What Is Fermented Food
Ferments are foods that have been transformed by the growth and metabolic activity of living microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast and even moulds. They include yoghurt, kefir and some cheeses, which are produced as a result of lactic acid bacteria feeding on the lactose and other nutrients in milk. It’s the effect on our health of these living microorganisms that scientists are interested in. But check the label, because not all fermented foods contain live microorganisms. Sauerkraut and kimchi can be made with vinegar, or pasteurised, which kills the bacteria, and of course many cheeses have been pasteurised.
Fermented Foods And Gut Health:
The composition of our gut microbiome, including the F: B ratio, is influenced by what we eat14,18,19. Fermentation has been shown to introduce new compounds to food which are delivered to our gut and also enhance the nutritive value of food6. Lets talk about some specific fermented foods:
Kefir. Current research shows that regular consumption of kefir can benefit our health including by improving digestion and by having anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. However, much of the research is done in vitro or on animals which reduces the ability to generalise those results to humans20. For example, kefir supplementation has been shown to alter the gut microbiome composition decreasing the F: B ratio in mice21.
The review attempted to overcome the limitations in research by focusing on studies looking at the effect of kefir on animal and human health. It found kefir does have potential health benefits including supporting our gut health. Further, kefir is a low cost and safe drink which can be made at home and can easily be consumed as part of our diets. However, the research is too limited to say that kefir improves our health20.
Overall, there is research which shows that fermented foods including those mentioned above and more, may have a positive effect on our gut microbiome and overall health. However, the research is currently limited and more needs to be conducted to determine the effect of different fermented foods on our health.
May Improve Mood And Behaviour
Our understanding of the gut and how it impacts our mood and behaviour is fast evolving, and it would appear that fermented foods may play an important part. Certain strains of probiotic bacteria, including Lactobacillis helveticus and Bifidobacteria longum, commonly found in fermented foods, may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Another strain, Lactobacillis casei Shirota, may also influence the production of cortisol and minimise physical symptoms of stress.
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Tip #: It Pays To Talk About Your Problems
Whether its a sit-down consultation with a gastroenterologist, or a simple discussion at home about what foods disagree with you, voicing your concerns or observations about gut health is key to sorting any problems. Suffering in silence helps no-one, and only when you start trying to solve the problem will the answer eventually present itself.
The more people that talk about what causes problems to their gut microbiome and what they find can alleviate any symptoms, the better our understanding becomes, advises Chase. Im constantly learning alongside Willys community, and Im excited and inspired to see what the future brings for live gut healthy foods.
Tip #: Try A Daily Dose Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Sometimes, supplementing your diet is the only way to achieve balance within your body. And, while Chase advises you steer clear of some aliments and additives Im opposed to pills and potions and unproven fake remedies, he says, such as ACV gummies the farmer has been following the trials and tests surrounding apple cider vinegar for years. And he has been wholly convinced of its capabilities.
ACV is a natural remedy that has been tried and tested, says Chase. Im overwhelmed by all of the great reviews weve received in the past 12 months, in particular for our Secret Sauce turmeric ACV. I believe in taking live ACV as a daily dose to improve gut health. As apples are one of the best antioxidants, with a low pH, this also makes our apple cider vinegar one of the best condiments to bring your food to life.
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Tip #: Eat A Rainbow Of Foods To Support Your System
But theres more. Adding a little apple cider vinegar to your daily routine may be the boost your digestive system needs but the only way to maintain your newfound gut balance is to develop a diet focused around the right foods. And, as Chase explains, this extends beyond probiotics to incorporate vitamin-rich vegetables, and even certain spices.
Id say having a balanced diet of mixed herbs and spices such as turmeric, garlic, horseradish and ginger will help to benefit your gut health, recommends Chase. As well as eating the rainbow and fermented both probiotic and prebiotics foods. Since starting Willys, the biggest enemy to our gut microbiome that I have discovered is the dangers of industrially processed foods and sugars.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Fermented Foods
One of the most exciting fields of research right now is the science of the gut microbiome, the 100 trillion-ish bacteria living in your digestive tract. Scientists are still working to fully understand just how your gut microbiome impacts the rest of your body, but the researchers at Harvard Medical School are beginning to link the health of these tiny creatures to everything from cognitive disorders to obesity. One of the best ways to support your gut health is by consuming fermented foods, such as kefir or kombucha.
