Fermented Foods 101

Did you notice that there was a BIG piece missing in last week's "How to Fill Your Plate" equation?

It's a part of basically EVERY one of my meals.

A food that boosts your digestion and your immunity, helps banish sugar cravings AND {most importantly} adds AWESOME flavor.

Do you know what this mystery, miracle food is yet???

FERMENTED FOODS!!

Likely you've seen me share about kombucha, sauerkraut, and tempeh but today I am going to explain WHY I consider these foods "superfoods" and what benefits you can expect to see from incorporating them into your diet.

Alright, so what exactly are fermented foods?

They are foods that have been through a process of fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Ooooh yeah probiotics, I've heard of those guys! But wait, tell me what they are again?

They are the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system. This “good” bacteria helps your body absorb nutrients and minerals from from food.

Side note: The word "probiotic" is a compound of two Greek words: "pro," meaning promotion of and "biotic," which means life. So probiotics literally promote life. And “anti-biotics” means anti-life...

You can totally take a probiotic supplement but you’ll get more, diverse strands of bacteria (which is what you want!) by eating a variety of fermented food. Which brings me to my next point...


Why should I eat fermented foods?

  1. Fermentation jumpstarts the digestion process. Fermented foods are already partially broken down which makes them easier to digest than their non-fermented counterparts. PLUS they've got those good-for-your gut probiotics which further boost your digestive health.
  2. Fermented foods boost your immune system! It's estimated that 70-80% of your immune system is located in your GUT so keeping your digestive tract healthy is key to keeping YOU health.
  3. For FLAVOR, my friends! Above all, I am a foodie and fermented foods are my favorite way to add killer FLAVOR to any dish.

Ready to try 'em? Here are just a few of my favorite ferments:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha tea
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Kefir (fermented dairy drink)
  • Pickles (the kind in the refrigerator section)
  • Kimchi

Check out this post for some ideas on how to incorporate these foods into your daily diet: 10 ways to eat fermented foods.


Now, here's your homework assignment for this week: try ONE fermented food! You may already have one of these nutritional powerhouses in your diet, and if that's the case, I encourage you to try something new. Avid kombucha drinker? Try another fermented beverage like kefir or beet kvass. Sauerkraut totally your thing? Try a different brand or flavor variation!

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