Fermented Foods – Love Your Guts!!
If you’ve been on social media or even watching the news there has been lots of talk recently about fermented foods. Is this a new trend in the dieting roller coaster? Will there be a new fad diet using fermented food? I doubt it but wouldn’t put it past the media! Fermented foods have been around for centuries and have been dietary staples in many cultures!
What does it mean to be fermented? To define it, fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat. Historically, the process of fermentation involved in the making of beer, wine, and liquor, in which sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol. When I refer to fermented foods what I am talking about are foods, like wheat, cabbage and dairy that have begun to break down or digested by the microflora or bacteria that lives on the food. This microflora predigests your food for you which takes the burden off your digestive processes.
There are foods that we may eat that we might not even realize are fermented. For example, yogurt! Lots of us consume yogurt daily. Did you know that you are also consuming probiotics, or good microorganisms that will aid your body? The pre-digestion of this dairy product allows many people who can not tolerate milk to consume dairy without a problem. If you find you are becoming sensitive to wheat you can try fermented sourdough bread as the wheat is broken down prior to baking which makes digestion easier in some people’s body’s.
Some benefits of fermented foods include ease of digestion but also protection of the intestinal lining and the boost of beneficial bacteria increases your ability to absorb the nutrients from food, so you get better use of your food. Fermented foods can increase your antibodies so that your immune system becomes stronger. They can help to regulate your appetite and reduce cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. The beneficial bacteria help rid the body of pathogenic strains of yeast such as candida. Believe it or not there are studies being done that show that eating fermented foods can reduce anxiety and other mental health issues.
What are the best fermented food options? Fermented foods can seem strange and different at first. By starting to introduce them slowly you can adjust your taste buds to the sour and sometimes exotic flavors.
- Yogurt – Plain, full fat options are best to avoid added sugar. Raw, unpasteurized is traditionally how we would consume yogurt, but this is not always possible. There are even dairy free options available for those who don’t tolerate or are allergic to dairy. Yogurt has been shown to help with healthy blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
- Kefir – This is a bit like yogurt but more liquid consistency and drinkable. I recommend you look for organic and make sure it’s not loaded with added sugar. Again, there are dairy free options made with kefir water and coconut milk. Kefir is packed with enzymes, vitamin B12, Calcium, Magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin and folate.
- Kombucha – This is one of my personal favorites and is made from fermented tea. It is a great replacement for pop and beer and if you find it’s expensive to buy it’s simple and cheap to make in your kitchen! Kombucha can help with weight loss, it can help increase your energy levels, help the body detox, it supports the immune system and can help decrease joint pain. It has B-vitamins, enzymes, acetic acid, gluconic and lactic acid.
- Sauerkraut – Fermented cabbage that gets its sour taste from lacto-fermentation or break down of lactose. Sauerkraut can boost digestive health, can help increase circulation, help fight inflammation, strengthen bones and reduce cholesterol. It is packed with vitamins A, C, K and B-vitamins. It has the minerals iron, copper, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
- Kimchi – This is spicy Asian fermented cabbage! It has all the benefits of sauerkraut plus a spicy flavor that can add zip to any meal!
- Pickles – Now, there’s a difference between pickled with vinegar pickles and fermented pickles. If you LOVE sour crunchy pickles I highly recommend trying truly fermented pickles! They are delicious plus have antioxidants and gut friendly bacteria!!
- Real Sourdough Bread – I say “real” because true sourdough bread is made from a starter and will not have yeast listed in the ingredients. It is packed with probiotics and prebiotics (food for the probiotic cultures) and the wheat is pre-digested or broken down so it’s much easier on your digestive system.
I have tried each one of these probiotic foods. There are some not listed here but these ones are the most common I discuss on a regular basis. They are easy to find and even easy to make! I have been regularly consuming fermented foods for over a year now and I can not even begin to tell you here about all the benefits I, and my family have noticed. More energy, stronger immune systems, better digestion and even weight loss!
Do you want to get even healthier? Would you like to know more about what how you can fit fermented foods into your life? Let’s chat about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes so that you can build your microbiome. Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. I work with women from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!