What’s So Great About Fermented Foods?

Yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir…fermented foods are receiving a lot of hype these days in restaurants, health magazines and online. But why? What’s so great about fermentation? Let’s dive in.

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process called “lactofermentation.” Through lactofermentation, natural bacteria happily feed on the sugars and starches in good, creating lactic acid.

Not only does this process preserve the food (note: this is why fermented fish is such a big deal in cold, Scandinavian climates), it also produces a number of beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics.

This fact is particularly cool considering the fact that the amount of probiotics and enzymes present in the average American diet has sharply declined over the past few decades. We need probiotics and enzymes to maintain a healthy gut. Without them we experience icky symptoms like bloating and gas, moodiness and even suppressed immunity.

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On the reverse, consuming lots of fermented foods has numerous health benefits, from enhanced metabolism and immunity to cancer prevention. They can even reduce your odds of developing diabetes or obesity and prevent irritable bowel syndrome, all thanks to that lovely gut bacteria.

“If you’re consuming a diet rich in fermented foods, you’re essentially bathing your GI tract in healthy, food-related organisms,” says food scientist Robert Hutkins, Ph.D. and professor at the University of Nebraska.

Eating a healthy diet? Eating fermented foods will help maintain the gut health you already have. Eating a less-than-healthy diet? This could really give your overall health a boost! Either way, Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, spokeswoman for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests that a healthy goal is 2-3 servings of fermented foods per day.

Ready to make fermented foods a part of your daily diet? These ten naturally-fermented foods, rounded up by Care2′s Brian Syuki, are a great place to start!

 

38 comments

Elizabeth M
Past Member 27 days ago

Thanks for posting noted

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Ruth S
Ruth S28 days ago

Thanks.

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Elisabeth T
Elisabeth Tabout a month ago

Good information, thanks for sharing.

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Janis K
Janis Kabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Leo C
Leo Custerabout a month ago

Thank you for posting!

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hELEN h
hELEN habout a month ago

tyfs

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Kathy G
Kathy Gabout a month ago

Thank you

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Kathy G
Kathy Gabout a month ago

Thank you

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

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Paula A
Paula Ariasabout a month ago

tyfs

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