What are fermented foods?
Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation. This is when natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food as well as creating beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
Kombucha: Kombucha is a drink that I love to consume regularly. It’s fizzy and tart and has all the right combinations to satisfy my thirst. I wish that bars served kombucha, as it would be a healthier alternative to a lot of sugary mixed drinks.
Besides its great taste, kombucha also has many health benefits that include: detoxification of the liver, joint aid, improved digestion and gut health and boosted immunity. Studies have shown that kombucha benefits cancer as well as fights off E. coli and staph bacteria in the digestive tract.
Pickles: Pickles are one of my favorite foods because of their crispy sour taste and the fact that they can be used in many different dishes and recipes!
According to the NSDA pickles not only contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals but also have many health benefits such as: free radical scavenging from antioxidants, aiding digestion, liver protection, reducing ulcers, diabetes control and more!
Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is another tasty fermented food that can be used in a variety of dishes. When you buy sauerkraut make sure that it is the unpasteurized variety (unless you are pregnant) because pasteurization kills all the healthy cultures that are present.
The health benefits of sauerkraut are numerous and include: boosted circulation, increased energy, reduced cholesterol levels, eliminated inflammation, protection against cancer, improved vision and more!
Tempeh: Tempeh is in my opinion the best alternative to tofu. It is made from soybeans and contains amino acids as well as a lot of probiotics, making it an excellent plant based protein!
The health benefits are also numerous. Tempeh has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and lower blood fat levels. It can also help to prevent cancer!
Miso: Miso is known to add a lot of flavor to many recipes. It does have high levels of sodium but is perfectly good when used in moderation.
Miso helps digestion and gut health because it is full of friendly microflora which is bacteria that is beneficial to the intestines. Immunity is also increased by this bacteria. Miso has also been shown to have anti aging benefits and has been used widely in Japan and China for centuries because of this. It is important to choose unpasteurized miso (unless pregnant) because all the beneficial bacteria is killed off by the heat in pasteurization.
These are just a few of the many wonderful fermented foods out there. Not only are fermented foods healthy but they make a great addition to many recipes. Give them a try and you won’t be disappointed!