Crawling with live bacteria, and often stinky. Fermented foods are popping up in your local health stores more frequently.
The sour, complex flavours of foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and kefir aid in brain and gut health.
Regular consumption of foods such as sauerkraut can aid in healing health issues such as leaky gut and IBS, and can aid in better absorption of nutrients, weight loss, healthier skin, and boosted immunity.
Fermented foods go through a natural process of lactofermentation – in which natural bacteria feeds on the sugar and starch in the food – to create lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
4 Fermented Foods to Try:
Tamari is a traditional Japanese sauce made from fermented soybeans. The fermenting process takes 18 months to 2 years, and unlike the traditional soy sauce, this fermented, gluten-free soy sauce adds just a little more depth to sauces, soups and stews, and isn’t just for Asian dishes.
While similar in colour and flavor to soy sauce, people select tamari because it’s gluten-free, and thanks to the higher concentration of fermented soybeans, is thicker and richer so you will need to use much less.
Milk Kefir: This tangy fermented drink – a cross between milk and yoghurt – can be found in your local grocer. The milk kefir is colored grains that are used to ferment milk. The milk used for kefir is typically cow or goat, as it contains a denser nutrient profile, but for those who are vegan coconut milk can be used.
Kefir grains contain more than 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very rich and diverse food. The microorganisms in these grains help to break down the bad stuff, aka ‘processed foods’, and support the digestive tract which is suitable for those that suffer from digestive issues such as IBS. It has also been suggested that it can help with autoimmune diseases such as eczema, roseca, and acne. Other benefits include weight loss and a lowered risk of osteoporosis.
Kombucha: Coined the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese, this age old fermented tea drink has been around for centuries. This sweetened tea is made by ‘SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).
The benefits of drinking kombucha include digestion, immune support, detoxification, liver support, weight loss, increased energy, improved mood, and assistance with nutrient assimilation. A note of caution: due to its naturally high acid content, your dentist may not be too thrilled with you sipping this all day. When drinking, use a straw and rinse your mouth (don’t brush) with water after consumption.
Kimchi; A traditional fermented Korean delicacy made typically from cabbage and a range of spices and seasonings. This spicy fermented side dish can be traced back to the Korean 7th century, with the heat and other spices being added in approximately the 18th century.
Kimchi is a low calorie, high-fiber, nutrient packed powerhouse. The numerous health benefits include digestion, detoxification, constipation prevention, weight loss, strengthening the immune system and maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels.
- Jayabalan, P. Subathradevi, S. Marimuthu, M. Sathishkumar, K. Swaminathan, Changes in free-radical scavenging ability of kombucha tea during fermentation, Food Chemistry, Volume 109, Issue 1, 1 July 2008, Pages 227-234, ISSN 0308-8146,