Have you noticed more people around you talking about fermented foods, the fermentation process and taking courses to learn more?
Why fermented foods?
This ancient culinary system predates the pyramids and provides a powerhouse of nutrition to protect you from modern ailments from irritable bowel syndrome, low immunity to cardiac problems including atrial flutter!
Traditional fermented foods are some of the most nutrient-dense available. They contain beneficial strains of bacteria which are necessary for our overall health and as far as fermentation goes, provide a role in food preservation and health. As bacteria consume the natural sugars in dairy and vegetables, they multiply and make lactic acid, which produces a sour taste in fermented dairy, like yogurt.
Beneficial bacteria assist digestion, boost immunity in both children and adults alike, and helps to manufacture and circulate neurotransmitters important for brain activity and moods!
Examples of fermented foods
Korea’s ‘national food’ is made from pickled cabbage or radish and a mix of chillies, ginger and garlic. A potent source of the healthy bacteria lactobacilli, high in vitamin C, fibre, and beta-carotene, it helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Some research suggests fermented cabbage is more effective in fighting cancer than raw or cooked cabbage. One caveat, however: kimchi can be high in salt, so only a small amount is recommended.
This traditional fermented drink can be made with any milk – cow, sheep, goat or coconut, water or apple juice – and lays down a foundation of clean mucus in the gut, giving beneficial organisms a place to thrive. Kefir contains probiotic micro-organisms, protein, vitamins (especially B12) and minerals. These nutrients are pre-digested, making them more easily tolerated by those with weak digestion, the elderly and weaning infants. It has a toning effect on the colon and contains beneficial yeast and bacteria with antibiotic properties which help establish and maintain a strong immune system.
This paste, made from fermented soy beans, has been central to Japanese cooking since the seventh century. Miso is high in protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Like kefir, miso’s nutrients are pre-digested making them more easily absorbed. Miso strengthens the immune system, and its isoflavones help reduce menopausal hot flushes. Choose unpasteurised, non-GMO soy miso to get the benefits of the live microflora.
Sauerkraut – which literally means sour greens – is made from shredded fermented cabbage. To make your own, shred cabbage and pack tightly in an airtight glass container, leaving room at the top for them to expand. Leave it at room temperature for several days to let the friendly bacteria in the vegetables lower the pH, producing a more acidic environment for bacteria to reproduce. Once they are ‘pickled’, you can slow down the bacterial activity by refrigerating the mix.