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What are Fermented Foods?


What are fermented foods and how to include them in your diet.


Cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for centuries and studies have shown that all of the tribes throughout history that have enjoyed the greatest longevity have included some form of fermented food in their daily diets.



Over the course of the last several decades, the amount of probiotics and enzymes available in the average diet has declined sharply. Food has taken a noticeable turn towards convenience and many age-old traditions have slowly been lost.


Fermented foods contain live, healthy bacteria and enzymes that assist the body’s digestive system. These fermented foods have been through a process of lacto-fermentation, in which the natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food as well as the nutrients in the food while simultaneously creating beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics.


By introducing beneficial bacteria into diet, this immediately helps to create and restore a healthy internal balance in your digestive system and improves overall bowel health.

Probiotics have been proven to assist various diseases including eczema, urinary tract infections, mild allergies, asthma and oral diseases and alleviate food poisoning. Probiotics have also been proven to boost immunity by creating a strong system capable of fighting infection and disease. Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes also allows the body to absorb more nutrients in food. By eating a wholefood diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, healthy carbohydrates and good fats, coupled with high quality fermented foods, the body has the ability to digest, absorb and assimilate all of the beneficial vitamins and minerals that people these days often need to turn to supplements for.


The most commonly known fermented foods include kim chi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, seed cheeses, coconut yoghurt and kefir.


Besides the bevy of benefits that fermented foods offer, they also taste wonderful and can be used as side dishes to compliment just about every meal. You can find kombucha, coconut yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut and kim chi in local health food stores and farmers markets or you can even try making your own at home. There are many recipes and books available now that are dedicated to the art of fermentation.


Fermented foods can be a fun, healthy, medicinal and tasty addition to any diet. These rich, powerful foods easily compliment any lifestyle and their presence in your kitchen means that a good supply of healthy, living food is always available to you.


How to make sauerkraut:


Ingredients:

  • 2 medium cabbage heads cored and finely shredded

  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

Method:

  1. Toss cabbage and salt together in a large bowl and begin to squeeze the cabbage and salt together with your hands, massaging it thoroughly to break up the cellular structure of the shredded cabbage.

  2. When the cabbage has become limp and releases its juice, transfer it to a vegetable fermenter or sauerkraut crock. Pack the salted cabbage into the crock or fermenter as tightly as you can, eliminating air bubbles.

  3. Continue packing the cabbage into the container until the cabbage is completely covered by the liquid. Cover loosely and allow it to sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for at least 1 month and up to 6 months. Test the sauerkraut every few days until it is done to your liking.

  4. Once it suits your tastebuds, transfer to the fridge where it should keep for at least 6 months.

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