Fermented foods may not be on most peoples’ radars. Even though they are readily available, most people ignore them. They may seem daunting because they have strong smells or flavors, but they are full of nutrients and probiotics that can promote a healthy digestive system.
Your gut is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Bacteria outnumber cells in your body by about 10 to 1. The goal is to create a balance of good and bad bacteria for a healthy body. The good bacteria help to improve digestion and can even boost immunity. So how do you promote the growth of good bacteria? While there are a few different answers, an easy way to do this is by eating foods packed with probiotics, which are abundant in fermented foods.
What Are Fermented Foods?
Fermentation is one of the oldest techniques of food preservation in the world. Romans ate sauerkraut, Indians continue to drink lassi (a fermented yogurt drink), Bulgarians have been known to eat kefir, and various Asian cultures eat kimchi or other fermented vegetables. These foods go through a lacto fermentation process, which means bacteria feed on sugars and starches in the food. This creates beneficial enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics.
List of Top 7 Fermented Foods You Should Eat:
- Water or Coconut Kefir
- Organic Dill Pickles (non-commercial)
- Raw Coconut Yogurt (non-commercial)
Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods:
Better Absorption of Food: If you have the right balance of good and bad gut bacteria, you can better absorb nutrients from the food you eat. Just because you eat fermented foods does not mean you can eat whatever you want. It means that if you eat healthy food such as fresh fruit and vegetables, your body will better absorb the nutrients from those foods.
Optimize Your Immune System: A healthy gut makes a strong immune system because about 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Probiotics, which you can get from fermented foods, help produce antibodies to fight off pathogens (science words for fighting off germs). A healthy digestive system is great for maintaining optimal health.
Help You Detox: The last things you want in your body are built-up toxins. This is why we always recommend cleansing the body to reboot your system. Because fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria, eating them can help your body naturally eliminate toxins and even heavy metals.
Cost-effectiveness: Why is eating fermented foods cost effective? To get probiotics, most people take probiotic supplements. Fermented foods actually have 100 times more probiotics than supplements. So get your kimchi or kombucha on.
Essential Nutrients: As you know by now, fermented foods are excellent sources of probiotics. They are also rich in nutrients such as vitamin K2, which helps prevent plaque from building up in your arteries. B-vitamins are abundant in fermented foods as well.
Don’t be afraid to try new foods, especially fermented ones. Not only do they taste great, but they are awesome for your health. Remember that not all fermented foods are created equal. It is best to find non-commercial forms of these wonderful foods from a local maker or health food store. You want organic foods as well as foods without chemical additives or sugars.
You can check out our delicious raw pickle recipe here.