What are Fermented Foods?
Fermented foods are foods and beverages that have undergone controlled microbial growth and fermentation.
Fermentation is an anaerobic process (where an organism, living cell or tissue lives without air and oxygen) in which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down food components (e.g. sugars such as glucose) into other products (e.g. organic acids, gases or alcohol). This gives fermented foods their unique and desirable taste, aroma, texture and appearance.
Most foods can be fermented from whole foods like vegetables, fruits, cereals, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds. While these foods are nutritious in their original form, through fermentation, they have the potential to carry extra health benefits – particularly when they contain probiotics and prebiotics.
4 Easy Ways to Incorporate Fermented Foods into your Diet:
Kombucha is a healthful, tonic drink made from tea, sugar, and symbiotic bacterial culture. You can find an array of Kombucha brands at your local grocery store or better yet, you can brew your very own with a Kombucha Brewing Kit!
- Unpasteurized Sauerkraut
Due to the fermentation it undergoes, Sauerkraut offers nutrition and health benefits far beyond those of fresh cabbage. You can find Sauerkraut easily in most supermarkets, but not all types you’ll come across will be the same. So, make sure you avoid pasteurized varieties, avoid preservatives and also avoid the ones with added sugars.
Alternatively, to make sure you get all the health benefits of sauerkraut, you can make it yourself.
- Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy. People have used it for centuries in cooking and medicine.
Apple cider vinegar has various healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. What’s more, evidence suggests it may offer health benefits, such as aiding weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving the symptoms of diabetes.
The best way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is to use it in cooking. It’s a simple addition to foods like salad dressings and homemade mayonnaise.
- Consider your Background
Does your culture have traditional fermented foods? Do you remember your parents/grandparents consuming certain ones? Many people find these foods the most familiar and therefore the easiest to adapt into their diet.
Remember to start slow when first introducing fermented foods into your daily diet and work your way up.