Fermented food. It’s the type of food that off the bat, you wouldn’t feel too excited about but once you get a taste of it, your whole world changes. Fermented food aren’t just delicious, they’re also good for you.
Fermentation is the process through which food is preserved due to the presence of microorganisms, usually from yeast or bacteria, that turns carbohydrates into alcohol, and helps in preserving the organic acids present in the food. It also helps in enriching the food with some essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals; and it also makes the food more tender and easier to cook if they aren’t already ready to eat.
The one thing that you need to remember if you do decide to ferment food, especially vegetables, is that organic produce are the best produce to ferment simply because they have not been sprayed with pesticides that have already killed any bacteria that are present in the food. It also worth noting that proper food preparation and handling is very important when it comes to fermented food because food poisoning and botulism are real threats that can cause serious health problems.
Fresh and organic ingredients assure high quality of fermented food products.
Botulism is a type of food poisoning that is derived from the food which was contained in containers that were not properly sterilized prior food production and preparation. It is a very rare but serious illness that can leave one hospitalized. This is also the reason why it is so important to make sure that the fermented food that you eat, particularly those fermented with honey, or food items such as vegetables or meat, have been handled properly so that you can make sure that the bacterium botulinum will not have a chance to grow in your food.
There are many different types of fermented food. The most popular ones are dairy, vegetables, and meat food products that have been processed and fermented to achieve fermentation there by prolonging the storage life of the food and also creates the unique flavor that these particular types of food are known for.
Cheese is an example of food that has gone through a fermentation process.
Food can be fermented with the use of starters, cultured bacteria, vinegar, salt, and sugar. The process through which they are fermented also varies. Some food are left to be air-dried, others are placed in sterilized containers, and some are smoked to help in creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Always remember that the bacteria present and is used in fermentation are those promote the removal of anti-nutrient bacteria and bacteria that may cause food poisoning or other similar types of stomach upset.
Generally speaking, fermented food are a great source of gut friendly bacteria such as probiotics which promotes better digestion, a healthier gut flora, and enables better nutrient absorption in the body. Not a lot of people may know this but our body thrives off of good bacteria in order to function properly. Our immune system is reliant on a healthy digestive system because our gut is our first line of defense when it comes to fighting diseases and possible viral infections.
The presence of Peyer’s patches or nodal lymphatic tissues that are found in the small intestine monitor the lining of the gut and alerts microorganisms in the body if there are necessary immune system responses to help combat the presence of bad bacteria in the body that may cause allergic reactions or inflammations. Incidentally, all the food we digest are in constant communication with immune system receptors in the body that help in alerting hormones and other cells in the body that help in boosting the immune system’s functions.
Your gut is important in keeping the immune system functioning well.
The gut in and of itself is a hive of different kinds of bacteria that aims to maintain the body’s natural bacterial thumbprint that is vital in keeping our bodies healthy. A good balance of good bacteria in each person’s body is essential in making sure that the body is able to receive signals of imposing threats and would be able to send the right kind of cells to combat the bacteria that might cause us to feel sick.
Kefir - a dairy product that is rich in calcium, magnesium, folate, enzymes, biotin, and probiotics. It is actually said to have more active probiotic strains than yogurt. It is also known to help in addressing irritable bowel movements and stomach upset. Kefir is also known to be a good option for those who are lactose intolerant because it actually aids in the digestion of lactose in the body.
Miso - a staple in Japanese Cuisine, miso is made from fermented soybeans and has been shown to have anti-aging properties along with properties that not only help in boosting the immune system but also helps in preventing certain types of cancer, and in promoting a healthy nervous system. Miso is also known to help in lowering cholesterol and preventing stroke.
Yogurt - the most well-known fermented food product that is used in a variety of ways. This dairy product is known to contain probiotic strains that support the digestive system, keeps the gut healthy, and therefore, boosts the body’s immune system. Yogurt is also known to help prevent osteoporosis because of its high calcium content, and is high in vitamins B12 and riboflavin which helps in keeping the heart healthy.
Kefir has more probiotic strains than yogurt.
Miso is often used in Japanese cuisine [Image source: wikipedia.com]
Yogurt is extremely versatile and healthy.
Kombucha - this drink that is made using fermented black tea and sugar is rapidly becoming more popular and for all the right reasons. It contains B-complex vitamins, probiotics, and acetic and lactic acid. It is also known to aid in weight loss, improved digestion, and in detoxifying the immune system. Kombucha is also known to reduce liver toxicity due to chemicals that may have been inadvertently ingested in the past or chemicals that may have been created by the body due to the mix of food that create some level of chemical imbalance.
Kimchi - is probably one of the most popular Korean dishes, it is a great source of antioxidants that help in combating certain types of cancer, diabetes, and gastric ulcers among others. Kimchi is also known to reduce cases of insulin resistance which can lead to a high blood pressure since it is not able to send the proper signals to insulin receptors in the body. Kimchi has also shown to be possibly helpful in losing weight because it promotes healthy digestion and decrease in insulin which means the body has a lower tendency to store fat.
Kombucha is made from fermented black tea
Kimchi is a popular Korean banchan or side dish
Sauerkraut is loaded with health benefits
Sauerkraut - a traditional fermented food made from cabbage, sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and B, and minerals such as iron, sodium, manganese, and magnesium which not only help in strengthening the immune system but it also helps in keeping the cardiovascular system healthy. Because it also has high levels of calcium, it also helps in strengthening the bones which only adds credibility to the amazing repertoire of this delicious side dish.
Making Fermented Food A Diet Staple
Fermented food products are not only delicious, they are also incredibly healthy for you. Because of how flexible they are in terms of how well they lend their flavor to different kinds of food, it is easy to incorporate these food to your daily diet to ensure that you are able to reap its health benefits with your every meal.
Learning is just half the process in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By incorporating what you know about these fermented food items into your diet, you will be able to ensure that you will not only live a healthy lifestyle, you will be living a delicious one as well.