These guys are no joke. A nutritional powerhouse. Experts in health and wellness are calling fermented foods "a newly recognized organ".
For ancient cultures around the world, living without modern medicine and refrigeration, meant using fermentation as a simple means of food preservation. It also served as an integral way to keep people healthy.
Why Eat Fermented Foods?
1. Probiotics (beneficial bacteria)
2. Removes toxins from the body
3. Promotes clear skin
4. Strengthens your immune system
5. Reduces gas/bloating/IBS
6. Improves digestion
7. Helps the body absorb nutrients
8. Helps reduce inflammation
9. Increases energy levels
10. Helps balance hormones
11. They taste delicious!
Moral of the story, healthy gut. Healthy life!
WHAT IS FERMENTATION?
In the fermentation process, food is preserved by natural bacteria feeding on the sugar and starch, creating lactic acid. The by-products are beneficial bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, probiotics and Omega-3 fatty acids. This specific bacteria enhances the health of our entire body including digestion, immunity to illness, even the power to reverse some diseases. Without enough of this healthy bacteria in our bodies, we begin to experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, allergies, asthma, digestive issues, skin problems and more.
WHY DID TRADITIONAL FERMENTATION DISAPPEAR?
Sadly, many fermented foods that existed 50 years ago are no longer the same. Their medicinal effects have been eradicated by pasteurization and attempts to recreate the bacteria in laboratories. When fermented foods are heated (via pasteurization), the good (and bad) bacteria our bodies need to keep us healthy are wiped out.
We also contribute to the destruction of the good bacteria when we are stressed, keep poor diets, take antibiotics, consume sugar, processed foods, preservatives, pesticides and chemicals. It is crucial that we replenish our bodies with good bacteria to lead a happy and healthy life.
Not only do fermented foods help with a multitude of health issues, they are delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet. This is my favorite part and why I created The Vida Well; bring awareness to the masses and provide likable (and often, mouthwatering) solutions. Eye my fermented foods "how to's" and "why's" just below.
FERMENTED FOODS TORIE LOVES
Kombucha A fizzy drink with a long list of flavors to choose from. I like GT Synergy's Ginger flavor. Make sure your choice isn’t loaded with sugar, 4g is a good benchmark.
Sauerkraut AKA fermented cabbage. High in dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, K and B vitamins. Also a great source of iron, copper, calcium, sodium, manganese and magnesium. This powerhouse has a variety of beneficial effects on your health: boosts digestive health, aids circulation, fights inflammation, strengthens bones and reduces cholesterol levels.
Miso Miso adds a salty, umami quality to any sauce or spread. Add a tablespoon to salad dressings, hummus, stir frys, soups, dips, or other homemade condiments. Unpasteurized (unheated) miso is best.
Kefir Make this all different ways (my favorite is coconut water kefir).
Kimchi This spicy Korean dish is often called a beauty food and it also enhances digestion. Order it the next time you are dining at an Asian restaurant.
Coconut Yogurt A dairy-free treat that works a healthy dose of enzymes and probiotics into your daily life.
Apple Cider Vinegar Real, raw, unpasteurized ACV is one of my all-time favorite fermented foods. Look for “unpasteurized” or “living food" on labels. Bragg or Solana Gold are brands I recommend. Thumbs down on Trader Joe’s version, it's pasteurized.
HOW TO INCORPORATE FERMENTED FOODS IN YOUR DIET
Start with food version like I listed above over supplements. Always. They are found at your local stores, cafés, or better yet, make them yourself. I items from the list above to my egg bowls, salads, tacos, or enjoy them solo. If you can incorporate 1-2 tsp of a fermented food every day, you are sitting pretty.
WANT TO MAKE IT AT HOME? CLICK HERE TO SEE MY SIMPLE KRAUT RECIPE!
THE FERMENTED FOOD SUBSTITUTE
Use a probiotic. Here are my recommended supplements for traveling.
- Metagenics - Spectrum and Balanced
- New Chapter
- Bio K
HOW POWERFUL ARE FERMENTED FOODS?
“Captain James Cook was famously credited with conquering scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) by bringing barrels of sauerkraut with him to sea and feeding it to his crews, daily.”
Great Book: Sandor Ellix Katz, The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World