Fermented foods enrich the body with beneficial bacteria, plant compounds, and they are also delicious. AboutMans talks about what fermented foods are, how they are useful, and why you need to eat a little of them every day.
What is fermentation
Fermentation is the process by which bacteria and yeast break down carbohydrates. Fermentation helps to preserve food for longer, and also changes and improves the taste of some products. For example, fermentation makes olives less bitter and more flavorful. Probiotics, which are formed during fermentation, are beneficial for digestion and have a positive effect on health.
– It is believed that the longevity and slenderness of the Japanese and Koreans are associated with the presence of a large number of fermented products in their diet: pickled side dishes, miso soup, soy sauce. The peculiarity of fermented products is that enzymes accelerate chemical processes and change the product composition. Fungal culture produces many enzymes that break down macromolecules of starch, proteins and fats into components, i.e. partially digest food before it is in the stomach. This greatly simplifies the digestive process in the body. In addition to probiotics, the product is enriched with enzymes, vitamins B, K, C, omega-3-polynenesaturated fatty acids.
What are the benefits of fermented products?
Mostly probiotics. Probiotics are part of the human intestinal microbiome. They maintain the health of the gastrointestinal tract and immunity, contribute to weight normalization. If fermented foods are eaten regularly, they can help relieve constipation, improve lactose absorption, and help fight harmful bacteria such as pylori (H. pylori), which often causes gastritis and ulcers. In 2019, American scientists found that probiotics could alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Chinese scientists believe that probiotics can even prevent cancer.
Fermented vegetables are rich in fiber, which also makes digestion easier and improves the gastrointestinal tract.
Fermented foods for every day
This fermented milk product has been known to everyone since childhood. Kefir is produced from whole or skimmed cow milk with the help of sour-milk fermentation, kefir “fungi”, milk-acid streptococci and sticks, yeast. Unique for kefir bacteria Lactobacillus kefiri, getting into the body, fight against harmful microorganisms (salmonella, Helicobacter pylori, Escherichia coli and others).
It is believed that the drink helps to fight lactose intolerance. However, if you are lactose intolerant and do not want to experiment, choose lactose-free kefir or prepare the drink yourself on a dairy-free probiotic basis.
Kefir is a good complement to a healthy diet. Fermented milk drink contains less than 100 calories per glass depending on fat content, 4-5 grams of protein, 7-8 grams of carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins D and B12.
The beverage cooked on the basis of a tea mushroom is now called the fashionable word “kombucha”. This fermented tea was invented not in the Soviet Union, but in ancient China. Kombucha is cooked on the basis of green or black tea, so it is rich in antioxidants.
Serbian scientists have discovered that kombucha is capable of suppressing cancer cells and preventing their spread. However, the experiment so far has only been done in a laboratory environment. Animal studies show that the use of kombucha can prevent liver damage from toxic substances.
Kombucha is sold in many supermarkets, so it is not necessary to grow an unaesthetic mushroom at home in a jar. A drink with honey, stevia, coffee and other supplements tastes good and refreshing in the heat, so it makes sense to keep a couple of bottles of kombucha in the fridge.
Easy to prepare at home, tasty, healthy and suitable for almost any main course – that’s why we love sauerkraut. Fresh cabbage turns into sauerkraut thanks to lactic acid fermentation and acquires even more useful properties. Lactic acid bacteria keep the intestines healthy, while fibre and water in the cabbage make digestion easier.
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. It tastes like tofu, which is more common in Russia. Research has shown that plant compounds at a pace can act as antioxidants, reducing the buildup of dangerous free radicals in the body.
Soy foods reduce the risk of heart disease. This effect is associated with a high content of phytoestrogens. There is an assumption that the consumption of 50 grams of soy protein daily helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10%. Chinese scientists have found that women who ate soy products at least once a week had a 48–56% reduction in breast cancer risk.
Fermented foods also include miso soybean paste, kimchi, and Japanese natto, but these are not easy to find.
– Korean dish of fermented vegetables kimchi is rich in valuable lactobacilli, improves lipid metabolism, and is good for the cardiovascular system. Scientists have proven that kimchi helps to reduce weight and normalize blood pressure.
Fermented foods also include yoghurt, ideally it should only be made from milk and sourdough. Pay attention to the composition and expiration date – the shorter the better. You can also make natural yoghurt without unnecessary ingredients at home in a yoghurt maker. Scientists from Britain, the USA, the Netherlands and Israel have shown that there is a direct link between low body weight and regular yogurt consumption.
How to eat fermented foods
Add a couple of tablespoons of sauerkraut or tempeh to your main meals to add probiotics to your diet. Add cinnamon or berries to kefir for a healthy and tasty snack or late dinner. Kombucha is a healthy alternative to regular tea or unhealthy sodas. During the fermentation process, natural gas is formed in the drink.
Too much fermented foods in your diet can lead to bloating, so a healthy measure should be followed. It is individual for each person.
– Fermented foods in large quantities can be harmful, especially if a person suffers from intolerance to any substances or gastrointestinal diseases. Fermented food stimulates the production of gastric juice, so people with gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer should limit their intake of these foods.
If there are no contraindications and intolerance, then the question of the amount of fermented foods in the diet is decided depending on their type. So, dairy and fermented milk products can be consumed three or more servings a day, if there is no intolerance or allergy to milk protein.