Sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough bread, ginger bug, olives. Not only are they delicious, but these fermented foods are health-boosting nutritional powerhouses! These foods have evolved with humans to aid in healthy digestion as well as a means of food preservation. Let us discuss why they are healthy and mention three of our favorites.
Why are fermented foods healthy? Fermented foods are healthy because they contain beneficial bacteria that help to promote a healthy gut environment and improve digestion. The fermentation process, which breaks down carbohydrates and proteins, also increases the nutrient content of foods and makes them easier to digest. Furthermore, the beneficial bacteria produced during fermentation can help to boost your immune system and protect against disease. Finally, fermented foods are high in antioxidants and can help to reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Here are some of our favorites!
1. Kefir Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is packed with beneficial probiotics that can help improve your digestive health. Studies have shown that drinking kefir can help reduce gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. It has also been linked to a boost in immune system health, as well as improved mental health due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, kefir can help regulate cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as aid in digestion of other foods. Because the bacteria feed on lactose, this makes kefir 99.9% lactose free. If you are a smoothie person, try kefir in your blender!
2. Kombucha Kombucha is an ancient beverage that has recently gained popularity due to its potential health benefits. It is made by fermenting sweetened tea with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). The fermentation process creates probiotics, B vitamins, enzymes, and other beneficial compounds. Some potential benefits of kombucha include improved digestion due to the probiotics, improved liver health, lower blood sugar levels, increased energy levels, and improved immunity. However, more research is needed to confirm these health benefits.
3. Kimchi Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that is made from fermented vegetables such as cabbage and radish and is often seasoned with garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. It is a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and contains probiotic bacteria which are beneficial for gut health. Some of the health benefits associated with kimchi include improving digestion and gut health, aiding in weight loss, boosting the immune system, lowering cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar levels. Here are some easy ways to add it to recipes you might be making already.
You can start eating fermented foods today! Head to the store and pick up your favorite. There are lots of options to buy local. And if you are interested in learning to make your own, Stormbrew Farm is hosting classes in March.