You've probably heard about probiotics in reference to diet. Every pharmacy these days has numerous shelves of probiotic supplements. But what do they do? They replenish the lining of your gut with helpful yeasts and bacteria, which helps with digestion and overall gut health.
Each probiotic supplement claims to contain the best strains of bacteria, unlike other brands. However, you don't need to spend heavily on these supplements.
Consuming fermented foods is the easiest and most affordable way to maintain good gut health. The best part is, you can make them at home.
HOW DOES FERMENTATION WORK?
When food goes through the lacto-fermentation process (natural bacteria feeds on the sugar and starch), lactic acid is formed. This process preserves the food and makes minerals from the food more readily available for digestion.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF FERMENTED FOODS
Apart from the various strains of probiotics, fermentation creates B-vitamins, enzymes, and Omega-3 fatty acids, which boost your heart function and blood flow.
Fermented food also keeps your body's bacteria to yeast ratio balanced. If you're a lady and struggle with yeast infections, eating fermented foods helps your body prevent yeast overgrowth.
Our top fermented foods
Kefir is very similar to yogurt, but with a more drinkable consistency. It's an excellent source of calcium, and you can make it from any milk product. If you're unable to drink kefir by itself due to the overwhelming taste, we recommend adding it to your smoothies.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and salt. Apart from the probiotics, it's also a great source of fiber.
Yogurt contains loads of probiotics. Yogurt varieties that have the "Live and Active Cultures" label have 100 million probiotic cultures per gram (at the time of manufacturing). It's easy to incorporate yogurt into your diet since it's tasty. You can consume it alone or with fruits for a healthy meal.
Kimchi is the Korean version of sauerkraut, but spicy. The red peppers in this fermented food will clear out your sinuses too.
Kombucha is one of the most popular fermented foods. It comes in many types, some coming from tea, others coming from mushrooms. During the fermentation process, one of the by-products is a small amount of alcohol. Some companies make kombucha beer, which also contains probiotics.
Any vegetable will work for the fermentation process, but you get better results when you use those higher in sugar. Fermented veggies make a great garnish or snack as well.
DIY veggie fermentation
Do you want to start fermenting foods at home? Here are some brief steps to get you started.
- Prepare your veggies by grating, chopping, slicing, spearing, or leaving them whole.
- Decide whether you'd like to use whey, salt, or starter culture to ferment your veggies.
- Use water to prepare the brine. Avoid tap water if possible, since it contains contaminants that affect the taste of the veggies.
- Put the veggies in a mason jar or any container with a sealable lid. Add the brine to your jar, making sure to submerge the vegetables fully. Seal the lid.
- After the veggies finish culturing, move them to cold storage.
The Sole Toscana Beauty Team