While the science is new, its very promising. One study found that consuming fermented foods consistently for ten weeks reduced the amount of inflammatory proteins observed in trial participants. This included proteins linked to things like chronic stress and endocrine conditions. By supporting a healthy gut microbiome, youre also supporting a robust immune system, sufficient vitamin production, and pain-free digestion. In fact, microbiology scientist Justin Sonnenburg told Stanford Medicine News Center that incorporating fermented foods into your diet is one of the most effective dietary changes you can make in support of your overall health. Forget the fad diets just add some fermented foods to your weekly meals.
Why Eat Fermented Food Regularly
Gut health takes time. Youll start feeling the effects after your first few servings, but promoting a healthy gut is an ongoing project. How much and how often you eat fermented food really depends on how your gut feels and which dishes you think are the most delicious! Start by adding a spoonful to your breakfast or enjoying a glass of kombucha every day, and try to include a variety of fermented foods in your diet.
Source Of Beneficial Lactic Acid Bacteria
Most fermented foods contribute bacteria that have a potential probiotic effect. This means that these bacteria may help restore the balance of bacteria in your gut, support digestive health and alleviate any digestive issues. Probiotic amounts will vary, however, and the number of bacteria that arrive in the gut, where they can be of benefit, will depend on a number of factors, including the food in which they are delivered, with those supplying fibres referred to as prebiotic being the most beneficial.
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Recipes To Add More Fermented Foods To Breakfast Lunch And Dinner
Overall, a meal plan rich in fermented foods may help enhance the diversity of gut microbes and decrease inflammation, so layering fermented foods into your weekly meal prep can be another way to boost your gut health .
Fermented dairy products can be easily enjoyed for breakfast as a yogurt parfait or kefir smoothie, but other fermented foods can be a little more challenging to incorporate into your diet. Here are two tips to help:
- Use them as a garnish: Because fermented foods contain living organisms, you’ll get the most out of some of them by adding them to recipes after cooking, like a garnish. If you’re struggling with your meal prep for the week and don’t have time to cook, we got you! Use our meal plan quiz to shop for the meal plan that best fits your health goals, then all you need is a jar of pickled vegetables for garnish. A little sauerkraut or kimchi goes wonderfully with our breakfast scrambles.
Feel The Difference Fermented Foods Make
Fermented foods are a convenient way of adding probiotics to your diet, instead of relying on supplements.
Fermented foods can help improve digestion, increase your energy, boost immunity, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
With a healthy amount of probiotics thriving in your gut, youll make a positive overall impact on your immune system.
Probiotics act as natural bio-preservatives, by competing for the same nutrients that harmful bacteria would need in order to grow.
A side effect of eating probiotics is that they enhance your bodys ability to absorb, use, and retain the nutrients from food you eat.
Improving the gut-brain connection affects your overall well-being. Adding fermented foods to your diet can make that happen.
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So What Are The Health Benefits Of Fermented Foods
Since theyre pre-digested by a host of friendly microorganisms, many of these foods become easier for our digestive tracts to process once theyre fermented. A common example is soybeans. These are difficult for our bodies to process in their raw state, but fermentation allows us to absorb more nutrients when we eat them in forms such as tofu or tempeh.
The other health benefit of fermented foods is the healthy bacteria that they are believed to contribute to our gut microbiome. Thats right: the same army of microorganisms that breaks down food as it ferments accompanies it into our bodies. Our digestive tracts contain trillions of organisms which help us digest food, and which may also help to strengthen our immune systems and possibly even regulate our moods. Probiotic fermented foods add to and strengthen our gut microbiome, which could result in a healthy gut and in some cases, improved digestion.
Tip #: Introduce Probiotics Into Your Daily Diet
While no foods are beneficial to everyone, its a decent bet that probiotics will boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your digestive system. Whether its yogurt, miso, kefir or kombucha, these living microorganisms which many call beneficial bacteria not only improve digestive health, but can also promote heart health and even reduce depression.
The simplest way that I understand probiotics is that they are fermented cultures, says Chase, such as live yogurt or kombucha. They contain live bacteria that are great for gut health by restoring the natural balance.
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Read More Health Benefits Guides:
This article was updated on 8November 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
What Is The Skins Natural Ph Level
A healthy skin microbiome has a pH level of 5, which is slightly acidic to curb the growth of pathogens on the skin.
In case you donât remember from highschool chemistry, the term âpHâ in pH level refers to the âpotential of hydrogenâ and is measured on a scale of 0 to 14.
Levels ranging from 0 to 6 are considered acidic, levels from 8 to 14 are considered fundamental, and a pH of 7 is considered neutral.
