Why Eating Fermented Food is Great for Your Health
What Are Fermented Foods?
Fermented foods are foods that have gone through a very stinky process called lacto-fermentation. Fermentation not only preserves food but also creates healthful acids, bacteria and important vitamins. During this process, natural bacteria will feed off of the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. Normally, we try as hard as we can to prevent bacteria from tainting the food we eat but there is a difference between bacteria that is healthy for your gut and bacteria that isn't. Lactic acid bacteria, the bacteria that carries out the fermentation process, is the world’s best killer of harmful bacteria.
Common fermented foods include:
- Green beans
- Various other vegetables
While fermented foods are making there way back into the mainstream and are available in stores, the level of fermentation you can accomplish at home is much different than most store bought fermented foods.
Why eat fermented foods?
What can all that lactic acid do for you, you ask? Lactic acid improves the nutritional value of food, regulates the intestines, improves the digestion of lactose, can control some types of cancer and cholesterol levels.
Fermented foods are potent detoxifiers and contain high levels of probiotics, even more than probiotic supplements. This makes them ideal for optimizing your gut flora. In addition to helping to break down and eliminate heavy metals from your body, beneficial gut bacteria perform several surprising functions, including:
- Mineral absorption
- Nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin K2 (vitamin K2 and vitamin D are necessary for integrating calcium into your bones and keeping it out of your arteries
- Regulating dietary fat absorption
- Lowering your risk for cancer
- Improving your mood and mental health
- Preventing acne
How do I get started?
Now that you know how awesome fermented foods are for you are you ready to make some of your own? We hope so! Nourished Kitchen has some fantastic fermentation recipes to help you get started. If you're really interested in a fermentation crash course check out the 5th annual Portland Fermentation Festival this month on Thursday, October 16th. This stinky Portland party will have pickled vegetables, kraut, fermented bread, fermented meats/fish, fermented dairy (yogurt, kefir), plenty of kombucha and delicious soy ferments (miso, tempeh) available to taste test and purchase as well as DIY tips for home fermenting. Fun!
And of course, if you would like to talk with one of the doctors on how integrating fermented foods and other probiotics into your diet can be beneficial for your personal health give us a call or make an appointment online.