Gut Health. If you're wondering what the whole deal is on fermented foods, check this post out. Holistic Healthy Coach Lise Blinn gives us the scoop on the foods that pack a probiotic punch!
And over to Lise:
Fermentation has recently gained mainstream popularity here in the western world; however, the pratice is anything but modern. In fact, it has been a popular way of preserving perishable foods for thousands of years. Sauerkraut is believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago in China during the season in which cabbage didn't grow. Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets for approximately 2,500 years. Kimchi has been a Korean delicacy since the seventh century. Kefir, which originated in Russia, has been consumed for over 3,000 years.
So what exactly is fermentation? And why is it a practice that continues to be used throughout the centuries?
The process of fermentation usually involves soaking vegetables in their own juices or salt water which then results in the growth of gut-friendly bacteria. These gut friendly bacteria then feed off the naturally occurring sugar in the vegetables and produce a substance called lactic acid. This is what gives fermented foods their tart taste. How does it preserve the food? Well as the levels of lactic acid increase, the harmful bacteria find it difficult to survive and so the food tends to last longer.
"The most popular and accessible fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and even apple cider vinegar!"
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fermented foods are added to the diet to help prevent deficiencies, support the gut and vital organs, and improve detoxification. However, these days, you can buy fermented foods and beverages at just about any supermarket or local farmers market. The most popular and accessible fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and even apple cider vinegar!
As mentioned earlier, fermented foods have a rather... unique taste. Not everyone is fond of sipping on kombucha or adding a side of kimchi to their meal. However, the benefits are definitely something to consider and can make the sometimes unpleasant taste worth every bite. Some of these benefits include:
I want to spend a little time here focusing on the last point and the gut-skin connection. You may not know it, but your gut and your skin are intricately linked to one another. If something is up with your gut, you skin will inevitably show it. There are a few reasons for this relationship:
1) The majority of your immune cells (about 70%) live in your gut. This means that if something goes wrong in that part of the body, your immune system will also suffer. A low immune system can be disastrous for your skin.
2) Your gut contains trillions of bacteria. Don't worry, it's not as scary as it sounds. Ideally, there should be a healthy balance of friendly and unfriendly bacteria. Your friendly bacteria helps support your digestive system, which is responsible for ensuring the absorption of healthy vitamins, minerals and skin-boosting nutrients.
3) Your gut is responsible for getting rid of waste and toxins from your body. If these toxins linger, your liver could become fatigued and, when that happens, your skin (along with other elimination organs) will have to compensate. This means that toxins will be excreted through the skin... hello breakouts!
So if you haven't jumped on the fermented foods train yet, what are you waiting for? There is such a wide variety of options that you should be able to find something you enjoy and can add to your diet on a daily basis to reap the benefits!