ecostore Australia Blog
Fermented food is growing in popularity because of the different ways it might benefit our gut health. The practice of fermenting began as a way to preserve food, but nowadays researchers are looking into how it can give the bacteria in our gut a boost, and even help with things like the immune system and managing weight.
Most vegetables and some fruits can be preserved, using starter cultures, salt and water, the juice of the produce, or why. Dairy, nuts and grains are other options for fermenting.
A common option is lactic acid fermentation, where bacteria that can make food spoil is inhibited from developing, and the acid is produced from the sugars and starches in the food to preserve it.
What are the potential benefits?
Fermented food has been linked with many benefits, like bringing bacteria to our gut that can aid digestion and help us absorb carbohydrates for extra nutrition and energy. These bacteria may also help us absorb some minerals.
Fermenting foods can also increase the amount of vitamins they contain, in particular the B vitamin group, according to an article by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Research has also focused on whether fermented food can help us manage weight. A South Korean clinical trial, for example, found that kimchi (a traditional dish made by fermenting cabbage) can be more beneficial for metabolism and immunity than its non-fermented counterpart.
Between 70% and 80% of our immune system is housed in the digestive system, according to a member of the team at Britain’s Dietetic Association. In this article, she added that fermented foods stimulate bacteria that benefit the immune system and help control the symptoms of digestive issues like irritable bowel or bloating.
Fermented foods you can try
There are lots of options for fermenting food at home, such as kimchi and sauerkraut (both made from cabbage), or dill pickles, which can all be fermented using the lactic acid method.
Another option is the fermented milk drink kefir, yoghurt, the fizzy drink kombucha, miso or tempeh (both made from fermented soybeans).
There are so many recipes online for fermented food, and here are just three you might like to start with:
Sarah Wilson’s kombucha recipe on I Quit Sugar.