Fermented foods. What are they and why are they being given so much focus in the area of health and nutrition?
Fermented foods are foods that have been aged and preserved by using time and good bacteria to act upon the food to change its components. The process of fermenting both increases the bacteria content and nutrient content of the original foods. This improves the benefits of the food as well as adds enzymes and pre-digests to breaks down the foods to help people absorb the nutrients in those foods.
Our micro biome, which flourishes with the addition of fermented foods, directly affects your health. What is your micro biome? We all need this special colony of good beneficial bacteria in our bodies. It is a mix of many good bacteria, a few hundred different beneficial species, which we should have in our bodies. Without it, we limit our body’s potential in the areas of immune, digestion, and neurology. This means our experience of life is greatly affected by the amount and quality of the good gut bacteria that we have.
There is so much being studied now in the areas of gut bacteria and mood and depression, as well as brain function. Inflamed gut correlates to inflamed brain.
Years ago, people used to ferment, soak and sprout foods to improve the digestibility, nutrient content, and preserve foods to increase their benefits and keep those foods around longer. Since the introduction of refrigeration, we invest less time take care of our food and look for faster food options causing these time sensitive activities to go by the way side. Potentially, some of the ills we currently have are from the loss of the food activities our ancestors use to perform, such as fermenting. We are now going back to these activities in hopes of improving our health; finding more commercially available fermented foods to add to our diets and seeing the benefits pay off.
Examples of fermented foods are veggies (sauerkraut, pickles, beets, etc), kim chi, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, miso, apple cider vinegar, sourdough and tamari. Grimm’s has has created a line of fermented foods and Quality Greens Penticton is currently carrying it.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are dealing with SIBO or Candida overgrowth, and already have an overpopulation of bad bacteria or yeast, eating fermented foods is possibly adding fuel to that fire, so gut issues need to be assessed, if you are having problems in those areas.