Fermenting foods are a traditional way to preserve food. With the invention of the refrigerator and the ability to have fresh produce year around at our fingertips via the grocery store, fermenting almost became a lost art in some parts of the world. You may ask, "Why does this matter?" The answer: there are a lot of health benefits to eating foods fermented! Yes, you should cook some foods & yes, you should eat some raw. But you should also incorporate fermented foods into your diet! Variety in how we prepare our foods is as nourishing as is the variety of foods we consume.
Benefits of eating fermented foods include:
*Makes nutrients more bioavailable in a type of predigestion
*Good bacteria action increases vitamin content
*Fermenting foods produces good bacteria, yeasts, enzymes and probiotics, antioxidants
*These benefits survive stomach acid
*Kills the bad germs, supports the good, helps maintain balance in the gut
*Some helpful bacteria for your microbiome are transient and some take up residence. The transient binds with "the bad" and escorts it out of your body. The resident bacteria sets up house, establishes & maintains health in the body *Removes-breaks down many pesticides & chemicals from fruits & veggies AND inside of you!
Fermented foods have been known to help:
*Curbs sugar cravings
*Increase immune system
*Promotes brain health
*high blood pressure
*may fight cavities (l.p)
*help lose weight (l.p)
*sharpen memory (l.p)
(*l plantarum, a type of good bacteria, binds to intestinal lining)
Fermented foods are historically found in every culture. You may be surprised to find you already consume some of these important foods. (Remember that variety is your friend. Every diet supports more veggies!)
Kvass, Keifers (Russia/Turkey)
Kombucha (China was credited in some sources and Russia in others)
Ginger Beer (England)
Sourdoughs, cultured milk products including keifer, yogurt and cheese (worldwide)
Our favorite ferments tend to include yogurt, Mexican slaw, immune booster and kombucha. However, we love trying new blends! Once you learn the basics of fermentation, you can have endless variations if you so desire too! Sometimes I don't have all of those things on hand for a "regular favorite" or I want to incorporate an additional health benefit into our diets. For example, I sometimes add bilberry powder for eye health or turmeric-ginger for inflammation. This week I was blessed with a handful of cabbage but I did not have my standard ingredients for my normal ferments. I rummaged through my cupboards & my daughter scouted out what was still left in the garden.
Here is what was birthed in my kitchen yesterday:
#Mexican spin off with cabbage, cilantro, summer squash, onions, garlic and just enough cayenne to know it is there
#AntiV blend of cabbage, dried calendula petals, mullein flowers & garlic
#TDay inspired cinnamon, apple, cabbage & allspice
What fermented foods have you tried? What fermented foods would you like to learn how to eat?
Top picture: Pastured egg with #paleo toast, Immune Boost fermented slaw, fermented carrots and probiotic shot.