It seems like almost every other week there is a new fad on the types of foods we should be introducing into our diet to live long, healthy lives. Many of these fads sound extra-ordinary, but quickly fade into obscurity, to be replaced by the next big thing. However, fermented foods are slightly different. Advocates of fermented foods don't claim to have stumbled upon a revolutionary new secret. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The truth is that the benefits of eating fermented foods have been known about for centuries. The only difference now is that people are finally starting to pay attention.
So just what are fermented foods? Fermented foods are foods that have been produced, or are preserved, using microorganisms. Generally, this refers to the process whereby sugar in the food has been fermented into an acid or alcohol. In other cases, certain bacteria are used to achieve the same result. These microorganisms work in conjunction with our stomachs, rather than against them, and a diet that includes fermented foods has been shown to culture a healthy gut.
Over the ages, the fermentation of foods has been used, from sauerkraut in Roman times, pickled fermented vegetables across Asia and yoghurts full of probiotics in Greece and India. These practices have long been associated with good health, and the practice is no different today. So just what kind of health benefits are we talking about?
Many fermented foods that contain probiotics also include high levels of various minerals and nutrients. Vitamin K2 is well regarded as an important weapon in maintaining a healthy heart, and is common in many fermented foods. The probiotics of fermented foods work with your gut to ensure a healthy immune system is maintained always, while also assisting your body in detoxing. One of the primary functions of the digestive system is to remove harmful toxins from our body before they can negatively affect us, and fermented foods give us the fuel to do just that.
While many nutrition enthusiasts wouldn’t question taking a probiotic supplement, some will still question the benefits of eating fermented foods. The reality is that fermented foods contain far more probiotics than any supplement will, and they also contribute towards a healthy, balanced diet. Looking after our gut is one of the most important things we can do when looking to stay healthy, as our gut is integral in keeping our immune system in working order. Fermented foods allow our gut to do its job. It’s that simple.