Fermented Foods - what are they all about?

Fermented foods are not a new idea.  Historical evidence has demonstrated that workers on the Great Wall of China consumed meals with sauerkraut and pickled cabbage 2,000 years ago.  The main propose of the fermentation process was to preserve food for consumption during the winter.  But an added benefit was that with every mouthful of these fermented foods they consumed trillions of beneficial bacteria.  Like the Roman armies when traveling with barrels of sauerkraut, they used it to avoid intestinal infections among soldiers during long trips.  Throughout history cultures have thrived on probiotics found in fermented foods but it is only recently that health experts have begun to focus on fermented foods. Some studies are astonishing like the Finnish researcher paper published in 2002 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the results of its survey of the laboratory studies has found that in the process of fermentation, cabbage produced the substances which help to prevent the growth of cancer cells.   

What are the benefits of the Fermentation?

Preserve the food (can be hold in cold at least 10 month)                                                                                 The fermentation method create beneficial bacteria, enzymes, vitamins (according to studies, the amount of bio-available vitamin C in sauerkraut is 20 times higher than in fresh cabbage)

 - Makes foods more digestible                                                                                                                                  - Prevent growth of harmful bacteria                                                                                                                        - Create various strains of probiotics.  Probiotic are a good bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection

Your Digestive tract (or your Gut) including your stomach, small intestine and large intestine plays an important role in your health, because 70 percent of your entire immune system is located in your  Gut. The purpose of the Immune system is to protect the body against foreign invaders – these could be something that you ate, a virus, bad bacteria, toxin, parasite or cancer.  Your body’s ability to fight viruses and for how long depends on how strong your immune system is. 

In addition to being our immune system our digestive track is the second largest part of our neurological system.  This is why it is called our second brain.  And it is why anxiety or depression can be connected with the changes in a gut microbiome (gut flora).  As you see your gut flora is crucial not only to digest food that we eat but for overall health.  Many people with health issues such as thyroid imbalances, chronic fatigue, joint pain, psoriasis, autism, arthritis, and many other conditions do not realize that these illnesses originate in the gut.  The gut is connected to everything.

The secret to restoring and maintaining a healthy digestive track is all about balancing out the good and bad bacteria in your gut.  If you are going to be healthy you MUST consider consuming probiotic rich foods.

Bacterial diversity is incredibly important in shifting people health. We have to have many different kinds of bacteria and that is why probiotic as a supplement can’t replace fermented foods.  Fermented foods give you more units, diversity and strains of probiotics than a supplement ever will.

So people who have low bacterial diversity and low numbers of overall bacteria in their gut have a higher incidence of diabetes, arthritis, inflammation, allergy, extra weight.  So you have to get your probiotics from many different sources in order to have the right gut ecosystem.

My number #1 fermented food is sauerkraut because of its bacterial diversity, mineral and vitamins rich.

Fermented vegetables are not meant to be eaten in large quantities but as condiments.  They go beautifully with eggs, meats, fish, beans, grains.  I generally recommend that people eat about 2 forkfuls with the meal, but when beginning a fermented diet start with a smaller amount to avoid some discomfort in your gut.

Fermented products play an important role in the health of older people as they aid a digestive system that grows weaker with age.  As you see to bring your gut back into balance a huge part of the good health, so make sure you have enough beneficial bacteria. By eating foods rich in bacteria is one of the first steps to restoring the healthy gut flora, and developing a healthy diet and lifestyle as well.

Fermented vegetables you can make all year around and are very easy to make (please check out my video below).