The importance of eating fermented foods to bolster gut health cannot be overemphasized. This is because, although several foods improve belly bacteria, none do it as well as fermented foods. But, again, there are a lot of fermented foods out there, so which and which should you include in your diet? We’ll see. But before then, although you may already know, let’s look at what we mean by “fermented foods”.
What Are Fermented Foods?
Fermented foods are foods that have undergone fermentation. And what is fermentation? It is typically a process that requires storing certain food items under specific conditions alongside bacteria, yeast, and other aids. The usual examples of foods that undergo fermentation are milk, honey, cabbage, and many more.
Many benefits are tied to the consumption of fermented foods. They have been proven useful in virtually every aspect of the body, ranging from cognitive function and immunity support to digestion improvement and microbes killing. The list of benefits to gain from these sour foods go on and on.
Did You Know?
Apple cider vinegar is fermented from apple.
Best Fermented Foods To Bolster Gut Health
As I have previously mentioned, there are many fermented foods, which may leave you confused on which to settle for. You probably know yogurt, but what else? To some of us, that’s it.
Well, not anymore. Let’s look at the best suggestions for your family’s diet.
Kefir will always be among the top 5 spots in 80% of lists like this. As you would expect, this is due to its high levels of nutrients.
Yogurt is the most popular fermented food, but kefir is superior when the focus is on health. It is typically produced with milk from animals like cows, sheep, and goats. Kefir boasts excellent compounds, which include vitamin B12, vitamin K2, enzymes, folate, magnesium, calcium, and, importantly, probiotics.
Note, just like any other food, the health qualities of kefir are influenced by the conditions surrounding its production. Lest I forget, kefir is tart to taste, much like yogurt.
Yogurt is nearly the same with sour milk, which is kefir. Both are outstanding in the sense that they are widely available and consumed. Probiotic yogurt is the most eaten fermented dairy product in America and other high-class nations.
When shopping for your probiotic yogurt, there are three necessary considerations to make, because there are hundreds of brands claiming to be the healthiest. Confirm, first, if it is organic; second, if it was made from sheep or goat milk if you have problems digesting cow milk; and third, if it was produced from grass-fed beef.
Kombucha is a mere mixture of black tea and sugar, derived from fermented fruit, honey, or cane sugar. This is possible because black tea contains specific yeast and bacteria that reacts with sugar to kick-start fermentation.
If you’ve heard of fermented foods containing alcohol, kombucha is your culprit, although it is hardly enough to intoxicate or even be noticed. We can’t deny that it is there anyway. Yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods never contain any alcohol.
Sauerkraut is considered one of the oldest fermented foods, dating back hundreds of centuries. History says it has been a demanded presence on the Chinese, German and Russian cuisines for about 2000 years. The name is German, translating to “sour cabbage”, but it didn’t originate from Germany. Sauerkraut is believed to have been discovered by the Chinese.
Sauerkraut is typically made from red or green cabbage. This food is a rich source of fiber, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C & K.
However, sauerkraut may not necessarily be fermented, especially if you’re buying a processed/canned brand off the shelf of a supermarket. Fermented sauerkraut clearly states it, is housed in a glass jar and always kept refrigerated.
You didn’t think that pickles are as healthy as they sound, do you? Well, here’s a pleasant shock: pickles are an extravagant reservoir of beneficial gut bacteria, antioxidants, and vitamins & minerals.
However, some processed pickles are not fermented. Most store-bought brands use cucumber and vinegar, and while this may bring the tartness, it doesn’t translate to fermentation. For pickles to be very healthy, they should be made from cucumbers & brine (water + salt).
So, when shopping for pickles, pick an option that is organic, refrigerated, and clearly states that it is fermented.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV comes from fermented apples and often contains the mother, which is considered a very healthy byproduct of apples. ACV boasts superior functions to most fermented foods, courtesy of the fact that it contains acetic acid along with probiotics, thus helping it to support gut health tremendously.
ACV has over a hundred benefits. It is useful for all functions, ranging from health to home maintenance. Speaking of health, ACV cures common diseases, like cold, fever, and headache, and combats chronic issues like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
Two tablespoonful ACV is enough daily, although you can as well supplement with fermented herbs, such as kimchi or sauerkraut.
Having been around for as long as 2500 years, miso is legendary in the Japanese/Chinese recipe books. It is made by mixing a special fungus, koji, with brown rice, soybeans, or barley. There are several ways to use miso, but the most popular is the miso soup recipe.
Miso is not as popular as the other fermented foods on this list, but it is also very beneficial to health. So, you can pick it when shopping for groceries.
Concluding The Fermented Foods To Bolster Gut Health
A healthy gut is sure to improve your overall body performance. As such, you should prioritize keeping it in good condition. Fortunately, you can do this easily. Any selection from the above list of fermented foods to bolster gut health would just work, although a moderate combination is not forbidden.