Do Your Favorite Foods Promote Gut Health?
If you’re internet savvy, you’ve likely come across articles on fermented foods. However, while they may be trending on The Huffington Post, these nutrient-potent foods have been around for thousands of years. Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and German cultures all contain fermented foods for health. For people living without both modern medicine and refrigeration, fermentation was a simple means of food preservation.
Fermenting foods is also a way to imbue foods with health-enhancing properties of live bacteria. The gut relies on this bacteria to stay in balance. These foods are also a potent source of probiotics. Probiotics are essential to powering up the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract and also producing antibodies to pathogens. Both are key to helping you maintain vibrant health.
Common Fermented Foods
You may not even realize just how many fermented foods you already enjoy in your diet (see list). Incorporate more of these probiotic powerhouses into meals, and you’ll also put those good-for-you organisms back into action in your gut.
Fermented Foods Short List
• Cultured Dairy: Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream, some cheeses
• Veggies: Beets, radishes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, kimchi, green beans, sauerkraut
• Condiments fermented at home or commercially: ketchup, relish, salsa, chutney
• Other: Miso, tempeh, tofu, soy sauce
Fermented Food Facts & Tips
• All fermented foods must be kept cool to maintain the live cultures.
• Food labels must be marked “fermented.”
• Fermented and “pasteurized” do not go together. Pasteurization also kills live cultures.
• Pickled is not the same as fermented (unless indicated on the label). Pickled foods are soaked in vinegar or brine.
• Choose both organic, non-GMO items or locally farmed products.
• Start with small servings of fermented foods, one to two times a day.
• Toss fermented veggies into salads; you can also enjoy as a snack or as a side dish.
• Add a spoonful or two to your morning smoothie (e.g., beets, kefir).
To learn more about your gut, contact me today!
Chilton, S., J. Burton, and G. Reid. “Inclusion of Fermented Foods in Food Guides Around the World.” Abstract. Nutrients 7, no. 1 (January 2015): 390-404. http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/7/1/390
The Huffington Post. Headlines on fermented food trend. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/fermented-foods/
Mercola, J. “Fermented Foods: How to ‘Culture’ Your Way to Good Health.” Accessed February 2015.
Rawlings, D. Fermented Foods for Health: Use the Power of Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Digestion, Strengthen Your Immunity, and Prevent Illness. Fair Winds Press: 2013.
Schwenk, D. Cultured Food for Life: How to Make and Serve Delicious Probiotic Foods for Better Health and Wellness. Hay House, Inc.: 2013.
Williams, D. “Fermented Foods that Boost Digestive Health.” Reviewed February 6, 2014.
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.