It’s the newest It food, but for over 10,000 years, humans have been using the fermentation process to make food for themselves. Producing beverages like beer and wine to more substantial and nutritious foodstuffs like bread, cheese and yogurt, fermentation is a chemical process by which microorganisms (in the absence of oxygen) break down nutrients into alcohol and acids. Converting these nutrients — often carbohydrates — into simpler substances allows the body to absorb and use them more easily.
The benefits of fermentation are many, from aiding digestion and increasing nutrient bioavailability to preserving food for longer storage. (And you just thought that beer was good for upping your comedic value!) Indeed, fermented food products can bestow a bevy of health advantages, but that doesn’t mean they all are created equally. Take a look at a few important facts about fermentation if you want the best health results in 2019:
Pick Products that Contain “Live Cultures”
Typically, fermented products from a supermarket are processed at a high level of heat, killing the beneficial bacteria their fermented processing promises. And even if they haven’t been, they often contain excessive amounts of sugar and sodium, negating their nutritional value. Read labels carefully and purchase only those products that contain “live cultures” with limited salt and sugars. Usually these products are stored in the refrigerated section along the periphery of your local grocery store and not in jars and cans on interior store shelves.
Better Yet, Make Your Own
Fermenting your own vegetables or making your own yogurt or brewing your own beer isn’t that hard and provides a significant nutritional advantage over buying items that have been produced for the masses using artificial preservatives and added ingredients for flavor. Check out this site for direction on where and how to start fermenting your own food.
Listen to Your Body
We turn to experts everyday to find the best information on all number of topics — a business immigration lawyer when we want to work abroad; a licensed contractor when we want to build a house; a PR professional when we want to spin a possible issue. Likewise, when beginning a fermented diet, it’s important that we listen to the best resource available. Our own bodies are the best authorities on what works and doesn’t work for us. Because the research is so new, there is no magic amount of fermented foods to eat each day to guarantee healthy results. Instead, follow your body’s lead. Fermented food products can cause gas and bloating, but even just one serving a day of fermented food can improve gut health. Thus, start small, see how your body reacts and adjust your consumption accordingly!