Why You Should Incorporate Fermented Foods Into Your Diet
Fermented foods have been an important part of food culture since the beginning of time. In addition to tasting great, they’re used medicinally for their gut-healing properties and healthy digestion! Most cultures have a traditional fermented food item that’s still an integral part of society today.
Here’s a breakdown of popular fermented foods and where they come from:
- Sauerkraut – Germany
- Kimchi – Korea
- Escabeche – Spain
- Miso – Japan
- Yogurt – Turkey
- Kefir – Eastern Europe and Russia
- Tempeh – Indonesia
- Sourdough – Egypt
- Kombucha – China
- Pickles – India
What defines a fermented food?
Fermentation is the breakdown of starch and sugar by adding yeast and bacteria. The live, active bacteria cultures used in fermentation promote gut health by feeding your healthy gut bacteria and also serve as a way to preserve food.
What are the health benefits of eating fermented foods?
Fermented foods improve your overall health by improving digestion, supporting a healthy immunity system, improving your cardiovascular health, and may even aid in weight loss.
It’s important to note that many shelf-stable pickled foods you find at the grocery store undergo a “quick pickling” process to give them the same fermented, pickle-y taste, but they are not actually fermented. In most cases, these foods are cooked in hot water with vinegar and sugar. They lack the healthy bacteria you get with fermented foods and contain added sugar, which renders them low in nutrients.
True fermentation takes time. Most foods can ferment in their own juices and definitely don’t require added sugar! You can find high-quality fermented food products at the grocery store in the refrigerated section, as they contain live, active bacteria.
Here are some of our favorite fermented food brands and products that use high-quality, real-food ingredients:
Just like with any packaged food product you buy, you should always check the ingredient label to make sure the product contains live, active cultures and is truly fermented!
Common probiotic cultures to look for on ingredient labels:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bacillus coagulans