Posted on March 2, 2012 by Simply Ducky | No Comments Yet »
Eating fermented foods has become an essential part of my life. My digestion has always been tetchy causing numerous negative reactions to food. There are times when the list of foods I can’t eat seems longer than the list of foods that I can eat. So I introduced fermented foods to my diet on a regular basis. Sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and yogurt cheese are usual “sides” to any meal. It is not a cure all but it has helped.
Two wonderful books on fermentaion are Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz. They have become my primary sourse on fermentation.
I have made yogurt at home for many years. It is delicious and so easy to make. Our dog, Molly, loves a spoonful with her morning breakfast. For children coming to visit I add a dollop of jam – Blue Marsh Farm & Kitchen jam of course. It provides a sweet note to an otherwise sour dish. I love sour tastes, but not everyone does. I also make yogurt cheese from the yogurt. You just let your yogurt drain through some cheesecloth for about 24 hours. Then you have a beautiful ball of tangy cheese, very like sour cream. Again this is delicious on crackers or hor biscuits with a dollop of jam.
And I LOVE my fermented garlic. Added to salads, scrambled eggs, dressings, or straight out of the jar as a snack.
Humans all over the world have been fermenting food since ancient times. As far back as records will take us, man has used the art of fermenting foods to improve holding and storing properties of foods. Fermentation is one of the oldest practical food sciences in existence.
Not only is fermentation a time-honoured means of food preservation but fermented foods play an essential role in healthy digestion.
Fermented food uses microorganisms to convert sugars into lactic acid, creating a signature sour taste. When foods are fermented the bacteria, yeasts or molds used in the process, predigest the food, meaning they break down the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to create microflora, friendly, life giving bacteria beneficial to the gastrointestinal system. These colonize the intestines and work to keep the unfriendly intestinal organisms under control, such as yeast, parasites, virus, and unfriendly bacteria.
Fermented foods help balance the production of stomach acid. Fermented foods have the unique ability to ease digestive discomfort related to having either too much or too little stomach acid. When the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach is low, fermented foods help increase the acidity of gastric juices. On the other hand, when the stomach produces too much acid, fermented foods help protect the stomach and intestinal lining.
As we age, our production of the digestive juices and enzymes required for proper digestion begin to decrease. Eating fermented foods can help make up for this loss. Raw, fermented foods are rich in enzymes. Our body needs enzymes to properly digest, absorb, and make full use of our food.
And people with diabetes really benefit from fermented foods. In addition to improving pancreatic function, which is of great benefit to diabetics, the carbohydrates in lactic acid ermented foods have been broken down or “pre-digested.” As a result, they do not place an extra burden on the pancreas, unlike ordinary carbohydrates.
Eating fermented food helps us to absorb the nutrients we’re consuming. You can ingest huge amounts of nutrients, but unless you actually absorb them, they’re useless to you. When you improve digestion, you improve absorption. Without adequate beneficial microflora in your gut, you can’t absorb nutrients in the foods you are eating.
So go ahead and add some fermented foods daily to your diet. Your gut will thank you.