Touted as one of 2016’s most important culinary trends, fermented foods are being heralded as a vital component of a gut friendly diet. No longer the preserve of your granny’s pantry, pickles are having a superfood moment. So, push that flavoured yoghurt drink to one side and dust off your jam jars, there’s a new friendly bacteria in town…
So, what is fermentation?
As counterintuitive as it may sound to cultivate your food with bacteria, essentially, this is the process involved in fermentation.
During pickling or preserving, harmless microorganisms start to munch on vegetables and dairy products. The sugars and carbohydrates are then converted into sour tasting compounds such as lactic acid which help to give the food a lengthy shelf life.
Why are fermented foods good for the gut?
There are many reasons to get stuck into the sauerkraut. The process of natural fermentation creates a platter of friendly, gut loving digestive enzymes, vitamins and probiotics, essential for maintaining a healthy, balanced digestive tract.
Fermented foods are also much easier to digest because they’ve been partially broken down by the bacteria, so a lot of the hard work has already been done for you – good news for a grumbling gut!
Ok, I’m willing to try – what should I eat?
So, if you’re keen on the potential benefits of fermented foods and you’re wondering where to start, there are a number of potential preserves worth piling on your plate…
If meat free Mondays have made their way into your kitchen, you might be interested in this popular vegan staple. Packed full of amino acids, this versatile ingredient made from fermented soybeans is an easy way to introduce some friendly bacteria into your diet.
Stock up on Sauerkraut
More popularly eaten laden on American hot dogs, this pickled cabbage side dish really deserves more of a starring role on our plates. Packed full of more lactobacillus than live yoghurt, this salty super vegetable helps fight infection, aid digestion and increase the healthy flora in the gut.
Pick up a Pickle
If you’re that one person who insists on picking the gherkins out of your burger, you’re missing a trick! These sour snacks are a perfect introduction to the taste of fermented foods. Tangy and crunchy, they complement everything from sandwiches to a ploughman’s lunch whilst providing a decent dose of probiotics.
Another cabbage-based fermented food, this time hailing from Korea, Kimchi is high in fibre and low in fat. This spicy side dish is packed full of healthy, gut loving bacteria, as well as the health enhancing properties of the garlic and chillies used during the fermentation process.
Listen to your gut…
Often referred to as the second brain, Your gut is a vital hub of information about your health and it’s sensitive, reacting to everything from stress to the food you feed it, medication and lifestyle choices.
If you suspect something in your diet may be disagreeing with you, why not take action and discover your personal food fingerprint with our simple home to laboratory test.
The Food&DrinkScan Programme provides comprehensive analysis of your food-specific IgG antibody reactions to 158 foods and drinks, supported with a Nutritional Therapy consultation to help you optimise your diet.