Kombucha, kiefer, sauerkraut, kimchi ... sound vaguely familiar?
These fermented foods and beverages are experiencing a resurgence and are a hot button topic amongst the health conscious, with Channel 4 featuring ground breaking research in Norway about the digestive benefits of sauerkraut in their programme Superfoods: The Real Story.
However fermentation doesn't sound like the most appealing way to eat foods. So let us help reveal the mystery benefits behind this ancient process.
The micro-organisms or 'friendly-bacteria' found on all living things are critical in the fermentation endeavour and actually enable the process, "fermentation happens when friendly bacteria get to work on turning starches and sugars in foods such as milk, vegetables and fruits into lactic acid. The lactic acid acts as a preservative meaning that food then keeps for longer; it also helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut."
This ancient process used centuries ago to preserve food for longer also improved the variety of tastes and textures available to ancient man. But today the word fermentation can put people off. However it is the health benefits that have drawn attention to this once ancient process and pulled it into the 21st century.
"A wide range of different 'friendly bacteria' also multiply during the fermentation process, which is why fermented foods are often called 'probiotic' foods. One of the major benefits of regularly including fermented foods in your diet is that you are constantly nourishing your gut with a wide range of naturally occurring beneficial microorganisms. Taking care of your gut flora is perhaps one of the most important steps you can take to look after not only your gut, but your overall health too."
Fermented foods are easier on the digestive system and contain a number of key nutrients such as B vitamins folic acid and vitamin K.
"Fermented foods may also help to support detoxification in the body so if you’re thinking of introducing them into your diet, start with just a small amount and build up gradually to allow your system time to adjust. Most fermented foods are designed to be consumed as a side dish, so you only need to include a small amount each day for optimal effects."
Ref: Fermented Foods Explained, https://www.nutriadvanced.co.uk
Are Fermented Foods Really That Easy to Make? https://www.nutriadvanced.co.uk