7 health-boosting reasons to try Fermenting!

Cultured and fermented foods have been an important part of the human diet in many cultures for centuries, but we seem to have forgotten the amazing health benefits that can be gained from this ancient tradition.

Fermenting was originally a natural way of preserving foods for many months at a time.  When foods are fermented the growth of “good” microorganisms is encouraged, while preventing the growth of spoilage-causing microorganisms. 

Unfortunately, due to urbanisation, changes in lifestyle and the shifting from traditional food habits to commercial fast foods and pasteurization, the consumption of these traditional foods is in decline.

Modern pickles and sauerkraut are made with vinegar instead of the traditional method of lacto-fermentation using salt. Bread and pasta are made with commercial yeast instead of being naturally leavened with wild yeast, like sourdough. While wine, beer, yoghurt and cheeses are being pasteurized — killing off all the good bacteria we so desperately need to maintain health!

We are what we eat – or rather what we digest, absorb and assimilate – which is why fermenting is such a great way to boost your good bacteria.

Think about it – we’re all guilty of excessively indulging in things like wheat, meat, dairy, alcohol, sugar, coffee, tea and overly processed foods, all of which cause an imbalance in the intestinal environment. Add to that medications, pain killers, radiation from computer screens and microwaves, and the accumulation of heavy metals, and our guts are really starting to get out of balance. And that’s without even mentioning stress, which can chronically deplete our system and really throw our digestive system completely out of whack. 

Our digestive system comprises at least 70% of our immune system.   We rely on a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut to keep our immune system strong and our bodies healthy – so it’s really important to make sure the good bacteria in your gut outnumber the bad.

Eating fermented food is a great way to do that!

A healthy diet is the ideal way to maintain a healthy gut, and regularly consuming traditionally fermented or cultured foods is the easiest way to ensure optimal gut flora.  When our digestion is functioning properly and we are absorbing and assimilating all the nutrients we need, our immune system tends to be happy, and thus better equipped to wage war against disease and illness.

The key is to eat a small portion of traditional fermented or cultured foods on a very regular basis.  Once or twice daily with meals is best.

Here are just 7 of the wonderful health benefits that can be achieved by consuming cultured and fermented foods:

  1. Fermented foods improve digestion and help you absorb nutrients – it’s like partially digesting food before you consume it.
  2. They optimise your immune system, as well as having anti-inflammatory potential.
  3. They are a detox all on their own - fermented foods are some of the best chelators available.  The beneficial bacteria in these foods are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals.
  4. They improve your digestion – fermented foods colonize your gut with a wide range of different strains of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, leading to improved digestion and restoration of the proper balance of bacteria in the gut.
  5. They are rich in enzymes – which your body needs to adequately digest, absorb, and utilise the nutrients in your food. As you age, your body’s supply of enzymes goes down, so you should be eating more fermented foods!
  6. Fermenting increases the nutritional value of your food - vitamin and mineral content is increased, proteins, carbohydrates and fats are pre-digested making food easier to digest.
  7. Fermented foods have the unique ability to ease digestive discomfort related to having either too much or too little stomach acid. When the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach is low, fermented foods help increase the acidity of gastric juices. On the other hand, when the stomach produces too much acid, fermented foods help protect the stomach and intestinal lining.

Happy fermenting!

If you have any more questions, you can call us to book a FREE 15 minute chat with one of our Naturopaths to see how we can help you. Call now on (02) 4961 4075.

Kate Williams

KIMCHI SPICY SAUERKRAUT recipe to get you started. 

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