Humans have been fermenting food for thousand of years, with some Historians dating it to 7000 BC. Today, you can find fermented foods at almost every grocery store and the varieties are endless! If you haven't introduced them to your diet, there is no time like the present. The health benefits of fermented foods are many, plus they taste great too! The beneficial bacteria in traditional foods such as sauerkraut, sourdough bread, and tempeh along with fermented supplements like fermented proteins help to:
Balance gut bacteria – eating fermented foods and drinking fermented beverages will introduce good bacteria in your gut to improve the ratio of good and bad bacteria for better health.
Improve digestion – having a proper balance of gut bacteria will help you digest and absorb the whole foods you are eating so you get maximum benefit from the nutrition.
Improve mental health – our gut or microbiome has been a hot topic of research lately which is suggesting that fermented foods aren’t just for digestive health but that there is a gut brain axis connection that is showing beneficial mental health benefits as well.
"Early humans then began to embrace this partnership with microbes because of its benefits, namely: more digestible food, food that kept longer, was less likely to make you sick (as in the case of fermented beverages compared to water until the turn of the last century) or simply tasted better than unfermented foods."
Heal the digestive track – the good bacteria in fermented foods play a role in balancing out the bad bacteria and yeasts such as Candida Albicans thereby healing the gut.
Regulate appetite – introducing a plethora of good bacteria into the gut can help to reduce your cravings for such things as sugar thereby regulating your appetite.
Help maintain a regular weight – silent inflammation causes the cells of your body to become resistant to the leptin and insulin which regulate fat in your body. The good news is the good bacteria found in fermented foods play a role in reducing this inflammation.
Supports the immune system – the flora in fermented foods form a shield that covers the small intestine’s lining and helps inhibit pathogenic or bad organisms from taking over.
Makes food easier to digest – good bacteria break down the food for you so it is easier to digest and assimilate. After all you are what you digest.
Adding in traditional fermented food and supplements is easy. Try these substitutions, switch outs and add ins:
- Switch out your regular bread for sourdough bread and cultured butter
- Add fermented protein and probiotics to your smoothie or yogurt
- Add your favorite fermented hot sauce or pickles to the foods you are already eating
- Add Kimchi to scrambled eggs or tofu
- Make miso soup with fermented miso paste
- Add sauerkraut to coleslaw or potato salad
- Add Kimchi to stir frys or rice bowls
- Add Fermented veggies to salads
- Switch to cultured dairy for regular dairy in the forms of yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk
- Switch out regular condiments for fermented condiments like ketchup, chutney, and salsa
- Add cultured sour cream or yogurt to soups or stews
- Switch out regular salad dressings for fermented dressings on salads
The possibilities are endless and only limited to your imagination. Start first by purchasing these foods and if you are adventurous you may just want to make your own.