Superfood #3. Fermented Foods - Lacto-fermented foods have been around for a very long time. Common in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and North and Central European cuisine, fermentation has been used to enhance the flavor of food, create food, and help food having a longer shelf life. Fermented foods are delicious and nutritious. These traditional foods are key to our health.
Fermentation allows the bacteria, yeasts and molds to "predigest" and therefore break down the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to create probiotics which offer friendly bacteria into the digestive tract. This helps keep our immune system strong and supports overall digestive health.
Keep your digestive flora healthy and strong by regularly eating fermented foods.
Fermented foods are enzyme rich foods that are alive with micro-organisms. These foods allow beneficial microflora to "colonize" in the intestines (and for moms-to-be, also in the birth canal). This "inner ecosystem" helps support our health and fight infection. A healthy gastrointestinal tract is critical to a strong immune system. Diets rich in fermented foods, as well as fruits and vegetables, are best for us to in order to maintain a strong healthy body.
Fermented foods aid in digestion, promote healthy flora in the digestive tract, produce beneficial enzymes, offer better nutrition and allow the body to absorb vitamins (in particular C, and B12), minerals, nutritional value and omega 3s more effectively from foods. They regulate the level of acidity in the digestive tract and act as anti-oxidants. Fermented foods contain the same isothiocyanates found in cruciferous vegetables and therefore fight and prevent cancer.
Many fermented foods on the market today are not true fermented foods because they are created to maximize profits and shelf life instead of health. They are not as beneficial. It's important that we eat foods that are fermented with "Active" or "Live" Cultures.
Pasteurization kills off the living bacteria so look for unpasteurized and fresh fermented foods (in the grocery refrigerator section). Since fermentation is a way to keep the living enzymes alive, it goes against the theory to use pasteurized (or dead) milk, for example, but you can make yogurt and kefir with pasteurized milk, it just won't be as robust and beneficial.
Fermented Foods include: Acidophilus milk, amasake, beer, bleu cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, cultured vegetables, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, marinated artichokes, miso, olives, pickles, saurkraut, soy sauce, tea, tempeh, umeboshi plums, vinegar, yogurt.