Fermentation has real health benefits
When you think of fermentation, you most likely think of wine, beer, cheese, and yogurt, but the process of fermentation has moved beyond some of these staples into everything from proteins, to greens supplements to ready-to-drink products. Fermentation is not new. It has been used by many cultures for centuries – think kimchi,
miso or sauerkraut. Fermentation is a process whereby bacteria or yeast are added to the food source which breaks down the starches and carbohydrates (sugars) in the food into either alcohol or organic acids. The process is not only useful to help preserve food ­– research shows that it also helps to increase the level of nutrients in your diet (vitamin B’s, Omega 3’s, and even some strains of probiotics). And, it helps remove some of those bad nutrients (yes there are bad nutrients), such as phytates and lignans, which are sort of like a thin covering on nutrients in some foods that can cause digestive issues. Food fermentation helps to break down this thin mass-like covering, so you can better absorb the nutrients. Eating fermented foods is a great way to get added probiotics into your daily regime, which have proven benefits for improving digestion, cognitive function and boosting immunity. Some great compounds are produced during fermentation, such as the production of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), which have a blood pressure lowering effect and fat burning benefits. Other compounds that are produced have anti-microbial effects, anti-carcinogenic, antifungal and antioxidant advantages. Fermented foods support good gut health, which supports good immune health.
How to Get Fermented Foods into Your Everyday Diet
Watch for the new generation of whole food fermented supplements that are now coming to market. Some manufacturers are raising the bar by creating whole food supplements, which include ingredients that have been fermented. This not only increases your body’s ability to absorb them, but also provides an added nutrient profile. It helps improve the intensity of their active ingredients (making them better and stronger) and boosts how effectively they work. Natural Factors has introduced two great Whole Food
Fermented supplements, Whole Earth & Sea Fermented Greens, and Whole Earth & Sea Fermented Greens & Proteins. Other manufacturers have introduced Fermented Maca, Grasses and more. Consider increasing your yogurt intake, but make sure the label says ‘live active cultures’ and stay away from the ones with added sugar and syrups. Kefir (drinkable yogurt) contains different types of beneficial bacteria and may be surprisingly more nutritious. It also supplies high levels of probiotics, complete protein, vitamin B12, and other essential minerals. Sip on Miso soup, a traditional Japanese paste that’s made from fermenting soybeans. Not only is it a complete protein, but it also stimulates the digestive system. Tempeh burgers or tempeh nuggets are the perfect plant-based alternative to an animal-based protein. Switch to sourdough bread, as the starches and grains from the bread are predigested from the bacteria and yeast, making it easier to digest and a much healthier option than any processed white bread. It’s also typically lower on the glycemic index scale. Before you jump all over the Kombucha craze (a fermented drink made with tea and culture of bacteria and yeast which has many benefits), be sure it is not pasteurized, so that it maintains the probiotic benefits. It will have a shorter shelf life, but it is much better for you. Also, brands do matter in terms of quality. Unpasteurized, poorly manufactured, cheaper products may cause bacterial infections.

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