For centuries, before the introduction of home refrigerators in the early 1900s, people used fermentation as a way to preserve food. Preserving foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in that way prevents them from spoiling and also stimulates the growth of natural bacteria – those gut-boosting probiotics. Fermentation can also increase the nutritional quality of certain foods. When you consume fermented foods, their beneficial microbes settle in your intestines, helping to deal with harmful bacteria and toxins. Eating just a tablespoon or two of fermented foods a few times a week is sufficient for most people. Kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are four awesome fermented foods that you may want to try if you haven’t yet.
Full-fat kefir, an example of fermented dairy, is made with cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or sheep’s milk. It can contain up to thirty-four strains of bacteria per serving. Just steer clear of the varieties with added sugar. Great for smoothies!
Plain, Full-Fat Yogurt
With plain, full-fat yogurt, you get two super healthy probiotics, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, among others. Go for plain yogurt made from grass-fed animals’ milk (from cows, goats, or sheep).
You can also make your own yogurt. In a previous post, I mentioned the “DIY Antiaging Yogurt.” You can find the recipe in Boundless, by Ben Greenfield. This recipe is originally from cardiologist Dr. William Davis, whose blog is at wheatbellyblog.com This “L. reuteri yogurt” is fairly easy to make on a regular basis, and definitively worth checking out!
Sauerkraut, a type of fermented cabbage, offers twenty times the amount of vitamin C you would find in fresh cabbage and it has a high amount of lactobacilli. Make sure the one you buy is made with healthy local or organic ingredients. You can also make your own; it’s a very easy recipe. I love putting some sauerkraut in my salads.
Kimchi is very similar to sauerkraut, but a whole lot spicier. Originally from South Korea, it is fermented Chinese cabbage to which you add seasonings and spices like garlic, ginger, onion, sea salt, red pepper flakes, chili peppers, and fish sauce. You usually let it ferment from three days to two weeks.
Fermented foods bring a wide array of beneficial bacteria to the gut. For instance, they help with recalibrating stomach acids and enhancing the release of the enzymes that aid the body absorb nutrients more efficiently. Fermented foods strengthen the immune system. They also can aid with balancing insulin levels, which makes weight management easier. The above list is a nice introduction to fermented foods. There are many more of course. Which fermented food is your favorite?
Until next time!
Axe, Josh. Keto Diet : Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease. New York, Little, Brown Spark, 2019, pp. 68–70.
Lipman, Dr Frank. “Heal Your Gut with Fabulous Fermented Foods.” Frank Lipman MD, 12 Aug. 2019, drfranklipman.com/2019/08/12/heal-your-gut-with-fabulous-fermented-foods/. Accessed 7 Nov. 2021.
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