You may have seen an increase of fermented food choices in the marketplace. Consumption of fermented foods is not the latest fad. Facts show that fermented foods have been around for centuries. Indigenous or traditional fermented foods have been prepared and consumed for hundreds of years and are strongly linked to cultures and traditional of millions of people around the world, especially in rural communities.
A 2004 study of pottery pieces found in Northern China indicated fermentation of rice, honey and fruit dating back 9000 years ago. Today in Japan, most meals contain fermented vegetables. Korean kimchi is a mixture of fermented cabbage and other vegetables. A search on sauerkraut history reports immigrants from Europe often carried barrels of sauerkraut on ships for its medicinal purposes. The word shows up in English Language as early as 1776. Chinese cooks were also pickling cabbage in wine (as early as 200 B.C.) and using it as a accompaniment to meals. The health benefits of fermented food consumption are also well documented.
From a 2013 study at Emory University The researchers demonstrated that bacteria in the gut, particularly members of the genus Lactobacillus, promote the growth of host epithelial cells and that this is essential for maintaining homeostasis in the intestinal system. The findings, which are published today in The EMBO Journal, could have implications for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease as well as allergic, metabolic and infectious disorders. The Journal of Medicinal Food report findings of Kimchi consumption reducing cholesterol levels in young adults.
If you would like to start experiencing the benefits of fermented foods in your diet, it would be wise to start slowly incorporating one to three tablespoons of fermented foods with at least one meal a day. You should always introduce new foods slowly in order to allow your current intestinal biome time to adjust. I suggest you keep a food diary to determine the effects of adding them to your diet.
Epigenetics has shown some people can be affected negatively by adding too many fermented foods to their diet. In some individuals fermented foods can raise histamine and glutamate levels due to their genetic SNPs. A good goal would be to increase to a third of a cup of fermented food with each meal. You can try different types of fermented foods. Fermented pickles, sauerkraut, beet kvass, fermented dilly beans, apple cider vinegar with the mother in it or kefir are all good ones to try. It is important to note the label must say raw and fermented. These items should be found in the refrigeration section of your market. When items such as kraut are purchased from the non refrigerated section the heat process that preserves them to be shelf stable is not the same thing as fermented. The heat is detrimental to the live enzymes that we so desperately need for gut health. Good gut health affects all of our body systems. Anxiety, depression, all auto immune diseases and thyroid health are affected by gut health.
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Further reading on fermented foods:
Indigenous fermented foods (PDF Download Available). Available from: