Fermentation, it’s how some of our favorite beverages and foods are made. Not only does this process create some delicious flavors but it also enhances the nutrient supply and health benefits in many foods and beverages.
It’s used to turn cabbage into raw sauerkraut, tea into kombucha, veggies into kimchi, juice into wine and more. A stroll through your local grocery store offers a variety of fermented foods, but it doesn’t stop there. There are avenues to ferment foods in your own home.
How Does It Work
Fermentation is a process by which a chemical change occurs using microorganisms. The items being fermented are typically placed in a glass container where it can remain still while fermenting. There are two types of fermentation that can take place under these conditions: alcoholic and lactic acid.
Alcoholic fermentation produces products like bread, beer, and wine. Pyruvate, which is produced through glucose metabolism, is broken down into carbon dioxide and ethanol by the microorganisms added.
Lactic acid fermentation produces products like sourdough bread, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Similar to alcoholic fermentation, the lactic acid fermentation process ferments pyruvate molecules into lactic acid.
Why Try It
It starts with something called probiotics.
Over the years we’ve learned that the human body is composed of a variety of microorganisms. In fact, our bodies contain more microorganisms than cells (that’s a lot!). A very important family of microorganisms called the gut microbiome reside in the gut. We often refer to the beneficial bacteria that reside in the gut as probiotics.
These probiotics that make up the gut microbiome play a crucial role in gut health and overall health. They are largely responsible for important body functions and have the capability to affect the body’s mineral and vitamin absorbency, digestion, hormone regulation, immune response, and the body’s ability to get rid of toxins.
When it comes to the health of the gut microbiome, we are looking for both richness and diversity, in other words, a large community of diverse friendly bacteria.
So, what does this all have to do with fermented foods?
Fermented foods and beverages are rich in natural probiotics that help seed the gut with beneficial bacteria and maintain a healthy balance in the gut.
But, that’s not where the benefits of fermented foods end. Let’s take a closer look at how probiotics work and explore the many other benefits of fermented foods.
- Supports Healthy Digestion. When foods are fermented, the breakdown of nutrients allows for better digestion. Good bacteria thrive under fermentation conditions increasing vitamin levels and digestibility. Along with being a great source of beneficial living bacteria, probiotics and fermented foods and drinks are perfect for aiding in digestion and making the most of the foods you eat.
- Unlocks More Nutrients from Your Diet. Fermentation increases the bioavailability of key nutrients such as vitamin B, niacin, thiamine, folic acid, riboflavin, and biotin. With better digestibility, more dietary nutrients are available when food passes through your system.
The bioavailability of fats and proteins, like lactic acid, are enhanced as well. Lactic acid bacteria can increase the production of amino acids and short-chain fatty acids that may help to support your gut microbiome.
- Helps Support Gut Functions. Fermentation helps to balance the good and bad bacteria living in your microbiome. Maintaining this balance is key for many functions, including your immune system. The gut represents almost 70% of your immune system which means wellness and health start in the gut.
How To Do It
Fermenting food might seem like a tough task, but the reality is that it’s a method that humans have been utilizing for over 10,000 years. Now, let’s create some lactic acid!
- Tools and Equipment. The main piece of equipment is a glass container. We recommend sticking with glass for its purity and visibility.
Next, you’ll need cloth or coffee filters secured around the lid with a rubber band as the fermentation process takes place. You’ll also need lids to cap the jars and preserve your creations.
- Your Favorite Veggies. Chop up your vegetables and fill the jar. Smaller bite-sized pieces are ideal as it helps to speed up the fermentation.
- Whey, Salt, or Starter Culture. Depending on your ingredients, you will need one of these to ferment your foods. When deciding on a recipe, a quick internet search will help you determine which to use.
- Keep it Under the Brine. It is important to keep your vegetables weighed down under the brine to avoid spoiling. Place your heavier ingredients towards the top to help.
You can also use small rocks that you boiled for 15-20 minutes and scrubbed thoroughly to keep everything weighed down.
- Storage. After fermenting place a lid on your jar and store your creations in a cool place to preserve.
Fermentation is a great way to get more out of your food. Courtesy of the probiotics present, fermented foods support your gut microbiome and promote balance and regularity, bringing you one step farther on your wellness journey.
Of course, fermented foods are not the only way to obtain these beneficial probiotics. You can ensure you are continually seeding your gut with beneficial bacteria with the help of a daily probiotic supplement like Spectrabiotic. What’s more, you can try it risk-free with our 90-day empty bottle guarantee.
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