What are they?
Fermenting food is a metabolic process of converting the sugars into lactic acid (or alcohol or gas – but we’re not talking about that here). Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits bad bacteria. It has been used by cultures around the world forever, as a way of preserving food before fridges or cans existed and enhancing its flavour and nutrient content.
Common fermented foods you may have heard of include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, yoghurt, kefir, pickles, tempeh… You can basically ferment any fruit or vegetable and other things too such as dairy and soy. Most of them can be bought from your local supermarket or health food store.
Why eat them?
• The lactobacilli (bacteria) in fermented foods boosts their vitamin levels and improves their ability to be digested. More vitamins and better nutrient absorption means more bang for your buck when it comes to the amount of food you need to intake to satisfy your bodies needs. Less food needed = less calories = easier to manage weight.
• These bacteria help other good bacteria to grow in our intestines, promoting good gut health, which helps you absorb the nutrients from other (non-fermented) foods better too!
• Loads of enzymes, antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances are also produced in the fermentation process. These help you to function better, remove toxins from the body, fight diseases and stay healthy.
• When you ferment foods, sugar content is largely reduced.
I have been adding sauerkraut to everything lately, and today I came up with my favourite salad so far! It almost tasted like fast food… but yet so healthy!!
Chicken and sauerkraut (warmed up), with baby spinach leaves, avocado, cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary, coriander and parsley. Try it and let me know what you think!!!