Slowly but surely more traditional methods of “health care” are making a comeback, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. People are plugging back into the idea that food is the way to remedy a variety of health conditions, not pharmaceuticals, and this has resulted in the introduction of old fashioned food preparation methods like fermenting. This has been a boon to many looking to revitalize their health, and primarily for these 5 reasons.
Chock-full of probiotics
Supplement companies have been on the probiotic bandwagon, mainly in the form of capsules, and while there are some decent sources on the market most absolutely pale in comparison to fermented foods.
Since probiotics (good bacteria) are absolutely essential for the proper function of two vital systems of the body, digestion and immunity, one wants to make sure they are getting a beneficial amount on a daily basis for reversing health concerns and obtaining optimal health.
While most high end probiotic supplements are in the 50 billion active bacteria range, recent research showed that a 4-6 ounce serving of homemade raw sauerkraut has 10 TRILLION good bacteria! This absolutely dwarfs any probiotic supplement on the market.
Loaded with live enzymes
When you eat RAW, unpasteurized fermented foods, you ingest a multitude of living enzymes that are ready to go to work to break down carbohydrates, fats, and protein. This eases the load on the pancreas and other digestive organs, and provides much needed “material” for the hundreds of enzymatic processes in all parts of the body that keeps us alive and well.
While taking a digestive enzyme supplement can beneficial, it makes more sense to eat enzyme rich fermented foods at meals to provide the same beneficial effect (and many more), and use the supplement as an additional option if you require more power or diversity.
Rich in bio-available nutrients
Fermented foods are essentially pre-digested, which really means the food has already started to break down which leaves less strain on your digestive process to unlock the nutrients therein, and avoid toxins left behind due to poor digestive process that can’t complete this necessary process effectively.
In the case of sauerkraut, these unlocked nutrients ready for easy absorption include (but are not limited to) vitamins B1, B6, B9, C, K, and manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.
Creates better digestion
With all this probiotic and enzymatic power as well as synergistic nutrients, digestion typically improves with a consistent dosage of at least a few ounces a day. At first, it may create the typical digestive distress like gas and bloating due to a die off of harmful bacteria and fungus as the good bacteria crowds out and destroys pathogenic yeasts and other dangerous microbes. However, eventually those symptoms will start to subside and go away with consistent use (note: some people with SIBO may have issues with fermented foods, and have to use another method until the issue is properly rectified).
Some benefits related to digestion that can be created by fermented foods includes:
- Improved gastrointestinal disorders, including candida overgrowth and IBS
- Relieves chronic fatigue
- Alleviates allergies
- Relieves constipation
- Removes problematic bacteria and parasites
- Improves skin conditions
- Improves liver function
Improves the immune system
Since approximately 80% of your immune system is in your gut, it makes sense that your improved digestion will directly and positively affect your immune system. Although it is not perceived as important as many other systems, your immunity really is the bottom line for how well you feel and your ability to keep organisms and toxins out of your body that can facilitate a disease process.
So by consuming fermented foods on a regular basis, you are essentially building your “army” of good bacteria that will create the proper environment in your gut to search out and destroy any invading microbes or toxins that do not belong and can create a life long illness if not neutralized and dispatched of accordingly.
The trick to getting the best fermented foods is to look for raw, unpasteurized products that do not contain any other harmful ingredients such as white vinegar, sugar, and modified milk ingredients. Look for sauerkraut, kimchi, kvass, apple cider vinegar (with mother), kombucha, yogurt, kefir, miso, natto, sourdough bread, and more.
If you want to save some money and craft your own probiotic masterpieces, consider the following recipes below:
Sources for this article include: