After our post about easy gut heath hacks last week, we’re back on the topic of digestion again; this time delving into the world of fermented foods! Gut health has to have been one of the biggest wellness trends of 2017, and with that we've seen a drastic rise in the popularity of fermented foods… who knew pickled vegetables would ever become so cool? We’re here to give you the lowdown on why everyone is talking about them, what they actually are and how you can benefit from them.
What They Are
Fermented foods have gone through a process called “lactofermentation”, where natural bacteria feeds on the sugars and starches in the food, creating lactic acid.
With vegetables, they are soaked in salt water or their own juice, allowing for the growth of bacteria. This bacterium eats the vegetable’s sugars, creating lactic acid and giving it a tart, slightly acidic taste. This process preserves the food and it’s nutrients, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
Many cultures have eaten these foods for years, such as in German sauerkraut and Korean kimchi. However, the increase of pasteurised milk products and alternative preservation methods, has mean't that the amount of fermented foods we consume has massively declined.
Many people eat fermented foods for their awesome taste alone, but there are also several other benefits to including them in your diet:
One of the biggest reasons that fermented foods have been linked to improving gut health is the beneficial bacterium they contain. Kefir and Kombucha helps balance out the good and bad bacteria in your digestive system and can aid digestion.
Absorb Food Better
This improved balanced of gut bacteria and digestive enzymes can help you to make sure you’re absorbing as many nutrients as possible from the foods you eat. Eating a varied diet and absorbing all your nutrients properly will be the biggest boost to your overall health.
Preserve Food Easily
As hard as we might try, we all end up finding some sad looking vegetables or sorry sauces in the back of the fridge every so often! Luckily for us forgetful lot, fermented foods last much longer! The fermentation process prevents foods from going off, allowing you to store them for much longer without losing nutrients or making yourself sick!
Which Types To Try
So for those wanting to give fermented foods a go, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir are all amazing sources. And for those without access to the healthy cafes or health food stores we have in London, some simple, good-quality yogurt from your supermarket or local farm shop is also a great, and much more budget-friendly option!