If you watch TV you probably have heard about at least one benefit of fermented foods. These foods improve digestion. One of the most popular fermented foods today is yogurt. Or perhaps you have heard of a very popular fermented drink called kombucha.
Advertisements speak to the benefits of eating yogurt or drinking kombucha as a way to reduce gas and bloating, and to improve of digestive health.
What are fermented foods?
These are foods that have gone through the lacto-fermentation process. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the putrefecation or rotting of food by bacteria.
The sugars and starches in vegetables are converted into lactic acid by many different species of lactic-acid-producing bacteria, lactobacilli that are present on all living things. The lacto-fermentation process preserves foods and at the same time creates an abundance of beneficial micro-organisms collectively called probiotics.
What are examples of fermented foods?
Most traditional cultures have some fermented foods as part of their daily eating plan. For example, Italians eat it in their antipasto, Japanese eat miso or tempeh, Eastern Europeans eat kefir or yogurt, Koreans eat kymchee, East Indians have chutney and Germans eat sauerkraut.
Many other cultures have “pickled” fruits and vegetables that are also considered fermented foods. Eating these foods as part of a balanced diet helps to maintain the normal digestive process for the culture.
Traditionally these micro-organisms, or beneficial flora, would continually be repopulated by the foods that we ate as part of our normal diet.
What secret ingredient improves our overall health?
The answer is probiotics. Probiotics help to balance intestinal flora and support overall nutrition. They aid in digestive health and support immune health.
Probiotics increase the production of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids.