The Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
As time progresses and technology continues to take over the world, it seems the general population is gaining a new regard for the health and wellness practices of old. Primal diets and functional movements are common now, whereas 10 years ago, the mention of such ideas would raise eyebrows. Along with functionality and eating like our early ancestors, the appreciation for fermented foods has increased exponentially over the past few years. First, we’ll explore why, and then, we’ll offer you some delicious options that will help get your gut health on point.
So, what’s so chat-worthy about fermented foods?
1. They provide a yummy way to get prebiotics and probiotics.
Pre- and probiotics ensure the healthy bacteria in the gut stay high in numbers and ready to fight off any illnesses that try to invade it. This is crucial, as many healthy professionals will agree that illness begins in the gut. Probiotics are believed to aid in digestion, help keep you on your feet during the months when everyone else is battling the cold and flu, and even reverse certain diseases.
2. They help you digest your food.
And better digestion means your body gets more nutrients. If the bacteria in your gut aren’t properly balanced, no matter how healthy your diet may be, your digestive system won’t have the ability to absorb all the vitamins and minerals you take it, thus stifling its ability to efficiently distribute those nutrients throughout your body. What good is an A-1 diet if you can’t use its vitamins and minerals? Not only do fermented foods help you use more nutrients; they also add nutrients to some foods that didn’t have them before they were fermented!
3. They may help avoid common debilitating illnesses.
And who wouldn’t want to do what they can to avoid type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or IBS? That’s right, everybody wants to avoid that stuff. Now, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of fermented foods.
1. Can you say kombucha?! It’s all the rage nowadays, so much so that folks are skipping the every-other-daily run to the grocery store to brew it right in their own kitchens. Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea that has its roots in ancient China, where it was believed to relieve arthritis and ward off certain types of cancer. Today, people use it to treat anything from acne to autoimmune diseases, as it’s a staple in self-healing diets. You can find it in grocery stores everywhere in an abundance of flavors. If you’re the adventurous type and decide to make it yourself, make sure you do your research and do it right; you don’t want your kombucha making you sick.
2. The second fermented favorite on the list is kimchi, the spicy pickled vegetables from Korea. Usually made with cabbage or radishes, it has become a common side dish in restaurants across the United States over recent years. It’s high in fiber and vitamin C, promotes digestion, and regulates cholesterol. Kimchi may also contribute to beautiful hair, skin, and nails, so eat up!
3. Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about pickles! You probably didn’t even know you were enjoying this wonderfully fermented food, because it’s such an integral part of American life. But not only are these fermented cucumbers delicious and refreshing, they’re wildly good for you, too. They’ve been said to heal ulcers and protect the liver, and drinking the juice after an especially strenuous workout will knock that lactic acid right out.
Other fermented foods include tempeh, kefir, and sauerkraut. So find one or two you love, and begin to incorporate them into your daily meal plan. Your tummy will thank you!