If you are not taking care of your gut health, then you are neglecting your overall health. When you have a healthy gut, it improves the overall function of your body. But what are the main benefits that come from fermented foods and which should you eat?
They often say you are what you eat but the truth is you are what you absorb. When you have poor gut health, then digestion and absorption of nutrients become compromised. The benefits of fermented food include improving digestion, but they go a lot deeper than that.
We can consider the gut “the second brain” as it has connections to your mood and well-being. Two-thirds of the neurotransmitters produced in the body are made in the gut and these include things like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.
These control not just how we feel but how we optimally will function. To keep your gut healthy, it means feeding it fermented foods.
So let’s look at five other benefits of fermented foods as they pertain to your health:
This will be one of the main reasons to eat fermented foods and the probiotics are where the magic happens. The probiotic introduce beneficial bacteria into the gut and your digestive system. These probiotics also improve bowel health and boost your immunity. If you are not eating many probiotic-rich foods, you may get sick quite often.
2. Better Absorption of Food
When your gut bacteria is properly balanced it gives you a good amount of digestive enzymes to aid in better digestion. When the bacteria balance is thrown off digestion becomes compromised. This also leads to cramping, gas, and bloating.
One of the main benefits of fermented foods is they give you better digestion so if you’re eating a real whole food diet you can know you’re getting more of those valuable nutrients right to your body’s cells.
3. Improved Immunity
So not only do fermented foods make it easier to combat sickness but they increase your antibodies. You are not just more likely to avoid sickness but if you get sick, the symptoms aren’t as severe and don’t last as long.
4. Helps In Weight Loss
This is one of the desired benefits of fermented foods if you’re looking to lose a few pounds. Fermented foods help in regulating the appetite and help you avoid overeating. Another big thing they do is help control cravings especially for sugar and refined carbohydrates.
It is thought that a lot of sugar cravings are being dictated by the bad bacteria in the gut. When the balance falls in favor of these bad bacteria, they can control what you crave.
5. Protects Against Diseases
Fermented foods help to create a protective lining in the intestines. This protective lining helps to shield the gut against pathogenic things that are pretty nasty including salmonella and E.coli.
So these are highlights of the benefits of fermented foods and you can see why you should be consuming them. The next question is which are the best ones?
Here’s a Quick Rundown on 6 Great Fermented Foods:
Kombucha comes from brewing tea into a probiotic-rich drink. It starts with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and it combines with the sugar added into the tea to create the friendly bacteria. It also gives it light carbonation and a touch of alcohol, but it is a low enough amount that kids can even drink it.
Kombucha has become incredibly popular and you’re seeing it available in more and more places.
A similar process happens when you make kefir. You start with kefir grains which aren’t actually grains but bacteria and mixed with cow, goat, or sheep’s milk to ferment. It results in a drinkable yogurt type beverage full of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.
A common food but one that deserves a place at your table. This is fermented green or red cabbage and has been around for thousands of years. It is full of vitamins A, C, K, and B, along with manganese, iron, copper, and calcium.
One of the most overlooked probiotic sources is regular ‘ol pickles. The thing is store-bought pickles won’t be the best option as they are usually made with vinegar and cucumbers. This doesn’t lead to true fermentation as they should be made with cucumbers and brine.
You can easily make this at home for next to nothing and you’ll get a probiotic-rich food also full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Another ancient food that will help improve your gut health. Miso is made by fermenting soybeans with barley, or brown rice, and a fungus call koji. You’ve probably had it in soup form and it’s a food easy to include in the diet.
Another fermented food made from soy. It’s made by mixing the soybeans with a live mold which allows it to set into a cake-like form. It not only has a probiotic but a good amount of protein in it. You can use it as a meat substitute as it has more of a thicker texture and isn’t spongy like tofu is.
Wrapping It Up
There are many benefits of fermented foods and you can see why they are so valuable to include in the diet. The other good things are the food choices themselves are easy to use at meals and the other good thing is they are cheap.
You would think a substance that provides this many health benefits might break the bank but they are simple foods that have been used for generations.