While most food experts purport fresh food as the healthiest choice, research suggests that trend may be shifting at least slightly. While fresh food is among the healthiest, a new group of foods has been identified as equally beneficial – fermented foods. Fermentation is a process that allows foods to steep, converting natural sugars and carbs into bacteria-boosting agents with a variety of health benefits.
What are Fermented Foods?
Fermentation is considered one of the oldest forms of food preservation; however, this process does more than preserve food. During the process, food is exposed to bacteria and yeast that stimulate the growth of microorganisms. This exposure allows the beneficial microorganisms to overtake the harmful ones, resulting in a nutrient rich food.
The process often results in interesting flavors, textures and smells, but the benefits of these foods far outweigh these differences. Common fermented foods include sauerkraut, kefir, pickles, yogurt, misa, kimchi and others.
3 Fermented Foods With Health Benefits
Almost any food can be fermented to render healthful benefits; however, some foods are used more often than others. Kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt are among the most common and most healthful fermented foods. These foods render specific health benefits and should be incorporated into the daily diet.
Kombucha is a carbonated or fizzy, fermented black tea. This beverage offers a variety of healthful properties and is considered one of the most powerful fermented foods. As it contains between four and seven microorganisms in each bottle, kombucha helps build an especially strong gut and immune system.
More than just a New Year’s tradition, sauerkraut should be a part of the regular diet. In essence, the common topping is fermented cabbage that has a strong effect on overall health. Regular consumption of sauerkraut has been tied to increased brain health and diminished depression and anxiety, likely because a tremendous connection exists between the health of the brain and the gut.
Basically any form of yogurt is considered a fermented food; however, not all yogurt is created equal. Greek and regular yogurt are dairy forms, which makes them more acidic and harder to digest. Coconut yogurt is likely one of the best forms to consume regularly, but yogurt in any form delivers a powerful punch of enzymes and probiotics to the diet.
While few realize it, the gut is actually the center of the immune system. As such, consuming fermented foods directly improves health and readily treats a wide range of conditions.
Continue reading to learn tips from Earth Clinic readers who have used different fermented food and drink to heal their ailments!