Note: This is part of a series of posts about popular trends in the health industry. Read more and subscribe here: Health Trends – Translation Please?
What is Fermented Food?
Fermented foods have been through a process that sees their naturally occurring bacteria break down the sugar and starch in the food producing lactic acid in a process known as lacto-fermentation that aids preservation. Personally, I’ve always found that the term “fermented food” turns my tummy a little bit. Perhaps I’m the only one but all that usually comes to mind is pickled gherkins, Sauerkraut or Swedish Stinky Fish. Much to my delight, I’ve learnt that fermented food isn’t just limited to abstract, smelly condiments and sides from our European friends but actually includes some really delicious and healthy products I already enjoy in my typical diet.
The following list is just a small preview of a few of the flavoursome treats falling under the Fermented Banner.
Yoghurt(Coconut or Dairy)
Kefir (Coconut or Dairy)
Kombucha (Sweetened Fizzy Mushroom Tea – tastes a lot better than it sounds, promise!)
Beetroot Relish (and most other relishes)
The Fermentation process reflects the partial digestion of food in the human body and can make digestion easier and may be of particular help for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which effects up to 20% of the adult population. The lacto-fermentation process mentioned above not only aids to breakdown the food but also produces enzymes and pro-biotics in addition to B vitamins and Omega 3 Fatty acids along the way.
Enzymes are required in the body to adequately digest and absorb nutrients in our food and will help to ensure we are getting the most out of our nutrition as well as improving digestion and bowel regularity.
Pro-biotics otherwise known as beneficial/good bacteria add to the gut flora and help to balance good and bad bacteria in the stomach, again improving digestive health. Pro-biotics can also improve overall immunity by acting as a defence barrier for the lymphoid tissue in the digestive tract which accounts for approximately 60-70% of the human body’s immune system. On top of all of this, whilst it is known that pro-biotics can be taken in through supplementation, receiving them through fermented food in addition to, or as an alternative method will ensure that you are absorbing more varied and active strains of pro-biotics.
Lastly, fermented foods keep for a long time and can be made inexpensively and easily at home.
Worth the cash?
What cash? So why not! This cost effective and relatively simple practice of eating fermented foods in addition to a healthy, nutrient dense diet has been around for centuries (1500s are some of the early accounts) showing that this is so much more than just a fad or a phase. I definitely think it’s worth trying to incorporate some more fermented foods into everyone’s diet. After all I’m almost ninety percent certain that everyone reading could relate to having digestive problems or a weakened immune system at least once in the recent past (if the answer is no, please divulge your secrets in the comments!). Last but not least, if you are interested in making your own fermented food here is a great website with some fabulous recipes (the Fermented Hot Chilli Sauce looks amazing!)
PS. This is part of a series of posts about popular trends in the health industry. Read more and subscribe here: Health Trends – Translation Please?