However, it is essential to remember that the skinâs pH keeps on changing according to a personâs:
- Or when using harsh soaps and topical solutions.
Therefore, it is always recommended to use skincare products that are gentle and do not compromise the skinâs average pH level.
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Probiotics Fermented Foods And Your Gut
Fermented foods and beverages are trending. But many of their biggest fans arent aware that theyve been around for thousands of years.
Before refrigeration, people cultured dairy products and fermented meat, fruits, and vegetables to prevent spoilage. As a food ferments, naturally occurring antimicrobial compounds block the growth of organisms that can cause foodborne illness.
Fermentation can affect food flavor and texture, as well as nutrient content and digestibility, says Rachelle Mallik, RDN, a registered dietitian and owner of The Food Therapist, a virtual nutrition counseling practice specializing in reproductive health. Some fermented foods like yogurt and kefir contain live microorganisms while others, like sourdough bread, do not.
Worldwide, people use the process of fermentation, both to preserve foods and beverages, and to add unique flavors, textures, appearances, functionality, and economic value. Fermentation can also increase the nutritional content of foods and reduce some of the problem substances. For example, olives would taste inedible without fermentation that removes bitter compounds.
Fermented foods and the gut
Many cultured foods contain active bacteria and yeasts, called probiotics, which may have beneficial effects in the gastrointestinal tract.
There may be even more health benefits: Research has shown that fermented foods may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease, as well as help with weight management.
Gut Fermentation: The Key To A Healthy Microbiome
When most people hear the word fermentation in relation to the gut, they think of fermented foods. While fermented foods can be beneficial for a healthy gut, and will be covered in this blog, we are first going to discuss the natural fermentation process that happens in the gut and why its important.
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Benefits Of Fermented Foods
Fermentation occurs naturally when bacteria are given the chance to transform the carbohydrates in food into more elemental forms, such as alcohol or acid. In the case of fermented foods, the live, lactic acid-producing bacteria pre-digest the food, making the nutritional elements more readily available for the body and producing probiotics.
Probiotics have been shown to support a healthy gut microbiome, making fermented foods one of the most powerful ways to support your digestive health. And, since gut health is often tied to improving health conditions from heart disease to arthritis, consuming fermented foods regularly could be a big boost to your overall well-being.
An important distinction is that these purported health benefits are tied to naturally fermented foods, as opposed to pickling with vinegar. While both methods are ancient food preserving techniques, only fermentation with live organisms will give you the boost of probiotics you’re seeking for digestive health. You’ll always find fermented products in the refrigerated section of your market and they should have a label stating that they were fermented naturally.
Check Out Our Handy Chart For Reference:
As you can see, fermented milks, such as some yogurts and kefir, contain probiotics. Still, as we mentioned earlier, not all fermented foods contain live cultures, and even if they do contain live cultures, these cultures may not meet the definition of a probiotic. In conclusion, you should always try to be informed about the fermented foods you are consuming and work with a health care professional if you are looking to add fermented foods to your diet to treat a specific ailment.
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Why Fermented Foods Boost Gut Health + Pickle Recipe
Boost Beneficial Gut Bacteria by Making Fermenting Foods at Home for Gut Health. We included a Homemade Fermented Pickle Recipe thats beyond EASY to make!
In the summer of 1982, I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip with my Mom: a ten-day white water rafting excursion down the Colorado River. I was sixteen, experiencing the Grand Canyon up close and personal. I took home memories of lizards crawling across my stomach at night while we camped out in the open and photographs of beautiful landscapes and rapids. But, unfortunately, my mother took home something quite different: an intestinal parasite called giardia.
This intestinal parasite, along with the antibiotics used to treat it, radically disrupted the balance of good and bad microorganisms in her gut. Because of this imbalance in her microbiota, or gut bacteria, my mother experienced gastrointestinal issues for years. While some of the symptoms are still lingering to this day nearly forty years later.
Fermented Foods Change The Composition Of Your Microbiome
They looked at the diet and microbiome of over six thousand people and found that people who ate fermented plants at least once a week had different microbiome compositions compared with those who didnÃ¢t.
WhatÃ¢s more, they had more conjugated linoleic acid in their guts â this is a health-promoting molecule produced by the gut microbes that were associated with eating fermented foods.
Research has also shown that fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir can provide additional Ã¢goodÃ¢ strains of bacteria, providing your microbiome with additional diversity and giving you potential health benefits, including improved digestion, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
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