The evidence is clear: Fermented foods are making a big comeback.
The health benefits of fermented foods are hard to ignore, as they provide benefits to our guts that modern processed foods simply can't match.
In fact, the billions of tiny bacteria that make fermented foods their home can have big impacts on our bodies, including aiding digestion, boosting immunity and possibly even help you lose weight.
This secret food group might make all the difference in your healthy living plan.
However, the average American knows almost nothing about fermented foods. Where do they come from? What kinds are best to eat? And is all that bacteria REALLY helpful for our stomachs?
We've done all the research about the benefits of fermented foods to that you don't have to, and we'll share our top tips about how to get more of these beneficial microbes into your diet.
If you're ready to make some big changes for the healthy of your gut, then come along as we dive deeply into the fascinating world of fermented foods.
What Are Fermented Foods?
Fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance through enzymes that are provided by bacteria, yeast or other microorganisms.
Oftentimes foods are given an inoculate of these enzymes to start the fermentation process.
Essentially, when a food is fermented it is left to sit in a microbial rich mixture until the sugars and carbs are slowly broken down through the munching of hungry bacteria.
The breakdown of lactose and other sugars through these substances makes fermented foods easier to digest for the human body, and once inside you they even help to break down toxic microorganisms like E. coli.
Fermentation also preserves vegetables for longer periods of time because it prevents the process of decomposition from taking place. In many cases, vegetables are fermented through the process of being submerged in salty brine which kills off dangerous pathogens before the healthy bacteria have a chance to munch on them.
The natural sugars and carbs are slowly turned into lactic acid, which is the substance that gives pickles their distinctive sour taste.
Other forms of fermentation can be done with dairy products and even soybeans. In many ways, the potential of fermentation is limited only be your imagination.
What Are The Health Benefits?
The benefits of probiotic-filled fermented foods are almost too numerous to list here.
These products are nature's super foods, filling your gut and immune system with exactly what you need to stay as healthy as possible.
Below are some of the top nutritional and health advantages that eating a diet of fermented foods will give you.
These good bacteria—particularly those in our gut—may improve digestion, boost immunity and help us maintain a healthy weight. Research is still emerging on just how important these mighty microbes might be for our health, but the early results are promising. Take care of your gut, and in turn, it will take help take care of you.
The Best Fermented Foods
Fermented foods have been an essential part of diets from around the world for years, meaning that there are dozens of options for you to try or even make at home.
You don't have to limit yourself to pickles or sauerkraut (though both are delicious!) because an entire world of fermented food potential awaits your experimentation.
Below are our top fermented foods list enjoyed around the world and some tips you can follow to ensure you enjoy them.
If you're doing keto, it's worth noting that some of the sugars in fermented foods will be taken care of by the yeast, which can result in a more sour flavor sometimes.
Are Probiotic Supplements Good?
It's always better to get your nutrition from food instead of pills, but some people find that no matter how hard they try they simply can't stomach the taste of fermented foods.
When looking for a high quality probiotic supplement, make sure that that the bacteria strains are advertised as being strong enough to survive your stomach acid and that they actually have health promoting features (not all bacteria is created equal!)
Make sure that the supplement also has a long shelf life and won't go bad within a few days of you opening it.
How Often Should You Eat Fermented Foods?
To get the most benefit of fermented foods, try to include them in most of your meals throughout the week - even better if you can include it in every meal.
When it comes to drinks (kefir, kvass, and kombucha), a few sips to a half cup is more than enough.
How Can I Add It On My Diet?
When people first learn about the benefits of ferments they often get so excited that they shock their system by eating more than ten times the recommended dose.
The key to success is to introduce fermented foods into your diet slowly.
After a few weeks at a tiny dose level you can increase the amount that you eat everyday to see if you experience an improvement in your body.
Cultured dairy (yogurt, kefir, buttermilk) are naturals for breakfast. Add yogurt, kefir or buttermilk to your morning smoothies or top granola or oatmeal with fruit and homemade yogurt.
The Bottom Line On Fermented Foods
The evidence is clear; fermented foods are full of total body benefits and will help every part of your body from your gut to your immune system.
To keep yourself healthy and full of body-aiding bacteria, it is important to incorporate some fermented foods into your diet.
You don't need a lot; even a few tablespoons of sauerkraut added onto your sandwich can make a big difference for the health of your gut.
Once you start experimenting with ferments, you'll never want to go back.
Best of all, these unique foods are often even easier to make than they are to find on store shelves, so you'll get to enjoy the fun and creativity that comes from creating healthy foods to keep your body running well.
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3. Myung-Sunny Kim, PhD, Hye Jeong Yang, PhD, Soon-Hee Kim, PhD, Hye Won Lee, PhD, and Myeong Soo Lee, PhD, Effects of Kimchi on human health, retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5895381/
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