Fermented foods have been around for centuries- and with good reason! Let’s take a look at the process and benefits.
By Beth, Contributing Writer
Ferment – What?
Fermented foods are all the rage online these days. You’ll find tons of tutorial on how to ferment everything from veggies to ketchup and even something called kefir. But why? Why has everyone jumped on board the fermentation bandwagon and what’s the point of it all? Let’s take a look.
Fermentation: Not Something New
The use of fermentation dates back centuries. From sauerkraut in Germany to kimchi in Korea cultures have always been using different methods to preserve food.
The lactic acid created during the fermentation process creates an acidic environment free of the oxygen that would typically make food spoil – hence preserving the food. Not only does this process give the food a longer shelf life – but it comes with a long line of benefits to the body!
There are many, many different methods of fermentation that are characterized by culture and the product with which you’re fermenting.
Fact: Lacto-fermentation is often misunderstood as referring to milk-based fermentation, which isn’t true. The prefix “lacto” refers to the lactobacillus bacteria which were first found in cultured milk products like yogurt and hence derived their name. All fermentation is lacto-fermentation – including vegetables, bread, fruits, and beyond.
Starter based Vs. Wild Fermentation
- Are usually done faster
- Allow you to pinpoint specific bacteria
- Are necessary for many common ferments like kefir and yogurt
While whey is most likely the most commonly used starter there are other options such as grains or by pulling from an active ferment.
- Naturally occurring
- Takes longer to reach full ferment
Wild fermentation refers to the reliance on naturally occurring bacteria and yeast to ferment food.
How Is This Beneficial to One’s Health?
So that leads us to the real question – how are fermented foods beneficial to your health?
The process of fermentation provides far more than just a longer shelf life. These things include B- vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, phytates, and probiotics. Let’s take a closer look at why you want these things:
B Vitamins (including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and biotin). Each of these is important in the upkeep of bodily functions.
Omega-3 fatty acids are not made in the body – so they have to come from your diet. Omega 3’s have been linked to improving ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression, arthritis, and more. Not to mention the huge boost they give to your immune system.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria (yes, bacteria can be good!) that aid in digestion and support your immune system! In fact, studies have shown links between probiotic foods and increased overall health.
Natural fermentation helps decrease the phytates in foods that prevent nutrients from being absorbed and helps us better absorbed these
On the practical side producing your own fermented food and beverages can extend your benefits beyond just health. You’ll find that they have a longer shelf life, are easy to replicate again and again, and make a great use of the garden vegetables that you can’t eat fresh!
Kombucha is often a fermented beverage that is often credited with helping many ditch their soda habits. Its bubbly texture and the ability to customize its flavor makes it a winning replacement.
One company that has the process of fermentation down pat is Zukay Live Foods. They offer some of the BEST fermented beverages you can find including both fruits and vegetable and have also introduced a line of salad dressings. Their mission is simple and honest: They want to make the benefits of raw, fermented vegetables available to everyone.
In fact, they would like for one of YOU to be able to try their fermented Kvass beverages! One grand prize winner will receive an assortment of veggie/fruit kvass (a $27 value!)
10 runners-up will also be chosen to receive a coupon for ONE free bottle from your local health food store. But that’s not all.
ANYONE that sends them a PRIVATE message on Facebook can get a 4-page coupon book that gets them $5.50 off of 7 bottles! There are tons of opportunities for great deals here!
You can enter below:
Do you consume fermented foods? What are your favorites?
This post has been sponsored by Zukay Live Foods. All thoughts and opinions are my own.