We hear about fermented food almost every day. In fact, it is considered to be a great addition to one’s daily diet. Fermented foods have long been used by generations from around the world. Before, fermentation is only done to preserve food items. Today, fermented food brings more benefits to your health than this.
What is Fermented Food?
Fermentation is defined in science as the process of energy production without the use of oxygen. It allows the food items to produce lactic acid that preserves the food naturally. This happens when the good bacteria feed on the starch and sugar contents of the food items and begin the fermentation. But why ferment? What makes this kind of food preparation so special?
- It helps preserve various food items, especially fruits and vegetables
- Provides more nutrients to the body including essential enzymes, Omega 3, and B-vitamins
- Great source of probiotics that are excellent for your stomach’s health
- Promotes easier digestion and prevent digestive problems like bloating and constipation
- Increases optimal nutrient absorption from the food you eat
- Finishes off with a flavorful dish you can eat anytime you like
- Very easy and inexpensive to make
Check out some common fermented foods that are good for your digestive system.
Fermented Food You Can Make at Home
Sauerkraut is originally a German food preparation which means “Sour Cabbage”. It is made from finely chopped cabbage that has been fermented. This food item is believed to be an excellent condiment to help improve your digestion and boost your immunity. Your eyes and skin will also benefit from this preparation as it is filled with carotene and Vitamin A. It can improve your bone health and prevent osteoporosis as well.
It is very easy to make. You just need to get yourself one (1) cabbage head, some salt, and water! Check this video out for easy sauerkraut recipe (6.32 min long).
Aside from having plain cabbage as sauerkraut, you can turn your favorite vegetables to a healthier bunch by fermenting them. You can ferment a single type of vegetable in a jar, or you can ferment various vegetables altogether!
You can also buy Sauerkraut online!
Special Tips for Buying Sauerkraut and other Fermented Food
- Always remember to get organic food items, even the fermented Sauerkraut. Look into the labels and check if they are made with non-GMO ingredients. Raw vegetables and ingredients coming from local farms would be good.
- It does pay to check the label! make sure that the items you buy are not pasteurized. Natural Sauerkrauts have live bacterial cultures in it. these cultures make your digestive system healthy. But, when they are pasteurized, they tend to die and lose their therapeutic property. So choose Sauerkraut items that were properly stored in the market fridge.
- Also, make sure that it actually has a “fermented” label on it. Some items may look like they are fermented but were actually not. Take note that Fermented and Pickled are not the same things. So, choose Fermented ones over the others.
Miso is a salty bean paste made from mashed fermented soybeans, koji rice, and salt. This fermented food is packed with Manganese, zinc and copper, which make it as a great antioxidant. It is also a good source of fiber and protein. Overall, this food improves your body’s nourishment in general. Here's a quick video on how to make your own miso soup! (3.41 min long)
This is a fermented tea drink. It is widely known to have many health benefits which include detoxification, cleansing and healing of the body. This is fermented with the help of a SCOBY or a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. This colony is often called a mushroom. It eats on the sugar that is in the Kombucha tea mixture, and starts the fermentation process.
Kombucha is primarily known to be a probiotic beverage. It is also helpful in terms of natural digestion and general digestive health. This drink is also good with stabilizing your mood and clearing or calming your thoughts.
This video will teach you how to make Kombucha at home (12.53 min long).
You can also get starter kits online. These often come with brewing vessel, SCOBY, cloth cover, tea, sugar and other add-ons. Usually, these starter kits can make at least 5 gallons for your primary fermentation.
Read a good book about Kombucha as well! There’s a good read by Eric and Jessica Childs entitled Kombucha!: The Amazing Probiotic Tea that Cleanses, Heals, Energizes, and Detoxifies. This book will let you know about the deeper secrets of Kombucha, some good recipes and the many uses of this amazing fermented drink.
Natto is basically fermented soy beans. In Japan, it is known to be a good food that helps revive youthfulness and maintains positive health conditions. It is rich in protein but it does not have high-calorie content. It is said to be an excellent source of vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2, which helps in improving the health of the bones, skin and the heart. This is recommended for menopausal women because the K2 vitamin reduces 80% of bone loss. This helps prevent menopausal women from developing osteoporosis.
If you want to produce your own Natto ferment, here's an informative video to help you start (5.25 min long).
This is known as a fermented cow or goat’s milk. However, some of its varieties are made with coconut milk and nut milk for a vegan option. The fermented milk comes out just like a yogurt drink. It is prepared using Kefir grains that look like cauliflower blooms. The grains actually activate the fermentation process of the milk.
Kefir is known as a great probiotic. It helps clean and improve the environment of the digestive system. It helps keep the good bacteria in the digestive tract keeping it healthy in general. It is also known to help decrease the symptoms of asthma and allergies.
It is very easy to prepare at home! In fact, all you need is the Kefir grains, your milk base and some containers and utensils to use. Enjoy this video below and learn how to make your own Kefir anytime you want (6.10 min long).
Kimchi is a widely known Korean dish and excellent fermented food. It is made with chopped cabbage wrapped in salt, spices, and seasonings. It can also contain other vegetables, depending on your taste. Kimchi is filled with fiber and other nutrients, but it only contains a few calories, which is good. It is also packed with multivitamins, especially vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. It is also rich in calcium, iron and some essential amino acids. It also contains a good amount of capsaicin which is also an excellent antioxidant.
Kimchi helps in regulating the digestive and immunity functions of the body. It helps in preventing obesity, skin ailments and cancer. It also has anti-aging properties and it helps rejuvenate the skin.
Kimchi can be eaten alone or it can be added to the main dishes with rice and soup. Koreans even mix this to their noodles for added flavor.
How do you make Kimchi? Watch this video to learn how (13.07 min long).
Tips for Do-It-Yourself Fermented Food
- It is best to use organic ingredients when making your own fermented food
- You can use different sizes of vessels. The best vessels to use are those that are made of glass. Simple glass jars at home can be used.
- As much as possible, you would want to avoid metals because they corrode with salts and acids.
- Make sure that you burp the ferment every now and then to release the pressure. If you don’t do this, the jar may break due to the contained pressure.
- See to it that the vegetables are submerged under the brine. Pack them down to make sure that minimal air is in between the vegetables.
- Keep your ferment in a dark but clean area in your house. Fermented food produces Vitamin C, which is sensitive to light. So you would want to maintain that vitamin C in the ferment by keeping it in a dark place.
Learn more about fermented food and how it can give optimal benefits to your health!
What do you think about Food Fermentation? How did it help you with menopause? Share your story with us below.