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What are fermented/cultured foods?


jars of fermented foodsFermentation is a means of food preservation that has been around since the Neolithic times which provides natural health benefits.

When we ferment food, a transformation occurs in various bacteria and fungi in the food where the enzymes produced all then aid in digestion and overall health/nutrition. Making fermented foods the newest, old trick to staying in good health.

The pasteurization of the processed foods we often purchase is meant to kill harmful bacteria’s, but it also destroys the healthy bacteria at the same time.

How does fermentation work?

Lacto-fermentation is a microbial process that converts the starches and sugars from vegetables and fruits into lactic acid and beneficial bacteria including Lactobacillus and natural probiotics among many others.  This process thrives in an anaerobic environment (without oxygen) and creates many species of lactic acid bacteria.  This naturally occurring lactic acid inhibits putrefying (bad) bacteria.   The chemical change that takes place in fermentation with developing lactobacilli enhances the digestibility and increases vitamin levels in the food being cultured.  For example eating naturally fermented sauerkraut has a greater vitamin level than eating raw cabbage.

Many cultures around the world have been using fermentation throughout the years.  In Poland, you would find sauerkraut, pickled green tomatoes and peppers.  China and Japan there is a variety of cabbage, turnip, eggplant, squash and carrot.  Korean kimchi is an example of Lacto-fermented cabbage eaten daily with meals.  It is best to consume a teaspoon of fermented food with each meal.

Why consume fermented foods?

So far we have only touched on a handful of the benefits of consuming fermented foods, here is a list of reasons why we eat them.

  • Increase overall nutrition
  • Promote growth of friendly intestinal bacteria
  • Aid digestion
  • Support immune function
  • Helps us absorb vital nutrients
  • Increase in B vitamins (including B 12), omega – 3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lactase and lactic acid and immune chemicals
  • Restore proper balance of bacteria in the gut
  • Rich in enzymes
  • Increase vitamin content
  • Improve brain function and mental health
  • Helps to detoxify our system
  • Food preservation

Are you ready to improve your health? Fermented foods can help!

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