From kimchi to kombucha, over the past couple of years fermented foods have gone from being an acquired taste to a mainstream food of choice. It’s more than just its unique flavour that is gaining popularity, it’s also been found to be an excellent source of ingestible bacteria. In fact, eating fermented foods is sustainable and beneficial for your health: “the process of fermentation pre-digests and preserves ingredients, making them safe to eat for weeks, months or in some cases years beyond their fresh state,” states nutritionist Heidi Flores as she shares on Psst.ph her intel on the health food trend and why your body will thank you for trying it.
Fermented foods can influence your weight
“Current studies demonstrate that the genes of our resident microbial communities have the power to influence our weight regulation, immune system, respiratory system, digestion and the absorption of nutrients in the foods we eat,” says Flores.
“A ferment may also be described as a pickle or culture, but not all pickles and vinegars are naturally fermented. Look for the terms cultured or naturally fermented, and when buying commercial products check that it is unpasteurised.”
Fermented foods can help your body absorb vitamins
“Beneficial gut bacteria helps us in the production of vitamins B3, B5, B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), B12 and K, which enhance absorption of minerals, fight off pathogens, digest food, metabolize drugs and influence metabolism.”
Fermented foods can be delicious
“All meals – and your digestion – will benefit from the inclusion of a live ferment or two, served in small amounts as drinks or condiments. A typical day might look something like this (with regards to your daily meals) and your body will be thanking you for it:
eggs and dark leafy greens with a little fiery classic kimchi
Morning tea – a Staffordshire oat cake (pancake) with cultured apricot spread and cultured cream Lunch – a salad with feta and a verdant green booch dressing
Afternoon snack – almond crusted rice balls with pumpkin and chestnuts, and a glass of kefir
Dinner – salt cured fish with quick pickled cucumber and radish shoyuzuke”
Every food group can be fermented but some foods are not suited. Raw potatoes are toxic, as are the leaves of rhubarb, and the entire brassica family (that’s broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts) have a goitrogenic effect, which means they suppress thyroid function and fermenting doesn’t change that.
Here are some more health reasons and benefits to try eating fermented foods:
- Makes food more digestible.
- Fermented foods have more nutrients.
- Chock full of good bacteria (probiotics).
- Helps keep your immune system healthy.
- Helps curb sugar cravings.
- Lactic acid promotes growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Increases flavor of foods.