Up until not that long ago, much of our food was fermented. This preserved our food through the winter, when food was scarcer. Then, chemically-laden preservatives came along and we, for the most part, got out of the habit of fermenting foods and drinks.
The consumption of regular amounts of fermented foods and drinks promotes good gut health. Please note that I do not mean pickled foods, as these carry a very minimal amount of goodness into the digestive system. By fermented, I mean cultured (food and drink traditionally made with a cultured starter) or lacto-fermented (traditionally made with salt and water). Both of these processes are highly nutritious. They are full of millions of beneficial yeasts and bacteria and wonderfully detoxifying for the digestive system (and thus the rest of the body). Different types of fermented foods have slightly different strains of probiotics, so having a good range of these foods and drinks prepared in different ways is the most beneficial to your body. They can all be prepared at home and you can buy most of them from a good health food shop. When purchasing things like sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha from a shop, check if they are unpasteurised. If they aren’t, then they will have been heated in some way, their nutrients greatly diminished, and much of their goodness destroyed.
Why consume more fermented/cultured probiotic foods and drinks?
They restore the balance of the digestive system (the good yeasts and bacteria from the fermented foods and drinks literally attack the bad yeasts and bacteria in the digestive system).
- They are high in enzymes, which help you to absorb and utilise the nutrients from your foods.
- They promote better digestion of all foods and drinks, but especially foods that are typically hard to digest such as high fibre foods, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes (lentils, pulses, soy, etc.).
- Many people who cannot tolerate dairy can actually tolerate fermented dairy items as the fermenting process breaks down the lactose in the food and drink.
- Fermenting your own food and drinks is really cheap, super easy, and it means there is never any reason for any food to go to waste in your home ever again.
- The fermented diary items are particularly high in B vitamins.
- Due to their balancing and detoxing effect, fermented foods can aid weight loss.
- They also help balance out hormonal issues and strengthen the immune
- They can help clear up skin concerns and promote healthy hair.
- Many people find their general mood and energy levels improve.
If you want to find out more check out my new Introduction to Fermented Foods & Drinks video on YouTube here.
The above is an extract from my book Living a Life Less Toxic, for tons of fermenting recipes (as well as recipes for making free-from and raw food and also your own cosmetics and cleaning products) check out my book here.
Recipes for all the fermented foods and drinks I mention in the above video can be found under my Fermented / Cultured / Probiotic tab on my blog, here