What do yogurt, sour pickles and kimchi have in common? You guessed it, they’re fermented foods! Packed with antioxidants and probiotics, fermented foods can do wonders for your digestive and immune systems. And with flu season on the way, our bodies may need a boost.
WHAT ARE FERMENTED FOODS?
Hey, remember that time a guy turned water into wine? Ancient articles tell us that fermentation has existed for thousands of years. Before refrigerators and Tupperware, the process of fermenting was necessary to preserve food through seasons when fresh vegetables, fruit and milk were scarce. Today, we use fermentation as a simple, tasty method to preserve food and its nutrients.
Ever heard of tempeh, sauerkraut or miso? They are vegetables and soybeans that have been prepared, sealed and left to ferment. Over time, good bacteria convert carbohydrates into acid and/or alcohol. This produces essential catalysts, vitamins, and probiotic strains that help balance the natural flora in our bodies. But before pouring yourself a GENEROUS glass of red, remember that the benefits of fermentation do not outweigh the negatives of consuming excess alcohol.
WHAT’S THE HYPE ABOUT?
If you jumped on the sourdough bandwagon during the lockdown, you’re probably familiar with the key benefits of preserved food/drink. Studies have confirmed that cultured and fermented foods are loaded with good microbes—BILLIONS of them—that help the flora flourish inside our digestive system. Yakult! Remember drinking those as a kid? Those small bottles of fermented milk are densely rich with nutritional probiotics. Now, we have access to a HUGE variety of fermented wonder-food in grocery stores and e-markets. Kefir, chocolate, and pickles. Feeling hungry yet? Here are some examples to include in your diet:
- Yogurt – You’ve heard of this stuff. Yogurt is cultured dairy that contains living probiotics. And if lactose doesn’t work for you, you can try out non-dairy options like almond or coconut milk yogurt.
- PL&V cashew cheese – Peace, Love & Vegetables is a Byron Bay-based organic food producer bringing you organic, fermented foods like cashew cheese. Yum! Choose from Dill, Mediterranean, French Onion, Medicine Mushroom or Chipotle flavoured cashew cheese, packed with probiotics.
- Kombucha – Made from sweetened tea and symbiotic culture, this fermented wonder-drink is now homebrewed globally. Ever heard of a SCOBY? It’s that pikelet-looking growth agent, a blob of bacteria and yeast that converts sugar into ethanol and acetic acid. After a week, a scoby can transform tea into sweet bubbly kombucha. Filled with gut-nourishing antioxidants and said probiotic functions, kombucha drinks come in SO many flavours! Mango, ginger, blueberry—discover your favourite at one of our WholeLife stores. A Kombucha also goes perfectly with our Healthy Pulled BBQ Jackfruit Nachos with Oven Baked Tortilla Chips! Click for the recipe here.
- Kimchi – Brined (salted and drained) vegetables, such as radishes and cabbage, are seasoned and sealed air-tight in jars to ferment for 24 to 48 hours. This stuff is a staple in Korean cuisine. So go ahead, spice up that fried rice with some Kimchi goodness!
- Fermented food/drinks contain antioxidants and good bacteria (probiotics)
- Probiotics help balance the natural flora in our bodies
- Healthy flora boosts our immune system, which reduces the risk of common infections (e.g. cold virus)
- Fermentation breaks down food, making it easier for us to digest and absorb nutrients
- You can upgrade any meal with tasty fermented food/drinks