Fermentation is a traditional method of preserving foods and drinks which has recently had a resurgence in popularity.
Fermenting foods and drinks creates bacteria beneficial for our gastro intestinal system. The fermentation process also enhances the nutritional value, for example, sauerkraut contains 20 times more vitamin c than cabbage.
There is a great variety of fermented foods available to purchase, or you can make your own, and they all have amazing health benefits.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink made by adding kefir grains to dairy or coconut milk. This results in a thick and tangy beverage similar to yoghurt.
Regular consumption of kefir has been shown to improve lactose digestion, decrease inflammation and boost bone health.
You can drink kefir on its own or add it to smoothies for a health boost.
Tempeh is a traditional soy product of Indonesia. It is made from fermented soybeans and has a firm texture and nutty flavor.
It is suitable for vegetarian and meat eaters and can be baked, steamed, stir fried or sautéed.
Studies show that replacing meat with tempeh for several months can reduce bad cholesterol and lowered triglycerides in people with high cholesterol level.
Natto is also a fermented soybean product traditional used in Japanese cuisine.
It has a very strong flavor and slippery texture. It is often paired with rice and served as part of a digestion boosting breakfast.
This high fiber, probiotic food supports digestive health and bowel regularity.
It is also high in Vitamin K which plays an important role in the metabolism of calcium and bone health.
Kombucha is a naturally fizzy probiotic drink made by fermenting black or green tea and white sugar with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast).
The fermenting process reduces the sugar content and creates beneficial bacteria for the gastro intestinal tract. Studies have shown kombucha is liver protecting and improve digestion.
There are many flavored varieties of kombuch available to purchase or you can brew your own.
Miso is a common seasoning in Japanese cuisine. It is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, a type of fungus.
It is traditionally served for breakfast, used to make soups and added to savory dishes as a seasoning.
Studies show long term consumption of miso may lower risk of breast cancer, normalize blood pressure and protect heart health.
Kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables such as cabbage and radishes and a variety of seasonings including chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger and jeotga.
It boasts an extensive array of health benefits including boosting immunity, increasing gut flora and it may even lower cholesterol and reduce insulin resistance.
Traditionally sauerkraut is shredded cabbage fermented by lactic acid bacteria. A modern take on sauerkraut might include a variety of other vegetables and spices including carrot, apple, beetroot fennel, dill, seaweed and juniper. It is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K.
It also contains a good amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help promote eye health and reduce the risk of eye disease.
You can use sauerkraut in just about anything. Add a spoonful or two to your favorite salad or as a condiment to any savory meal.
8. Probiotic Yogurt
Yogurt is made using dairy or coconut milk fermented, most commonly with lactic acid bacteria.
Yogurt has a wide variety of health benefits such as improving bone density, reducing candida and restoring gut flora diversity following anti-biotic use.
It is high in many important nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and vitamin B12.
Choose a yoghurt that contains live cultures to ensure you receive probiotic benefits, and look for full fat, no or low sugar varieties.
Try some different fermented foods today and enjoy the taste and health benefits. Not sure where to start? Try our fermented carrots recipe.
If you would like to know more about supporting your child’s growth and development we recommend starting with our Nutritional Basics Workshop or booking a consultation with our Naturopath Jean Jarrett. If you would like to know more about how Jean can help you and your child book a discovery call.