Fermented foods are unquestionably one of the best food items for modern men and women. The fermentation process, one of the oldest forms of preserving consumable items, is no doubt coming back in style and making people see the health benefits of fermented food options.
Fermentation and the resulting fermented food items deliver tremendous health benefits for individuals as the probiotics in fermented foods help maintain the good bacteria in an individuals gut.
Probiotics can usually be consumed by individuals through fermented foods. Regular consumption of probiotics can lead to enhanced immune systems and promoting a more efficient digestive system. Fortunately, fermented food options do not need to be expensive and can be prepared right at home. In this article, we will look at the top 10 fermented foods to add to your meals and some of the health benefits of fermented foods.
The Health Benefits of Fermented Food Items
As mentioned earlier, fermentation is a time tested process of food preservation before the introduction of modern man to refrigeration and other forms of food preservation. During the fermentation process, fungi, yeast, bacteria, and other microorganisms, help convert certain compounds within food items into acids or alcohol. Starch from vegetables and fruits may be converted into lactic acid which in turn contributes to the preservation of the food item. This conversion of starch to acids and alcohols may one of the primary reasons for the strong sour taste and smell of fermented foods.
People who eat and consume fermented foods or those meals which incorporate fermented foods in them have a lot of advantages to gain from the health benefits of fermented food items as these fermented foods are rich in probiotics also known as good bacteria. These probiotics or good bacteria are essentially credited for the enhancement and improvement of digestive and gut health.
Are Gut or Digestive Bacteria Good or Bad?
People may ask then “Are gut or digestive bacteria good or bad for my health?” The answer is both good and bad bacteria reside in every human being’s gut or digestive system. It is actually just a matter of striking a balance between the two types of bacteria for individuals to attain optimal health. A balance of microorganisms in the gut or a person’s digestive system will improve overall gut health and enhance a person’s immune system.
Balance is the keyword for the microorganisms residing in an individual’s gut as an imbalance in gut bacteria, usually, with the bad bacteria getting the upper hand, individuals may develop dysbiosis, a condition where the microorganisms in the gut are imbalanced resulting constipation, diarrhea and bloating. With today’s available food options, the chance of having dysbiosis is increased with refined sugar being a stape of our diets and with the stressful lives we mostly lead.
Limiting the number of bad food choices and increasing the intake of probiotics can lead to a generally healthy gut for individuals and health-conscious people and consuming increased amounts of fermented foods may give our bodies the much needed probiotic levels required for better health.
Top 10 Fermented Foods to Add to Your Meals for Improved Health and Wellness
Fermented foods have been shown to have numerous health benefits for the digestive system and the immune system. Aside from being healthy and nutritious, the fermented foods listed below can simply be prepared at home for a healthy and delicious meal and snack, to wit:
Sauerkraut is one of the easiest fermented foods to prepare. Simply put some cabbage, caraway seeds and some salt into a jar and have it ferment for around three (3) to ten (10) days. Aside from being delicious and healthy, sauerkraut for last for several months due to the fermentation process during its preparation.
2. Pickled Vegetables
When people hear pickling, they usually think of sugar and vinegar as the main ingredients for pickling or fermenting. But when doing vegetable pickling, individuals can actually rely on the natural microorganisms present in the layers of the vegetable’s surface. An example of this is lactobacillus and lactobacillus can go through the natural process of lacto-fermentation and the pickling of almost any type of vegetables such as radishes and carrots.
Kimchi is a popular Korean dish and is considered the traditional sauerkraut of Korean people. kimchi is also created through the lacto-fermentation process. The spiciness of kimchi can also be modified and adjusted depending on the number of chilis added by the person preparing it.
One may be surprised that yogurt is included in this list of fermented food items that can be prepared at home. This starts with a base of store-bought yogurt. The yogurt can then be mixed in with some milk. The person preparing this fermented food at home then just needs to wait for the fermentation process to kick in before enjoying this homemade yogurt.
Instead of buying expensive kombucha at a store, one can prepare kombucha right in the comfort of their own homes. This homemade kombucha can also be made more interesting with different flavors using different fruits and teas.
Cheese is actually a well known fermented food. It can also be made at home with the basic skills of fermenting milk. Aside from being a popular fermented food, cheese is also delicious and exceptionally tasty.
7. Fermented juice
Individuals are encouraged to experiment with the different fruits to ferment for juice. One can start with fermented apple juice which is relatively acceptable to the taste buds of most people.
8. Fermented Ketchup
This is another food item that may surprise some individuals reading the list. Fermented ketchup will also be based on mastering the act of fermenting tomatoes. Fermented ketchup can actually taste better than store-bought ketchup.
9. Sourdough Bread
Sourdough bread can also be a great homemade fermented food for individuals wanting to prepare their own food at home and desiring to improve their gut health and their immune system response.
10. Drinking Vinegar
Drinking kinds of vinegar can be an exciting way to consume fermented foods as it can be mixed with other available flavors such as fruit and vegetables