It’s likely that you’ve eaten fermented foods before, maybe without even knowing it. These foods include sauerkraut, pickles, ginger, cheeses, yogurt, and kimchi. You might have also tried another, special fermented food called Natto. Natto is fermented soybeans, a unique traditional food from Japan which is high in protein and contains the natural enzyme, Nattokinase.
However, are you aware of the process behind creating these yummy foods, and some of their benefits to the body when eaten in regular, small quantities?
Fermentation is the process whereby beneficial bacteria, such as lactobacilli and yeasts, break down the sugars, starches, and proteins in food – turning them into lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and enzymes, which in turn produce more beneficial bacteria. Creating this healthy balance of gut flora is critical for our immune health, nutrient absorption, weight control, detoxification, and more.
Fermentation also improves the flavour of foods, enhances their digestibility, and preserves them.
Importantly, proper fermentation is done with salt instead of vinegar. Salt aids in the activation of enzymes and will inhibit the growth of putrefying bacteria. The salt should be non-iodized and unprocessed, as this kind of salt contains minerals that help the lactobacilli grow.
Fermented foods should be consumed regularly in small amounts for maximum benefits. Some of the benefits of fermented foods include:
- Production of vitamin C and folic acid
- Aid in the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper
- Create the beneficial bacteria which aid in detoxification, improve the immune system, and reduce growth of harmful yeasts, bacteria, and parasites
- Support the digestion of foods eaten in the same meal through enzyme production and lowing the pH of the contents of the stomach!
Some fermented foods, such as pickled ginger, sauerkraut, and unsweetened coconut yogurt, are also a component of the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP). Within this diet, foods consumed allow the immune system to rest and the gut to repair.
Learn more about this diet and other ways to conquer autoimmunity illnesses in our free upcoming workshop by registering below!