All living creatures consists of bacteria. Humans are no exception. The human body is host to an elaborate indigenous amount of bacteria. In our bodies these bacteria outnumber the cells containing our DNA by more than 10:1. Most of these bacteria, in fact around 100 trillion of them, are found in our intestines. These bacteria play an amazingly important role in our health. We are only just realising how important they actually are. These bacteria break down nutrients we would not be able to digest otherwise. They regulate the balance between energy use and storage. They produces life important nutrients like B-vitamins and vitamin K. They stop bad bacteria from multiply. These amazing bacteria need to be in a certain shape and way for us to be healthy and vital. We need to live in symbiosis with these bacteria as they are our very good friends. Various things can alter the balance of this symbiosis and change the bacteria. Diet, stress, trauma, dehydration are a few reasons to why the bacteria in our bodies can change.
To include Fermented foods in your diet daily is probably one of the best things you can do for your digestive health.
Our intestines are not always balanced and working as well as they should. They can easily become damaged in one way or another. If our digestion is not on top form already, food can enter the intestines without being fully digested or assimilated causing trouble. Candida can cause a lot of problems in the intestines and all over our digestive system. If we eat medication that kills bacteria it may also kill the good bacteria inside us. Or if we are allergic or intolerant to food then it will come into our system and irritate the mucous membranes and in the long run it will cause all sorts of problems for us. If your diet is high in sugar (wheat, white and processed food) this can irritate the membranes and also feed Candida bacteria. Antibiotics will kill bad bacteria but it will also kill good bacteria. If we don’t have enough good bacteria our digestion will not work as well as it should and it is difficult for us to heal on our own. The appendix (that we for a long time thought did not have a function) has a digestive function and helps us balance the good bacteria. If we do not have an appendix it becomes even more important to complement with good bacteria in our diet. To complement with good bacteria in our diet is very important. To eat fermented or cultured foods are a brilliant way of doing this.
The digestive system is closely linked to the rest of our body and problems in the digestive system can cause problems in other parts of our bodies. It is said that 80% of our immune system and so a big part of our health sits in the guts. It is also getting more and more apparent that our guts are linked even with our emotional and psychological health. Often depression, memory problems, mood swings, fatigue and more can be made better if we heal our guts. It’s a known fact that ADHD and similar diagnoses benefits from treating our digestive system.
To include Fermented foods in your diet daily is probably one of the best things you can do for your digestive health. And if your digestive system works well your whole wellbeing is going to benefit. Fermented foods are a powerful aid to digestion and protects against disease. Fermented vegetables have incredible health benefits.
Fermentation or Lacto-fermentation is a process where the fermentation bacteria change the carbohydrates in the food into a lactic acid. In other words the natural bacteria formed in the fermentation process feeds on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This lactic acid will make the food more digestible and it will lower the foods pH wich will stop the food from going off so it is a great way of preserving our food. A preservation method that has been used for 1000nds of years in fact. This fermentation process also increases the nutrients in the food. For example B vitamins including folic acid and B12 will increase. The lacto bacteria together with enzymes produced are what makes fermented foods so fantastic for our digestive health. The taste of the food also changes making it aromatic and slightly tangy or acidic in taste. The taste is delicious but for some people it might be an acquired taste.
Cabbage is especially good to ferment. Firstly it contains similar bacteria as our intestines do. It also contains a lot of glutamine that is an amazing mucous membrane healer. Last but not least it is part of the brassica family that are incredibly good for preventing serious disease like cancer. There is a component called indol 3 carbinol that does this. It cleans out cancerogenic hormones out of our bodies.
The Incredible Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
1. Makes nutrients in the food more bioavailable (as pre-digested)
2. Generates additional nutrients and removes anti nutrients or toxins
3. It promotes the friendly intestinal bacteria and restore proper balance in your guts
4. Stops bloating, gases and prevents constipation.
5. Promotes our immune system and fight unfriendly bacteria
6. Aids Digestion
7. Probiotic Effect – Various strains of probiotics are formed in the fermentation process. The most effective, sustainable and cheapest probiotic there is.
8. Rich in Digestive Enzymes
9. Increases all B-vitamins. Even B12 is produced
10. Increases omega 3 content of the food
11. It contains loads of vitamin C
12. And lots of antioxidants
13. Produces and increases acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter essential for memory and has a calming effect and can lower blood pressure.
14. Makes us take up minerals like iron and zink better. Both very important for our blood and also immunity. Also iodine and vitamin A makes easier to take up.
15. Lowers the GI or GL of the meal we are eating together with the fermented vegetables.
16. Amazing blood sugar balancer. A balanced blood sugar is very important for our health. For example it increases energy and vitality. This also means that you will not put on weight so easily.
Come join me to learn about this incredible art in one of my fermentation workshops. We will make sauerkraut, kimchi, root krauts, relishes, salsas, kefir, kombucha and much more. This is a practical workshop and we learn while we make. And as i am a nutritionist we also talk and learn about the nutrition and science bit of fermentation and culturing of foods.