We are vigilant about germs. We sanitize our hands, sterilize our dishes, pasteurize food, and refrigerate and toss moldy or expired foods. But as it turns out, not all bacteria really is that bad for us. Our gut contains billions of helpful and harmful bacteria that we are exposed to even in utero. Antibiotics, essential for treating infections, affect the gut flora by destroying harmful and helpful bacteria. Genetics and environmental exposure can also alter our gut flora. The more beneficial bacteria we have, the healthier our bodies are which is why sales of probiotics are skyrocketing.
Why fermented foods?
Before refrigeration, fermenting food was a way people kept food from spoiling. Fermented foods are a natural way to improve and preserve a healthy gut flora. Fermented foods also have the ability to keep us healthy.
5 Reasons to Eat Fermented Foods
1. Improves digestive issues
Bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are linked to a lack of healthy gut bacteria.
2. Maintains a healthy gut flora
Lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome, recurring yeast infections, and allergies are all linked to an imbalance of gut bacteria.
3. Aids in weight loss
Microbe-free mice injected with bacteria from obese people gained weight while mice injected with bacteria from thin people did not. When bacteria from thin people was injected into the obese mice, they lost weight.
4. Prevents chronic diseases
Autoimmune disorders, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer are linked to gut microbes.
5. Boosts your immune system
Healthy gut bacteria helps us absorb nutrients from food and filters out harmful substances which keeps our immune system healthy. It also helps with the production of some vitamins (B and K) which play a role in our immune function.
Ways to incorporate fermented foods into your diet
- Eat sourdough bread instead of bread made with commercial yeast.
- Drink fermented beverages such as coffee, tea, kombucha, kefir and red wine.
- Eat yogurt regularly.
- Incorporate pickles, sauerkraut, and olives into your diet.
- Enjoy salsa, ketchup, sour cream, miso, and other naturally fermented condiments on a daily basis.
- Eat tempeh, a protein-rich food made from fermented soybeans that can be added to stir-fry’s, soups and chili.