Sauerkraut or kimchi might not be the first thing that jumps to your mind when you think ‘healthy food’ however, fermented foods are all the rage at the moment and for good reason – they offer a range of benefits. Not only does fermentation preserve food, but it can also give your body a healthy dose of probiotics or ‘friendly bacteria’.
How does it work?
The fermentation process involves the breakdown of carbs by bacteria and yeast, which results in the distinct, zingy flavour in foods such as sauerkraut. All vegetables are covered in good bacteria, such as lactobacillus. When sliced up, grated and combined with salt, juice is released and combines with salt to create a brine, and this s where lactobacillus (a strain of good bacteria) multiplies.
Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria that support gut health, but scientists are still exploring many of the potential benefits they may offer. Fermented foods are also thought to be beneficial for:
- Supporting the immune system
- Improving bowel health
- Improving digestion
- Being a great source of antioxidants
Fermented foods to try
Most cultures have some form of fermented food in their diet. Some tasty, fermented foods you can try adding to your diet include:
- Sauerkraut: made from fermented cabbage with sea salt.
- Kimchi: fermented napa cabbage made with added spices.
- Miso: a fermented paste made from soybeans, barely or rice.
- Sourdough: a bread made from naturally fermented grains.
- Kefir: a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains