Fermentation adds microbes to food and drinks for preservation purposes. The good bacteria and yeast consume the sugars in the edibles. They continue to do this once they reach the host’s gut, thus aiding the digestive process.
Eating fermented foods supports a healthy gut microbiome. They help replenish the population of good bacteria and other beneficial microorganisms in the body.
In turn, gut health contributes to the general health of a person. A healthy gut seems to lead to a happier person.
The good bacteria and yeasts found in fermented foods serve as probiotics. They bolster the health of the gut.
Some diseases come from an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Eating probiotic foods will help improve the following diseases:
- Bacterial infection
- Antibiotic-related diarrhea
- Infectious diarrhea
- Ulcerative colitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
They may help prevent thrust and yeast infections. Fermented foods also improve symptoms of depression, diabetes, hormonal disorders, kidney and liver problems, osteoporosis, and urinary tract infections. (Related: From gut health to antibiotics: How do bacteria affect your life?)
Kombucha and kefir
The first recommended fermented food is kombucha. This sweetened black tea has good bacteria that may help control inflammation. These probiotics break down sugar into alcohol. Unlike alcoholic drinks, kombucha does not have enough of the intoxicating substance to cause tipsiness, much less drunkenness.
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Besides alcohol, the good bacteria in kombucha produce natural antioxidants. These beneficial chemicals neutralize toxic molecules called free radicals, which appear connected to cancer, chronic inflammation, and other illnesses.
Researchers from the University of Latvia reviewed the physiological activities and health effects of kombucha. Their 2014 study found that the fermented tea might support the immune system and help prevent several metabolic disorders.
Next is kefir. Like yogurt, it is a dairy product that underwent fermentation. It is thinner in texture, allowing it to be consumed straight, poured over cereal, or incorporated into a full meal.
Its rich protein content makes kefir a healthier alternative to meat. Protein also increases the fullness experienced by a person after a meal. A sated person eats less food, which helps reduce weight and prevent obesity.
A 2017 study by Brazilian researchers at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa identified probiotic benefits in kefir. The fermented food might help regulate blood pressure levels and fight harmful inflammation.
Miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar, and fermented veggies
These foods come from fermented soybeans. The process keeps the substantial protein content of the beans, making miso, tofu, and tempeh popular with vegetarians and vegans who need alternatives to meat.
Further, fermentation frees peptides from soybeans for easier absorption. These amino acids help manage vital bodily functions.
Peptides help strengthen the immune response against infections and help prevent cancer and diabetes. Finally, they help normalize blood pressure and keep it stable.
Apple cider vinegar is an ingredient in salads, recipes, and teas. It also serves as a home remedy.
Süleyman Demirel University researchers noted that apple cider vinegar contains antioxidants, reduces cholesterol, and eliminates harmful microbes. Further, it helps prevent diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and tumors.
Fermented vegetables make up the last member of the list. Featuring plenty of fiber, minerals, and vitamins, they make for easy, tasty, and healthy additions to salads and sandwiches.
Pickles and sauerkraut often get preserved through fermentation. Other commonly fermented vegetables include broccoli, beets, eggplant, ginger, mustard greens, and okra.
The list of health-supporting fermented foods doesn’t stop here. Visit Veggie.news to learn more.