The Benefits of Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are like a whole new world for me. To tell the truth, I’ve always found them a bit frightening. The only fermented food I grew up with was homemade sauerkraut. When I was a child, our breezeway would be full of rotting, stinking cabbage during the winter. My parents loved making homemade sauerkraut, but as a child, the idea of eating something that was “rotting” for a long time and that smelled “awful” sounded scary. To this day, I still get a bit squeamish about fermenting foods, but I recently started reading a brand-new book from my friends at Oh Lardy called Oh Lardy’s Guide to Fermenting Fruits and Vegetables.
Oh Lardy’s book on fermenting fruits and vegetables was an eye-opener for me. I had no idea that fermented foods were SO healthy! In addition, as a history-lover, I found it fascinating that fermented foods have been commonplace for centuries. This was really the only way our ancestors could preserve food. With refrigeration, we have lost the amazing health benefits from fermented foods. However, fermenting foods should still be practiced in every home. They are easy to make, cost very little, help you preserve your food, and give you some amazing benefits to your health.
Here is a list of Health Benefits from Fermented Foods:
1. Fermented foods are loaded with probiotics (good bacteria)
**Probiotics are not an uncommon product in our pharmacies and health sections of grocery stores. In fact, when people have to go on antibiotics for any number of reasons, many doctors remind their patients to start taking probiotic pills to help heal the body from the negative side-effects of antibiotics. Those probiotic pills can be expensive.
**Fermented vegetables, fruits, and dairy products naturally produce probiotics just like those expensive probiotics. They are an easy form of probiotics to make at home in order to boost your probiotic levels.
**Fermented food probiotics will help optimize your digestion, support your immune system, and increase healthy good bacteria in your gut.
2. Fermented Foods are More Digestible
**If you have ever had trouble digesting raw fruits and vegetables, fermentation will help you get your daily dose of fruits and veggies! The good bacteria that fermentation produces helps predigest your food, so the resulting fermented food is easier to digest.
**The enzyme activity in fermented food also helps you eat other foods that are eaten with the fermented foods. If you have poor digestive health, your own enzymes might not be able to do the job alone in helping break down food for smooth digestion. The enzymes in fermented foods thus help aid you in properly digesting your meal.
3. Fermented Foods can Heal Your Gut
**Fermentation produces lactic acid in the fermented foods, which helps any healthy good bacteria in your gut to increase in number. This helps you get better digestive/gut health.
**Did you know that 80% of your immune system resides in your gut?! If you add more fermented foods to your diet, you are not only helping heal your gut, you are helping your immune system.
4. Fermented Foods are Loaded with Nutrients and Vitamins
Do YOU actively ferment your foods? If so, what is your favorite fermented recipe?