Have you been hearing all of the hype about fermented food and gut health? I was first introduced to the idea about five years ago. I recently began researching the benefits of fermented food and what exactly they are. According to health professionals, much of the food in our modern diet lacks the digestive enzymes needed to absorb, digest and utilize nutrients in our food. Before refrigeration, fermentation was a common way to preserve food that isn’t as necessary today.
Life-enhancing Probiotic Powerhouses
It turns out that fermented foods reinforce the good bacteria in our gut to help strengthen the immune system with health-promoting natural probiotics. Fermentation is a process used to produce some of our favorite foods and beverages such as beer, wine bread, cheese, chocolate coffee, kefir and kombucha and yogurt. Sauerkraut and kimchi are on that list too and I really like both but just keep in mind sauerkraut is super salty and the garlic in the kimchi will be on your breath for days. Fermentation also produces lactic acid which acts as a preservative by reducing pH, which in turn inhibits the growth of harmful bacterial that can cause an overgrowth of yeast.
I was surprised to learn that fermented foods and pickled food are not the same thing. Here are some facts I gleaned about buying fermented foods to be sure to get the most active cultures for my investment:
- Fermented foods are full of live organisms that must be kept cool to survive, so buy only fermented items in the refrigerated section of the store.
- Be sure the label does not say pasteurized. The pasteurization process wipes out the cultures needed to help fortify our gut.
- Don’t confuse fermentation and pickled. They’re not interchangeable. Pickled foods are exactly that – they’re pickled in liquids like vinegar or brine, but not fermented unless it says otherwise on the label – pickled foods are quite salty and may be a restriction for some people.
- Look for fermented foods that are made from the best raw materials possible, namely those made from organic, non-GM or locally farmed produce.
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A simple way to create your own probiotic drink for just pennies is to use Ann Wigmore’s original rejuvelac recipe.
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About American College of Healthcare Sciences
Founded in 1978, ACHS.edu is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and integrative health. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named two of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2017 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In response to our commitment to service members, veterans and military spouses, ACHS has been designated as one of the top 16% of military-friendly institutions in the U.S. for nine years in a row. For more information visit achs.edu.