Many diets from around the world include foods that are fermented, a chemical process activated by bacteria or yeast by which sugars are converted to alcohols and carbon dioxide. In the past it was a way to preserve food and increase or develop flavour. We know today that fermented foods offer a number of health benefits too.
- Through fermentation nutrients are increased and new nutrients can be formed.
- Digestive enzymes are increased as well as acidity, both aiding digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Beneficial yeast and bacteria are formed that also help with digestion and nutrient absorption.
- As well as aiding digestion fermented foods help the body detox, support a healthy colon and bowel elimination, support the immune system, and help regulate blood sugar.
Likely you are enjoying fermented foods like yogurt, pickles and apple cider vinegar. But for real health benefits you should consider having fermented foods every day, or even with each meal. Think of fermented foods as condiments. They are condiments for good health! Here’s a list of fermented foods to help you out.
Yogurt Sauerkraut Miso Sour dough bread
Kefir Pickles Tempeh Pickled herring
Sour cream Kimchi Kombucha
Crème fraiche Cheese Apple cider vinegar
Don’t be fooled however by lesser versions of the above foods. Fermented foods need to be unpasteurized. If the jar of pickles is sitting on the shelf with no refrigeration it is pasteurized and the healthy yeast and bacteria destroyed. Dairy should contain only two ingredients, milk (or cream) and bacteria. Avoid dairy with the words milk ingredients.
If you love spending time in the kitchen try making your own fermented foods. For more information on fermented foods and how to make them yourself visit The Weston A. Price Foundation’s website (www.westonaprice.org). They have a great educational video.