Reasons Why You Should Start Eating Fermented Foods
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Fermentation was first practiced back in 7000 BCE in Iraq for the production of cheese. Before the invention of the refrigerator, fermentation was used to preserve food and enhance its nutritive value. It is one of the oldest forms of food processing known today. Then, it gained popularity and was used to produce other types of food and beverages such as bread, wine, beer, kefir, sausages, sauces and yoghurt.
There are several types of fermentations that can occur in liquids and foods; lactic acid fermentation which is one of the oldest fermentation method often used for with fermented milk products, acetic acid fermentation which is the process that commonly use to produce vinegar and alcohol fermentation which is the process to produce alcohol such as wine and beer.
Not only that, thanks to fermentation, probiotics cultures and bacteria used in mainstream food are gaining popularity due to its health benefits. Here are 3 reasons why fermented food should be part of your diet.
1. Fermented foods improve digestive system
Fermented foods are more easily digested compared to non-fermented foods. Our body produces enzymes that aid the process of digestion when we eat. The fermentation process of foods increases the enzyme content which is important for digestion. As we age, our body’s ability to produce enzymes depletes and it depletes faster if our lifestyle consists of low physical activities and a diet high in processed foods or drinks. Raw fermented foods that contain enzymes help to start the process of digestion earlier and reduce the stress for the body to produce the digestive system. Thus, protects us from developing numerous illnesses that are linked to impede digestion such as autoimmune diseases or allergies. Not only that, research shows improvement for those who are suffering from constipation, bloating or severe diarrhea.
2. They are nutritious, delicious and has many health benefits
Many fermented foods have been proven to be healthy and delicious. They are easy to get and make. A few research has shown that probiotic strains found in fermented foods such as Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Besides that, in another research, it shows to help in weight loss and has been associated with lowering the risk of heart diseases by lowering the LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
Sauerkraut is one of the examples of fermented food which is made from fermented cabbage. It has 200 times more vitamin C compared to before it was fermented. Not only that, the nutrition value for vitamin B and Vitamin C, are also increased when milk is fermented. Indian cuisines such as idli, made from fermented rice and lentils, are high in vitamin B which are Thiamin (B1) and Riboflavin (B2). In addition, high amounts of vitamin B in fermented foods could help a great deal for vegetarians and vegans.
3. Fermented foods can protect and prevent us against diseases
Lactic acid bacteria are produced when vegetables and fruits are fermented. This bacteria not only helps in preserving food but also promotes the growth of good and beneficial bacteria in our gut. These bacteria are also known as probiotics as it offers varieties of beneficial bacteria. A healthy gut has a good balance of gut flora and this will influence how healthy and strong our immune system is.
Beside that, the lactic acid produced could help you break down pesticides and the probiotics could help you to break down any heavy metal. Thus, minimising any health risk. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle is to start including fermented foods in your daily diet. Some of the fermented foods include sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, kefir, pickles, miso and if these foods are not available to you, you can also get probiotic supplements with advice from your nutritionist, dietitians or any medical professional.