Benefits of Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are one of biggest food trends of last year, and it still continues. Fermented products are everywhere: in the yoghurt section, in the drinks isle, in cafes and hidden in the tinned vegetable sections of small artisan stores. What is this trend? What does “fermented” mean and why are these foods deemed to be good for us? This blog article will answer all your questions, and explain why we need fermented foods in our diets.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. Fermentation is a process by which foods are broken into simpler molecules from more complex structures. This process commonly involves bacterial microorganisms, which aid the fermentation process.
It is required that the substance undergoing this process has simple carbohydrates in it (these normally come from the product being fermented, i.e. the fruit or vegetables) to allow bacteria to feed on it and keep growing and doing their job of fermenting.
The most common items sold in their fermented state are:
- kombucha, a fermented tea drink
- fermented vegetables, kimchi
- fermented fruit and jams
- kerned dairy products, kefir
The beneficial aspect for health in fermented products hides in the bacterial cultures that are used to ferment them. The longer the product is under fermentation, the larger the bacterial colony will become, and the more beneficial the food will be for our health. Bacteria is most important for our gut. The cultures we consume act as pro- and pre-biotics and help sustain the good bacteria inside our digestive tract.
Our gut is the key element to our body’s health and wellbeing. When our gut is happy, we are happy: our mood is better, our immune system is stronger, our energy levels improve. The highest number of bacteria lives in the colon, and that is where all the magic action of fermented foods takes place. The research in on why fermented foods are so beneficial to us is still unclear, but is very promising.
Another large benefit of fermented vegetables is that they are easy to make at home, but they do take a lot of time and patience for the bacteria to grow. Often foods that you find in stores contain extra added sugar or preservatives, but there is no need for that.
We wanted to share a simple savoury recipe of how to ferment vegetables at home with you. The choice vegetables that you can ferment is almost limitless, you can ferment almost any one of them: cucumbers, zucchini, aubergines, tomatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, peppers and so many more. The process and ingredients required could not be simpler:
- A large jar with a tight lid
- The desired vegetable or mix of such
Mix these ingredients in the jar. The amount of salt you add will depend on your taste, and the degree of fermentation you want to achieve. Leave the jar, tightly sealed for a week or two. It is a good idea to open the jar every few days to let the CO2 out. That’s it! Your probiotic powerhouse is ready to be consumed!
If you don’t have the time to make fruit and vegetables at home, you can get them from our Online Store, with your next vegetable box delivery or just on their own! We offer a variety of kraut and kimchi, prepared by our gorgeous partner Love Fermented through GIGI’s Organic Online Store! Go have a shop around and feed your gut with some good bacteria!