Due to their health benefits, fermented foods have become increasingly popular over the last few years. You’ve probably seen bottles of kombucha lining shelves and those fabulous jars of pickled veggies at your local farmer’s market. These foods have actually been around for centuries and are considered nutrient dense foods.
Fermentation is a process used to make some of our most favorite foods including cheese, wine, beer, bread, chocolate and yogurt. In order for the fermentation process to occur, microorganisms like bacteria and yeast are used. Due to being fermented, the foods have a lower pH, this protects the food from spoilage and wards off harmful bacteria. It even extends the shelf life of the food and acts as a way of preservation. The act of fermenting is a relatively easy process and has even turned into a hobby for many people in recent years.
You might be wondering, should I be eating fermented foods?
The answer is, yes! These foods contain live strains of beneficial bacteria and promotes good digestion. By supporting the gut microbiome, these foods have also been shown to be protective against harmful bacteria, inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune conditions. Essentially, fermented foods hold live bacteria cultures. These strains will provide the microbiome with a variety of healthy microbes to support the overall immune system.
How to Introduce Fermented Foods
It is important to start slow when adding fermented foods to the diet. More is not better, overconsumption of these foods can lead to GI distress such as gas and bloating. Try incorporating a little bit of fermented food to your diet daily. Check out a list of foods below.
1-2 tablespoon sauerkraut
1-2 tablespoon kimchi
1-2 organic pickles
1 cup organic, plain kefir (if consuming dairy)
1 cup organic, plain yogurt (if consuming dairy)
8 oz kombucha (no sugar added)
¼ cup brine cured olives
Fermented foods are a great addition to meals. They often satisfy the craving for salty and savory foods in a much healthier way!
Written By: Eleni Ottalagana, RDN