Inspired by our recent travels, this Kimchi recipe is a great variation on the typical fermented cabbage.
Makes 1 extra large jar
Gut bacteria impacts everything from our metabolism to digestion, mental function and immune system. It’s estimated that our gut actually contains 100 trillion bacteria – 10 times as many bacteria as cells in the human body! These bacteria help to extract energy from the food we eat to build the strength of our immune system to protect against infection and disease.
As Hippocrates, the founding father of modern medicine, said “all disease begins in the gut”. This post covers three key things our gut health can impact.
A change in our gut bacteria can actually cause us to overeat. Studies have shown that the bacterial makeup of obese and lean people is different. When studying the gut health of mice (because, believe it or not, mice and humans have a very similar gut make up) the gut bacteria of lean mice was swapped with the gut bacteria of obese mice. The results showed that the obese mice, with the lean mice’s gut bacteria, lost weight and the lean mice gained weight. It turned out that this was because the bacteria of the gut in obese individuals actually increases the amount of energy (aka calories) extracted from food.
Our gut bacteria make up 84% of our immune system. When our exposure to toxins (such as antibiotics, xenoestrogens and probiotic-poor foods) increases, the balance between the good and bad bacteria in our gets out of wack. As the good bacteria are depleted and the bad bacteria take over, inflammation occurs in our gut and cause damage. This is significant because our gut is the first line of defence between us and toxins. Healthy gut bacteria improves our immunity through a number of ways:
The health of our gut plays a role in how well our brain functions. Studies have shown that when more probiotic-rich foods (such as ferments, you can make your own here) are consumed, the cognitive development and sensory processing functions of our brains exhibit positive responses.
Paleo Raspberry and Coconut Gelatin Gummies Recipe
These gummies are a perfect for killing two birds with one stone – satisfying your cravings for a sweet paleo snack and healing your gut.
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)!
Pickles, who doesn’t love them? Crunchy, salty, vinegary, sometimes spicy…the perfect combo. Plus, don’t forget the benefits from pickling for our gut health!
Fermented pickles encourage the growth of probiotic bacteria, which helps to replenish our digestive system and restore our gut health…and we all know how important our that is!
Here at Healed by Bacon, we make a batch of these pickles each week to eat with our lunches, dinners or just as a snack.