While the idea of fermented foods may initially seem off-putting to those who haven’t experimented with the process, they can actually be incredibly delicious— and extremely beneficial to your overall digestive health.
Kimchi, kefir, buttermilk, sauerkraut and kombucha are just a few popular and easy-to-make, or buy fermented foods that have become more mainstream in recent years. These fermented foods are full of healthful probiotics that help your overall health, though more specifically, they work to promote a healthy gut.
What is a “Healthy Gut”?
Having a healthy gut means more than just having a functioning digestive tract. The human gut contains 100 trillion microorganisms that help keep your overall health in balance. If environmental, behavioral or nutritional habits have disrupted the delicate balance of the “microflora” found in your gut, it can become unhealthy and cause myriad health concerns.
Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Food allergies
Even more seriously, if left unchecked, an unhealthy gut can lead to serious chronic illnesses like diabetes and obesity.
What Are Fermented Foods?
Fermentation means that carbohydrates in the food have been converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide or organic acids. Often, it involves the conversion of sugar into alcohol by yeast.
How Fermented Foods Helps Promote A Healthy Gut
Fermented foods are full of probiotics, the “good kind” of bacteria that should already be in your gut, working to keep your health in perfect balance. People across all cultures and generations have been using fermented foods for centuries to promote a healthy gut. The ancient Romans even ate sauerkraut for the health benefits! They have also been shown to better preserve nutrients in food and help break down food enzymes easier which helps digestion go smoother and quicker.
Benefits of Fermented Foods
Restores Balance of Beneficial Microorganisms
Like we mentioned earlier, your gut is full of beneficial micro flora that help regulate so many parts of your body. If that balance gets disrupted, probiotics in fermented foods are the quickest, easiest and most healthy way to reintroduce and re-regulate the microorganisms in your gut to a healthy place.
It’s quite easy to make fermented foods and liquids at home, most of the ingredients are relatively cheap. Things like cabbage, tea, yogurt and spices are all inexpensive on their own. All you need is sugar and yeast and you’ve got yourself an incredible menu of fermented foods at home!
Similarly, fermented foods last a long time in the refrigerator. Canned pickles, fermented salsas and jams – they’re great to have on hand for a quick snack or to add to a meal!
Keeps You Healthy
Your gut makes up almost 80% of your immune system, making it an essential determinant in whether or not you’ll come down with a cold or flu. Probiotics help create antibodies to harmful pathogens that enter your bloodstream.
Most fermented foods contain a considerable amount of Vitamin K2, which is a major fighter of heart disease.
Fermented Food and Drink List
- Cheese Curds
- Pickled Vegetables
- Sour Cream
Beyond the health benefits, making your own fermented foods is fun! It’s sort of like a science experiment, trying out different ingredients, spices and ratios to finding your perfect taste. It can definitely become a hobby you’ll enjoy doing— and gets loads of health benefits in the process!
Megan is a DIY health & beauty addict. She’s committed to making her itsy-bitsy apartment chemical free. You can find her work at Rocky Mountain Essential where she is responsible for the blog, Instagram and Pinterest.