Rich in pro-biotic bacteria fermented foods add beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system. Soaring in popularity in recent years, fermented food has gained much interest and research into gut health. This month, I’ll talk about fermentation foods and why they’re a great addition to your diet.
This mildly fizzy, slightly sour drink, has become popular with health conscious consumers looking for an alternative to processed fizzy drinks that are often packed with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Made from
sweetened tea and a specific culture known as a scoby, kombucha has a tasty yet distinctively sour taste. Scoby stands for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’. The bacteria and yeasts convert the sugar into ethanol and acetic acid. It is the acetic acid is what gives unique taste. Rich in good for you yeast and bacteria, this tasty drink is often flavoured with fruit or herbs. Find it in your local farmer’s markets and natural food stores.
A fermented milk drink, kefir tastes like drinkable yoghurt. Jam packed full of calcium and pro-biotics, kefir is great by itself or in smoothies. Just like yoghurt, probiotics in kefir help break down lactose, so it may be easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance.
A fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans, miso adds a nice umami flavor to an array of dishes. It's bold, so a little goes a long way (which is good because it's also high in sodium). Miso is typically found in soups, but also makes salad dressings and marinades even more delicious and gut healthy. This is a great fermented foods which is packed full of tasty flavour!
Made from naturally fermented soybeans, tempeh is similar to tofu in that it's a plant-based protein made from soy. However, unlike tofu, tempeh is fermented. It also has a firmer texture and a slightly nuttier flavour profile but it’s a firm favourite of mine! It's a good source of probiotics-and, because it contains all the essential amino acids, it's a complete source of vegetarian protein.
Yogurt is made by heating milk (skim, low fat or whole) to a high temperature and then letting it cool to 110°F. Bacterial cultures are then added and the mixture is left to sit and ferment. This “incubation” period allows the yogurt to thicken, and the bacteria to consume the sugar in the milk (part of the fermentation process). Once thickened, the yogurt is refrigerated and is ready to eat.
Helping to restore gut flora, sauerkraut also helps to reduce some digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation as well as those suffering from conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease. Research has also shown that sauerkraut may also reduce your risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and depression.
One of the biggest benefits of sauerkraut is that it contains enzymes that help the body to break down food into smaller, more digestible molecules. This helps the body to effectively absorb more nutrients.