Benefits of Fermented foods

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Eating fermented foods has so many benefits to your gut health and well being. Read more to learn the benefits and also some of the best choices of fermented foods you can eat!

Angela of Grassfed Mama shares healthy tips for busy moms.
Angela of Grassfed Mama shares healthy tips for busy moms.

Benefits of Fermented Foods

What are fermented foods?

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Yogurt, grass-fed cheese, pickles, sauerkraut, fermented bread like sourdough, kombucha, kefir, kimchi, olives all are traditionally fermented foods.

Modern Fermented Foods

Modern companies have found ways to cut down on the fermentation process by use of chemicals and vinegars, thus removing the beneficial factors of fermented foods. Olives are now treated with a lye solution then packed in a salt solution when canned instead of going through the fermentation process.

So even if you are eating pickles on your hamburger, you probably aren’t getting the added benefits (besides commercial pickles usually have added preservatives) . Yogurt is usually low fat and loaded with sugar (two things that make it a very unhealthy option).

We can find a good quality full fat greek yogurt these days with live probiotics in them. We add fruit to it ourselves for a little sweetness.

What are the benefits of fermentation?

By eating fermented foods we are naturally adding good bacterial into our system – a traditional probiotic. I have mentioned before the added benefits of probiotics for strengthening our immune systems and keeping our gut healthy.

Eating fermented foods improves digestion, helps decrease the phytates in foods that prevent nutrients from being absorbed (soaking grains anyone?), adds nutrients to the food, helps us absorb more nutrients from the other foods eaten with it.

And a little goes a long way with fermented foods! You can use them as a condiment and get the beneficial properties.

Since most commercial brands are speeding up the process of fermentation, look for all natural brands or make it yourself.

Popular Fermented foods for your Health

Fermented foods are a great source of probiotics, which can improve digestion, boost immunity, and even help with weight loss. Here are some popular fermented foods for improved health:

1. **Yogurt:** This is one of the most common sources of probiotics. It’s made by fermenting milk with lactic acid bacteria.

2. **Kefir:** Similar to yogurt, kefir is a fermented milk drink. It’s made by adding kefir grains to milk.

3. **Sauerkraut:** This is fermented cabbage and it’s a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

4. **Kimchi:** This is a Korean dish that’s made by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria.

5. **Kombucha:** This is a fermented black or green tea drink. It’s made by adding specific strains of bacteria, yeast, and sugar to black or green tea and then allowing it to ferment for a week or more.

6. **Tempeh:** This is a fermented soybean product. It’s a great source of protein and it’s often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan meals.

7. **Miso:** This is a Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a type of fungus called koji.

8. **Pickles:** These are cucumbers that have been pickled in a solution of salt and water. They are left to ferment for some time, using their own naturally present lactic acid bacteria.

Remember, while fermented foods are generally healthy, they can also be high in salt and cause bloating in some people. It’s always best to consume them in moderation.

Homemade Fermented Foods

My sister has made homemade pickles before and both of us have made our own yogurt using a crockpot. It is pretty neat when you can make something at home that you thought you could only buy.

Making fermented foods at home can be a fun and rewarding process. Here are some popular homemade fermented foods:

1. **Sauerkraut:** This fermented cabbage dish is easy to make at home. All you need is cabbage and salt.

2. **Kimchi:** This spicy Korean dish is made by fermenting cabbage and other vegetables with chili pepper and other seasonings.

3. **Yogurt:** Making homemade yogurt can be a simple process with the right equipment. You just need milk and a starter culture.

4. **Kombucha:** This fermented tea beverage requires a bit more effort to make at home, but the process can be quite interesting. You’ll need tea, sugar, and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).

5. **Sourdough Bread:** While it takes a bit of time and patience, making your own sourdough starter and bread can be a rewarding process.

6. **Pickles:** You can easily make your own pickles at home with cucumbers, salt, and water. You can also add garlic and dill for flavor.

7. **Kefir:** This fermented milk drink is made using kefir grains. It’s a bit like a drinkable yogurt.

8. **Miso:** While it’s a bit more complex, you can make your own miso paste at home using soybeans, salt, and koji (a type of mold).

Remember, when making fermented foods at home, it’s important to keep everything clean to avoid contamination. And always use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best results.

What are your favorite fermented foods and how are you eating them?

Angela the writer of Grassfed Mama
Angela the writer of Grassfed Mama

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  1. Hmmm. You’ve got me thinking! i do eat a lot of yogurt, and I love greek yogurt above all. I buy good quality and really don’t find it expensive given how versatile a food it is, but I’ve also been thinking about making my own. I used to…and just got lazy! I love olives and sauerkraut, too, but just didn’t think of these as fermented! Of course they are…I want to think about this a bit more, and see what else I might add to my diet! Thank you! Debra

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