – that is, teeth are made strong from the inside. Obviously, brushing and flossing is still a very healthy practice, but the beneficial bacteria are part of the overall picture
Helping your body to function efficiently
Because fermented foods are loaded with probiotics and enzymes, they help your body digest foods efficiently. Your body has to do much less work to break down the fermented item. What’s more, the boost of beneficial flora that’s delivered to your gut helps you with efficient and effective elimination, which is key to digestive health and overall health and vitality. As they say, better out then in!
Fermenting food helps to preserve it for longer periods of time
Milk will go bad in the fridge but kefir and yogurt last a lot longer. Sauerkraut, pickles and salsa will keep for months. And if you’ve got a huge batch of produce in your garden that you don’t know how to use up — ferment it!
Testing out new and fun culinary tools
Who doesn’t love gadgets? The great thing about the renewed interest in fermenting foods is that there has been a wonderful increase in new tools to work with. If you love to find easier ways to do everything, kitchen gadgets give you so many options to explore.
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