Raise your hand if you eat fermented foods. Did you order kimchee at a Korean restaurant lately? If you answered yes, you did your body good. Kimchi, a traditional fermented side dish made of vegetables like cabbage, radish, scallion or cucumber, has been around for centuries. This preservation technique, which increases shelf life, flavor and the texture of certain foods, can deliver millions of friendly bacteria to the digestive tract, which can aid immunity, digestive wellness, and healing from injuries.
“The most common fermentation practice is also known as lactic acid fermentation or lacto-fermentation, where a bacteria slowly decomposes organic substances and carbohydrates in foods to lactic acid,” said Shaistha Zaheeruddin, a registered dietitian and founder of Modest Nutrition in Milton, Ontario, in an interview with the Huffington Post. “This is why foods tend to have a saltier or sour taste.” Want to make your own sauerkraut at home? Just add salt to cabbage and seal it tightly in jar and let it ferment for a few days. The shelf-life for refrigerated food products containing probiotics ranges anywhere from three to six weeks. Here are 10 reasons to begin consuming more fermented food today.
1. Chock Full of Probiotics
Eating fermented foods and drinks like Kefir and Kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system.
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2. Boosts Immune System
The live bacteria found in fermented food has been found to strengthen the immune system. It increases the amount of antibodies fighting infectious disease in your body, helping to reduce chronic inflammation.
3. Helps You Absorb Nutrients
The proper balance of gut bacteria and digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. Pair that with a healthy diet and see your health improve.
4. Your Skin Will Look Great
If you suffer from eczema, acne, or other skin issues, load up on the kimchee. Adding more fermented foods to your diet can ease symptoms since healthy bacteria reduces inflammation.
5. Can Treat Vaginal Inflammation
Studies have found that a type of bacteria called lactobacillus found in probiotics, can improve the cure rate of vaginal inflammation caused by bacterial vaginosis.
6. Tolerated by Lactose Intolerants
Those with a milk intolerance can often tolerate yogurt and cheese. Why? Because the lactose (the carbohydrate found in dairy) is broken down by an enzyme released by the fermenting bacteria.
7. Budget Friendly
Stop buying those expensive supplements and high-end raw health food and make some inexpensive healthy drinks like Water Kefir and Kombucha just by using sea salts, tea, sugar and other affordable ingredients.
8. Puts You in a Better Mood
It’s becoming clearer to health researchers just how connected the gut (aka “your body’s second brain”) and the rest of the body are. Studies show that when there’s chaos in your gut, it can manifest itself in your not so good mood.
9. Reduce the Risk of Cancer
A study found that fermented cheeses contained a large amount of Vitamin K2 and can reduce your risk of prostate cancer by 35%. Whip out that Gouda and some whole wheat crackers!
10. Simple Way to Preserve Food
Guacamole barely lasts a day in the fridge, but sauerkraut, pickles, beets and other veggies preserved by lacto-fermentation allows you to store them for weeks without losing the nutrients.