Fermented foods are increasing in popularity in the health world and are claiming to be very beneficial to our health, but what are they?
Fermented foods are foods that are produced by the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria. The most common example of this is fermentation of sugar to alcohol using yeast. Fermentation has been used in most cultures for thousands of years as a way to preserve food and prevent spoilage. In addition, the process helps retain nutrients. For any of you who have tried fermented foods you will know they possess characteristically strong and pungent flavours.
Here are a few fermented foods that Millies has to offer:
- Amazake – Japanese drink made from fermented rice
- Kefir – Russian fermented milk drink made with kefir grains
- Kombucha – Chinese fermented black or green tea
- Tempeh – Indonesian fermented soy beans
- Miso – Japanese ferment soy beans
So why these are fermented foods hitting our headlines? Here are some of the benefits you will reap by adding fermented foods into your diet;
- Digestion and absorption – fermenting breaks down foods into more digestible forms allowing the body to absorb more nutrients from your food
- Immune function – Your immune system relies on your gut therefore a healthy gut = strong immune system
- Provides Lactic acid – Produced during fermentation helps healthy bacteria increase in number
- Curb sugar cravings – The bacteria in your gut feed off sugar. Fermented foods increase the presence of good gut bacteria (probiotics). More good gut bacteria makes you less likely to crave sugar.
- Rebalance body’s Ph – Sugar increases the level of acidity in your body, fermented foods can balance this back out
- Happiness booster – Most of the body’s serotonin (happiness regulator) is produced in the gut. Gut health = Good mental health
- Helps restore bacteria balance (gut flora) – Which is essential for healthy skin, bodily functions and general wellbeing
Whether you’re an avid fermented food believer already or would like to give fermented foods a whirl, we have a wide range of goodies in store! Including Kimchi, tofu, Kombucha, Tempeh and many more.
If you’re feeling adventurous this week you can create your own fermented foods at home. A great and easy one to start with is Sauerkraut; you’ll need a jar, kosher salt and a cabbage. Lactobacillus is a beneficial bacteria found on the surface of many fruit and vegetables including cabbage. Sauerkraut is made by a process called lacto-fermentation. It works because when submerged in brine (salt water) the bacteria convert natural sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid – this is a natural preservative that inhibits growth of harmful bacteria.
- Clean everything – Clean your cabbage and jar to give the good beneficial bacteria the best starting environment.
- Slice the cabbage – cut 1 cabbage into thin ribbons.
- Combine the cabbage and salt – In a mixing bowl add 2 tablespoons of salt and rub into the cabbage until the cabbage becomes watery and limp.
- Pack cabbage into the jar – put cabbage and all liquid produced into a jar.
- Weigh the cabbage down – put something heavy like a clean rock or a smaller jar on top of the cabbage to keep it compact for the liquid to rise.
- Cover the jar – cover with a cloth and secure with an elastic band which allows air to flow in and out but not dust or insects.
- Add extra liquid and push down – Over the first 24 hours if the liquid has not risen enough then dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in enough water to submerge the cabbage
- Let the fermentation happen – Ferment for 3-10 days in a cool environment, as it’s a small batch it won’t take long. Keep tasting until it tastes good to you and then put in the fridge and enjoy. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Alternatively, if fermented foods don’t float your boat you can still maintain a healthy gut flora with probiotic supplements. Come in store to talk with one of sales advisors to learn more about different strains and what will suit you best.
Keep happy and healthy!
See you next week,
Rach & Anna