Fermentation is a process that uses a certain type of microbes to prepare foods. This process helps to preserve the food for long but also add these microbes to the human body, improving gut health.
As many of us know that probiotics are often linked with gut health.
These probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that improves the digestion, immunity and weight loss. Same way, fermented foods are believed to be providing benefits to the digestive system.
This article will discuss the most common fermented foods and their benefits for health.
Everyone knows that yogurt is a fermented product of milk. It has several important nutrients such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, riboflavin and vitamin B12, all of which are essentially required by your body.
Yogurt has so many health benefits such as it reduces the blood pressure, improves gut health and improves the bone mineral density. It may also play a role in regulating and maintaining an ideal weight. All these benefits make yogurt as one of the most beneficial fermented product for humans. If it is to maintain weight, make sure that you are buying from a manufacturer that adds minimum or no sugar in yogurt.
Natto is a staple food that is a part of traditional Japanese cuisine. It is prepared from soybeans via the fermentation process. As per its nutritional value, it is a rich source of fiber that makes it a perfect digestive aid.
Fiber may help in digestion but it is never digested in the body. Rather it adds up to the stool, making the bowl movements easy and relieves constipation.
Also, natto is high in vitamin K that supports the calcium metabolism thus links with bone health. Natto makes a perfect recipe with rice and is an absolute treat for your tastebuds.
Kefir is a fermented dairy product, made of kefir grains along with yeast or bacteria. The final product is a thick liquid that looks like yogurt and has a savory taste.
Kefir has several health benefits especially in digestion and internal inflammation. It is even helpful for people with lactose intolerance. Lastly, kefir improves bone health. The research shows that kefir improves bone health in osteoporosis patients as compared to those who don’t take kefir.
It is easy to add kefir into regular drinks or smoothies for this added benefit.
Kimchi is a popular cuisine from Korea that has fermented cabbage as its major ingredient. Although modern variations of the dish use other fermented vegetables too i.e. fermented radish in place of cabbage. But the original recipe uses cabbage only.
Kimchi has so many health benefits top of which are lowering the cholesterol, lowering the blood pressure and reducing the insulin resistance. As you know that insulin transports the glucose from the blood to the body tissues. When insulin is in high quantity for a long time, the body stops responding to it and develops insulin resistance.
It shows that kimchi is practically helpful for prediabetic patients for managing the blood sugar and the body’s insulin resistance. The recipe to make kimchi is very simple and easy. You may add it to any food of your choice. However, it goes really well with noodles, pasta or sandwiches.
Sauerkraut is a common name in spices that is a fermented product. It is made of shredded cabbage fermented by a specific type of bacteria. It has almost no calories but is rich in fiber, vitamins, and nutrients.
It has two amazing nutrients that you can not ignore. Those are lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are abundant in sauerkraut. These two antioxidants promote eye health and prevent the risk of eye diseases. It is also thought of having an anti-cancer effect but it is still under research and no final statements are out at this moment. More research is required to see how it helps to target cancer cells in humans.
It is easy to use sauerkraut in every recipe. Simplest of which is to make casserole seasoned with it. You may also like to add it to a mighty bowl of soup or use it as a seasoning on salad, Panini or a sandwich. For best, use unpasteurized sauerkraut, as the process of pasteurization may kill the beneficial bacteria from the final product.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean cake that is a rich source of protein. It is chewy and can be steamed, baked or fried to add into various recipes. It has a high probiotic content, which helps to reduce heart problems, digestive issues, high cholesterol, and free radical damage.
Those who are vegetarian can eat tempeh to fulfill their protein requirement. It is easy to fit into any recipe and comes with lots of nutritional benefits for your body.
Miso is a seasoning mainly used in Japanese food. It is also made from fermented soybeans along with yeast. You may see Miso soup as one of the appetizers at various Japanese restaurants. It is the most common recipe that uses miso paste and seasoning.
Therefore, consider adding miso in your soups or gravies to spice them up. Not only it brings good taste, but also numerous benefits for your gut.
Kombucha, as the name tells is a fizzy fermented tea. It is made of the same black or green tea that everyone uses but more flavorsome and tarty in taste. Kombucha tea helps to cleanse the liver and makes the body toxins free.
Kombucha also has an anti-cancer potential, regulating blood sugar and lower LDL cholesterol in patients. Due to its popular use, it is widely available at almost all big grocery stores. You can try making it at home for a more enriched flavor. Just be careful with contamination or over-fermentation of the brew.
The final word
Fermentation is an ancient technique to prepare food by using yeast and bacteria. It not only adds time to the shelf life of a product but also adds health benefits to it.
All fermented foods have probiotics in them that help in digestion, immunity, bone health, bone density, weight loss, insulin resistance, blood pressure, and cholesterol management. It may also reduce the risk of cancer however more extensive research may explain it.
That’s not all, fermented foods also positively impact overall health and are an ideal ingredient in a balanced diet. It is important to limit the use of fermented products and combine them with fresh food for more benefits.