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It seems like everyone knows that probiotic supplements are wonderful for boosting your overall health, but the best way to get “primo” benefits, is by eating fermented foods! A few years ago, I wouldn’t have known about fermented foods with the exception of raw unpasteurized yogurt. However, when I went to a naturopathic doctor for help with my menstrual pain, he told me about the benefits of fermented foods and how they are a great health booster. So after my visit with him, I stopped at the local whole foods and picked up a jar of sauerkraut. Even though, I never ate sauerkraut before, I just knew I had to add this to my diet and now I try to eat some fermented sauerkraut or other fermented food a couple of times a week.
How do Fermented Foods Work?
Fermented foods are gaining in popularity and it is only right! These foods not only give you more nutrition, but help your body absorb “minerals and protein”.
One of the benefits of fermented foods is that it helps the digestive tract by bringing it the good bacteria it needs to boost the immune system, this works because the gut is the “heart” of the immune system!
What About the Yogurt You Get in the Food Store?
If it’s in the food store, the milk has to be pasteurized for the yogurt. The pasteurization of the milk kills the beneficial bacteria and enzymes naturally occurring. Any yogurt in the food store is most likely heat-pasteurized as it extends the shelf-life of the product. After the milk is pasteurized, the companies then add non-naturally occurring probiotics.
You also have to watch out for the added ingredients in store bought yogurt such as artificial sweeteners and other chemicals. Another problem with store bought yogurt is the high amount of sugar as there is naturally occurring sugar due to the lactose. This is why I prefer to eat fermented vegetables.
Many people say the healthiest way to get all the naturally occurring bacteria is by getting raw unpasteurized yogurt; however, just like getting raw milk, you should only get raw, unpasteurized yogurt if you are familiar with the farm, otherwise it can be a concern.
What are Some Fermented Foods?
- Kombucha – This is fermented black tea that contains fizzies. The drink is great because it has between 4 and 7 microorganisms, which help to make your gut stronger. Watch out for the sugar content, though! It is also not recommended for those with candida due to the amount of sugar.
- Sauerkraut – Is just fermented cabbage and it has been found to provide benefits for the gut and brain. Also, it has been found to help depression and anxiety.
- Pickles – However, pickles found in the food store are often heat-pasteurized, which kills the beneficial bacteria. Here’s a good unpasteurized brand: Bubbies
- Coconut Yogurt – Contains non-dairy enzymes and probiotics.
- Kimchi – Is a Korean dish that is made from fermented cabbage.
Benefits of Fermented Foods:
Studies have shown many health problems have been helped by eating fermented foods with lactic acid bacteria.
Here’s just some of the health conditions that fermented foods can help:
1. Leaky Gut -Fermented foods can help improve your gut by balancing intestinal flora.
2. IBS– Many have reported a reduction in symptoms.
3. Heartburn and Acid Indigestion– Adding the foods to your diet help improve stomach acid within minutes.
4. Immune Benefits – Great for anyone with an autoimmune disorder. The beneficial bacterial boost your immune system.
5. Colitis– Helps improve Ulcerative Colitis and reduce inflammation.
6. Constipation-Increasing the amount of good bacteria will help bowel movements to be more regular.
7. Diarrhea and Gas– Many with digestion issues such as diarrhea or gas have an overgrowth of bad bacteria within their gut and see improvements when adding fermented foods.
8. Crohn’s Disease-Helps improve overall gut health and managing Crohn’s disease.
9. Gum Disease-The beneficial bacteria aid in improving gum health and some have reported healing gum disease.
10. Weight Loss– Adding a serving to your daily meal plan helps promote weight loss and increase energy.
11. Stabilize Blood Sugar– Helps prevent spikes in blood sugar and has also been found to help those with diabetes.
12. Some research has also found fermented foods have a positive effect on autism.
Can you add to my list of the benefits of fermented foods? How have they helped you?