The Time-Tested, Hidden Benefits Of Fermented Foods by: Kristen Duever for Off the Grid News
Fermented foods: the words bring up images of sauerkraut and kimchi along with other pungent morsels. But if you haven’t given it much more thought than that, well, perhaps you should.
Fermentation is a great way to preserve food without the use of canning pots and freezers. It’s also loaded with additional benefits that other forms of preservation just don’t give you.
What Is Fermentation?
Fruits and vegetables naturally carry a beneficial bacteria known as lactobacilli. It’s one of the same types that you can find in cultured dairy products such as yogurt. Fermentation occurs when you submerge a fruit or vegetable in brine. After this, the lactobacilli will then begin to eat the natural sugar and essentially convert it into alcohol. Additionally, while the good bacteria are growing in number, they’re inhibiting putrefying bacteria that would otherwise cause the food to rot. The number of helpful bacteria will increase and they will produce enzymes. They will also produce other substances which have antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Many cultures have employed this process since ancient times. The Ancient Greeks understood that an important chemical change took place during lacto-fermentation. They called it “alchemy.”
What Are The Benefits Of Fermented Food?
Perhaps the biggest benefit of consuming fermented food is its ability to boost your immune system. Scientists estimate that somewhere between 80-90 percent of your immune function happens in your gut. When “bad” bacteria overrun your intestines, you get sick. Adding a few spoonfuls of sauerkraut to your sandwich is like sending a small army of good bacteria to fight off the bad.
The bacteria from lacto-fermentation also helps to aid in digestion and may even help you to absorb certain nutrients more easily.
Finally, it is the only form of preservation that not only does not destroy certain nutrients, but it actually increases some. It is food that is high in digestive enzymes, B vitamins, omega 3s as well as lactase and lactic acid, which fend off harmful bacteria.