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Fermented Food Benefits

A selection of fermented food

Everything You Need to Know About Fermented Foods

You've probably heard of fermented foods and that they're perfect for gut health. Recently, they've become increasingly popular as we've become increasingly aware of the importance of a healthy gut. Nevertheless, fermented foods have been around for thousands of years - they were initially developed for preservation!

We don't necessarily need to preserve foods via fermentation now that we have fridges and freezers. However, we can still enjoy fermented foods' taste and benefits. Fermented foods include kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso - they're all fermented, and a great way to boost your gut health by including them in your diet.

The question is, why are they so beneficial, and what exactly do they do to help?

What Exactly Does Fermentation Mean?

Firstly, it's important to be aware of what fermentation is. Fermentation occurs when there are beneficial microorganisms (e.g. mould, yeast or bacteria) in anaerobic conditions (when there's a lack of oxygen). These microorganisms then break down sugar and starch into alcohol and acids and act as natural preservatives for food.

This fermentation process means there are a lot of good bacteria in fermented foods, making them probiotics. When we eat them, they have a beneficial effect on our gut bacteria.

Fermented foods undergo a process of natural fermentation, which involves the breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones by microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, or fungi. This process not only enhances the flavour and texture of the food but also makes it easier for us to digest, as it pre-digests the food for us. This is why people who are lactose intolerant can sometimes eat kefir and yogurt without any symptoms!

Studies show that fermented food has many ways of supporting our overall health.

  • Improving digestion and cognitive function

  • Boosting immunity

  • Helping treat irritable bowel disease

  • Providing minerals that build bone density

  • Helping fight allergies

  • Killing harmful yeast and microbes

What Are Some Examples of Fermented Foods?

Fermented foods include the following:

  • Kefir

  • Kombucha

  • Miso

  • Natto

  • Tempeh

  • Sauerkraut

  • Yogurt

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Kimchi

What Are Some Other Benefits of Fermented Foods?

Aside from their gut-friendly properties of being probiotics and easy to digest, research shows that fermented foods may also offer a wide variety of other benefits…

Weight management

Some studies have found an association between regular consumption of fermented foods and greater weight loss compared to those who do not consume fermented foods. This suggests that incorporating foods such as kefir, miso, and sauerkraut may help with weight loss.

Immune function

Fermented foods help to bolster the microbiome by providing a source of probiotics, which in turn helps to improve immune function, as it benefits from increased microbiome diversity.

Improve mood

Certain strains of bacteria found in fermented foods, such as Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacteria longum, have been associated with improvements in anxiety and depression.

They increase the availability of nutrients

The process of fermentation can make foods more nutritious for us because it removes ‘antinutrients’ that may stop us from absorbing all of the nutrition in them. For example, the fermentation of soybeans or grains removes phytic acid, an antinutrient that inhibits our ability to absorb things such as iron and zinc.

Bone health

Not only are milk-based fermented foods (such as yogurt and kefir) high in calcium to support bone health, but some research suggests that fermented dairy products may actually help to prevent bone loss associated with oestrogen deficiency, meaning that they may be useful in post-menopausal women.

Fermented food fact

If you're new to fermented foods, start with about half a cup per day and gradually build up, giving your gut time to adjust to the presence of new bacteria.


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