A diet rich in fermented foods enhances the diversity of gut microbes and decreases molecular signs of inflammation, according to researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine.
So what are the top 10 fermented foods to help create that diversity of microbes?
- Milk Kefir
- Plain Live Yogurt
- Dry Curd Cottage Cheese or Farmer’s Cheese, or fermented cottage cheese (or Kefir cheese)
- Fermented Vegetables
- Water kefir
- Other probiotic drinks such as Apple cider vinegar or Red wine vinegar
- Various other cultured products such as sourdough
The great News is that you can quickly and cheaply make them all at home.
Before the age of refrigeration Fermentation was historically used as a food preservation process where sugars are broken down by bacteria and yeasts. As such, fermented foods are a great source of probiotics because they contain live bacteria. Pickling will also preserve foods BUT only foods preserved in salt and fermented (lacto fermentation) rather than vinegar contain probiotics. This makes fermented foods fantastic for helping to diversify your gut health not to mention the fact that fermented foods such as kimchi sauerkraut etc taste amazing. You will need a fermentation jar to ferment your vegetables in but the choice and varieties of ferments you can make is limited only by the vegetables you can get.
When foods are fermented they create beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli, which enhances the growth of beneficial bowel bacteria. The fermenting process also boosts the vegetables digestibility and increases their nutrient content.
Through the process of fermentation in dairy products The live natural bacteria help break down the lactose (a sugar) making fermented dairy foods such as kefir, yogurt, and cottage cheese, high in probiotic but suitable for those with lactose intolerances.
With tempeh fermentation creates a probiotic rich food that also contains all essential amino acids, it is an excellent source of protein and fibre,
Why not try incorporating at least one serving of one or more of the fermented foods above to to support your gut health this new year.