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People in ancient times promoted food fermentation due to its effectiveness in increasing the shelf life of the food and preserving it for consumption over a long period. It also added a hint of flavor to whatever eatable underwent this process. For a long time, fermentation was considered as a simple process which only preserved food. However, the technological development and scientific research of the modern period unveiled the many health benefits of fermented foods.

Humans have been consuming fermented vegetables and drinks for thousands of years, but it is only now that we know how beneficial they are to us.

Today, it has become a trend among health enthusiasts to include a fermented food in their diet. If you’re new to food fermentation, we’ll give you a rundown on what it is, why you need it, and how you can add it to your diet.

About Fermented Foods

Chances are you’re already consuming at least one or two fermented foods regularly. It can be anything from cheese and yogurt to sourdough bread and wine in your daily nutrition.

At its most basic, a fermented food is one in which the growth of “good bacteria” is promoted. They’re allowed to sit and age. During this time microorganisms like yeast and bacteria breakdown the starch and sugar in the food. This gives the fermented food its typical sour smell and taste.

Fermentation Process and What It Adds to the Food

Our bodies have a variety of bacteria responsible for maintaining a healthy gut and digestion. This includes the good bacteria (probiotics) that promote gut health and the bad bacteria that cause digestion troubles.

The process of fermentation leads to a growth in the amount of good bacteria that we will consume from a particular food.

Bacteria and yeast transform food carbs like sugar and starch into alcohol and acids. The byproducts of this breakdown are much healthier in comparison to the raw material.

It also enriches the food with probiotics that are known to improve digestive function, bolster immune function, and promote good overall health.

The probiotic-rich fermented foods, improve the balance between good and bad bacteria.

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How Fermented Foods Benefit Us

The obvious health benefits of fermentation are upheld by the fact that this technique which was originally used for food preservation is still used in the modern times.

Today, foods are fermented not for preservation, but to increase their nutritional value.

Gut Health

The probiotic-rich fermented foods improve the balance between good and bad bacteria. As our gut health relies heavily on how efficiently the bacteria work, it is important to have a larger amount of friendly bacteria.

Digestion and AbsorptionImmune System

Since the gut plays a crucial role in deciding a body’s immunity, it is only natural that a healthy gut would make our immune system stronger. It also keeps inflammation-causing microbes from growing and helps in recovering quickly from a common cold and fever.

Mental Health

There is a reason why we feel irritated when hungry and happy when we’re full. This is because the gut and the brain are linked, and the former has a huge effect on our mood and emotions.

Serotonin is also produced in the gut and there is ample research suggesting that a healthy gut equals a healthy mind.

Fermented Foods to Add to Your Diet

Be it a delicious snack or a tasty beverage, you can easily add any of the following fermented foods/drinks to your diet every day.

Fermented Cabbage – Sauerkraut and Kimchi

Cabbages are known for their impressive nutritional value, high water content, and low calories. Through fermentation, the vegetable gets loaded with value and, not to mention, flavor.

Both the dishes are made by the pickling effect of fermentation and their preparation is very simple. Kimchi also includes a healthy mix of other vegetables and is usually spicier than sauerkraut.

Fermented Soybeans – Miso and Tempeh

Soybeans have long been coveted in the health and fitness sector due to their high protein factor. Miso is a paste while tempeh is made in a cake form. Both are rich in proteins, minerals, and folic acid.

Bread

You can swap your regular bread for any bread made from fermented dough. Sourdough bread is easier to digest and healthier than other breads.

Yogurt and Lassi

Yogurt is a great way of consuming the benefits of milk while skipping the lactose sugar in it. Lassi is a popular yogurt-based drink, usually consumed before or after meals.

Kombucha

A popular healthy drink, kombucha is known for its distinct sour taste. It is made by fermenting black tea.

Kefir

Similar to drinkable yogurt, kefir is a cultured drink made from milk and kefir grains. The probiotic drink has a high mineral and vitamin content.

Conclusion

The information above is to help you make sure your body is getting what it needs to stay healthy. The proper intake of fermented food and probiotics will help improve your life in more ways than one.

But before making changes to your diet, it’s best to consult a doctor or nutritionist, especially if you have health issues.

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About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Greg Lewerer

Director of Creative Strategy

Greg is Quotacy’s Director of Creative Strategy. He has an eclectic past from working on movie scripts to creating ad campaigns for major brands. His love of creative solutions drove him to strategy, and he now uses his powers to help families protect their loved ones. Outside of work, Greg spends his time off the grid hunting, fishing, camping, biking, hiking, and walking his dogs.