Top 3 Health Benefits of Fermented Foods: See What Your Body Misses
You won't believe how much your body is missing out if you aren't getting in at least one fermented food at day
In our modern day, refrigerators have eliminated the necessity for fermentation. Unlike our ancestors, we can just pop our food onto a cold shelf instead of going through all the trouble of trying to salt, dry, or ferment the food to keep it from spoiling. However, our ancestors benefited from this fermentation in more ways than one as we are discovering the powerful impact of fermented food on our guts.
Ancient cultures liberally partook of thousands of fermented foods. There have been over 5,000 different types of fermentation documented from around the world. Fermentation is the process of biochemically altering food using a host of microorganisms and their enzymes. These microbes are only beneficial and prevent the invasion of bad microbes. Fermentation also enhances the bioavailability of food. The nutrition in any fermented food only becomes more bioavailable to us because the ability to digest, absorb, and metabolize that nutrient has been increased. The process of fermentation makes it easier for our bodies to digest and absorb any nutrient overall. What are the top 3 benefits we reap from this amazing natural process?
The Top 3 Benefits
Surprisingly enough, eating fermented foods is a huge component of keeping your gut healthy and thus your immunity strong. Scientists have concluded that 80% of our immunity lies within our gut. Fermented foods possess much higher levels of probiotics than any modern supplement, directly supporting beneficial gut bacteria. Good gut health is a balancing act of bacteria, and fermented foods are an excellent supply of beneficial microbes.
Fermentation breaks down the nutrients in food with the help of beneficial microorganisms which then create natural chelators that bind to toxins so that they can be removed from our body. In today's world, this is a benefit we all need considering the influx of toxins and environmental pollutants we are exposed to each and every day.
Fermentation directly benefits our gut flora by encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria. If our gut flora becomes compromised by the overgrowth of bad bacteria then we won't be able to properly absorb all the nutrients from our food. This poor assimilation impacts us in many ways including faulty mineral absorption, obesity, diabetes, acne, and poor mental health.
What I love most about fermented foods is that you can access their healing benefits regardless of allergies. There is a fermented food for everyone, whether you are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free...you name it!
The fermented vegetable family includes, but is not limited to:
- Beet Kvass
The fermented dairy family includes, but is not limited to:
- Sour cream
- Kefir (Coconut kefir is a good dairy-free option.)
- Yogurt (Coconut yogurt is a good dairy-free option.)
Some of the exceptions to these families I coined include fermented fish oil and kombucha. There is an abundance of options to ingest fermented foods whether they are pickled or cultured. One of my favorite store-bought sources is Eden Food's Organic Sauerkraut which adds great flavor to any dish as a topping or a side.
You can easily make your own fermented foods and eating just a ½ to ¾ of a cup a day will be a tremendous benefit to your gut health. Adding a lot of sugar to your fermented source (take yogurt for example) can negate the benefits, but if sweetening is desired some healthy alternatives would be stevia or monk fruit extract. Did you get your fermented food in yet today? Your gut will thank you!