Fermented foods have many health benefits: improved digestion (including helping with IBS), enhanced immune system, better brain function, healthy weight management - to name a few.
Fermented food can:
Help your body to absorb the nutrients better because it improves overall digestion. Since this type of food adds more healthy bacteria in your gut, it is easier for your digestive system to break down the foods that you are eating to get the nutrients and deliver them throughout the entire body.
Make phytonutrients become more powerful: veggies have a lot of fibers in them, and the body cannot always break down all fibers to get to the nutrients. Fermenting unlocks where all the nutrients are stored.
Fermented food creates specialty enzymes that not only support the fermented food but acts as a digestive enzyme for the other food in your meal. You should try to have some at 2-3 of your daily meals to ease digestion!
I had never considered incorporating fermented foods into my meals as a regular practice. Now that I have learned how important it is, I wanted to share this information with you, too!
Typically, fermented foods are consumed with meals as a condiment: does not have to be much at first, a ¼ cup of sauerkraut on the side is enough.
On a personal note, I have started incorporating fermented foods by having kefir smoothies as snacks, eating sauerkraut at breakfast along side my eggs, and adding a serving of kimchi to my dinners at night. I also try to order a miso soup when out at restaurants.
You can purchase fermented food in store or give it a try at home. I have started some fermentation projects at home, albeit not 100% successful yet - but I’m getting there! ☺️
NOTE: Fermented foods are only found in the fridge at your store. Check the ingredients – it should only contain salt, no vinegar! Vinegar destroys all the health benefits of a fermented food.
There are several ways in which you can incorporate fermented foods into your diet. Some popular options include:
Sauerkraut: cabbage makes up the base of this dish. It is a good source of vitamin C and K, as well as magnesium and iron.
Kombucha: this is a fermented tea that contains B vitamins and vitamin C.
Miso: a combination of soybeans with salt and other ingredients like rice. It is high in iron, magnesium potassium and calcium.
Lassi: this one is a mix of yoghurt, water, spices and occasionally fruit. It is usually sweet tasting but herbal ones can be made as well.
Yoghurt – I'm sure you know what this one is! Yoghurt is made by fermenting milk and contains plenty of calcium and vitamin B6.
Sourdough bread: to make this kind of bread, the dough is fermented. It has a slightly sour taste which I think goes well some avocado and egg!
Kefir: this too is fermented milk so has similar benefits as yoghurt, only it is a little thinner.
Kimchi: a Korean dish made from a mix of fermented vegetables, salt and spices. There are many different varieties of kimchi, each with their own nutritional benefits.
Tempeh: fermented soybeans make up this dish. It contains calcium alongside magnesium, iron and more.
Apple cider vinegar : this is produced from fermented apple juice. It has a wide range of purposes – often being incorporated into salad dressings and chutneys for added flavour.