Fermented foods

Fermented foods:Feed your gut

Although making and consuming fermented foods have made somewhat of a resurgance in recent years, the art and action of fermenting foods has been practised for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Historically used in Japan and Europe with such foods as pickles and sauerkraut, fermented veggies are now being seen more and more in Western cultures.

WHY I hear you ask? Good question!

The art of fermenting vegetables involves a process whereby vegetables such as cabbage, carrot, daikon and beetroot are (gently !) bashed with a wooden mallet to release the juices, then stored in a glass jar ( Mason jars, sterilised) with the best quality salt you can get your hands on like Himilayan or Murray River salt and left to ferment for 3 days before storing in the fridge.

Inside that jar of goodness, some amazing chemical processes are happening. The naturally occuring sugars in the vegetables (ie sucrose, glucose and fructose) are converted into energy and lactic acid, a metabolic by product of fermentation. The presence of lactic acid kills off harmful bacteria and also prevents putrefication of the contents. Fermented veggies are easier to digest and high in nutreients such as B12, K2 and Essential fatty acids and also has an alkalising effect on the body and stabilises blood sugar levels. They also increase levels of good bacteria in out digestive tract, improving not only gut function but immune function also.

Our gut is barraged by anti biotics, stress, medications, processed and refined foods. DID YOU KNOW that 70% of our body’s immune cells and the majority of our serotonin (important for mood stabilisation) producing cells are located in our digestive tract?! The gut is also colloquially coined our “2nd brain” because it houses over 100 million neurons or nerve cells, bringing new meaning to having a “gut feeling”…..Our gut is lined with a network of neurons that send messages back to the brain to initiate satiety and indicate fullness. There is a massive link between our gut and our brain, who knew!

Fermented foods have huge health benefits not only for the gut, but for immune health and mood. They are super simple to prepare yourself. Always organic or home grown produce, use good quality salt, filtered water and add spices, garlic, ginger and seaweed for flavour. Add a tbs to each meal and reap the benefits. If you are buying store bought fermented products, avoid products that use vinegar and sugar. Some great fermented products include kefir, yoghurt, quark, tamari, miso, natto, tempeh, kombucha and of course fermented veggies. There are some great hard copy references such as “nourishing Traditions “ by Sally Fallon as well as an abundance of online tutorials to follow as well as fermenting classes and courses.

I see a run on mason jars this week………! Happy fermenting.