Besides fermented foods being delicious (…bar fermented fish…), they also provide us with a number of health benefits. Here are our top 5 reasons you should start fermenting.
1. It builds gut health
Unfortunately our Western diet of processed, sugary foods has wreaked havoc on our gut health. These foods feed the bad bacteria in our gut and suppress the growth of healthy flora in our intestines. Fermented foods contain probiotics and acids that balance the pH levels in our gut and support the good bacteria – helping to heal our digestive system and build its health.
2. It activates nutrients
The lactic acid in fermented vegetables activates enzymes that aid in the digestive process. These acids also help to unlock vitamins in the vegetables, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K2.
3. It reduces food wastage
Ok so this one isn’t necessarily a health benefit, but it is still a benefit!! Fermenting foods that are based on lacto-fermentation (using salt – and sometimes whey, not sugar to ferment) is a great way to preserve vegetables. The lacto-fermentation process encourages the natural and ‘good’ bacteria (lactobacillus if you want to be technical) in the vegetables to flourish. This then produces lactic acid that starves the ‘bad’ bacteria that would otherwise cause the veggies to go rotten.
4. It reduces the sugar content
Like the same process that causes grapes to turn into red wine; fermenting eats up the sugar in the vegetables, with the end result being fructose-free.
5. It reduces sugar cravings
The bacteria in our gut actually secrete proteins that act in a similar way to our hunger-regulating hormones. When you eat sugar, these bacteria gobble it up and then send the signal to our brain that we need more – feeding the sugar craving cycle. Fermented foods combat this craving cycle by growing and feeding the ‘good’ bacteria. As the good bacteria grow, they overpower the bad bacteria and diminish the craving cycle.
If these 5 reasons haven’t convinced you to ferment your own veg, why not try our favourite fermented recipes (and hopefully the tastiness of them will convince you)!