Functional Fermented Foods by Elise Ryan
Our lovely Naturopath Elise Ryan from Flannerys Paradise Point discusses fermented foods and the roles they play within our bodies…
Don’t all foods serve a purpose?
To refuel our bodies and provide essential macro and micro nutrients!
Well, not all foods are “made” equal, hot dog anyone!
Fermented foods provide our bodies with nourishing nutrients, 100’s of beneficial probiotic bacteria to support digestive functions, bowel movements and immune health just to state a few.
The most common and readily available fermented foods include; kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh and yoghurt.
What is fermentation?
It is the transformative action of micro-organisms in relation to food.
Foods exposed to air will generally grow mould unless you’re a hot dog!
The process of fermentation deprives the food (generally vegetables) of oxygen by having them submerged into a liquid. This alters the environment, which allows for beneficial bacteria to grow and proliferate, while inhibiting bad bacteria from breeding.
Roles fermented foods play within our body
While fermented foods improve our overall wellness they also play more specific roles within the complex ecosystem that is our body.
Fermentation allows foods to become more nutritionally dense and easier to digest.
The fermentation process breaks down the foods so it is somewhat already pre-digested.
Fermentation breaks down proteins into amino acids allowing them to be more readily available for the digestive tract to absorb.
Through taking the burden off the digestive tract it allows for a larger amount of nutrients and minerals to be absorbed and utilised. Fermenting increases enzymes as no heat is required for the process, heat causes vitamins and minerals to diminish.
It has been clearly discovered that the majority of our immune system (80% approximately) is within our gut, this is why gut health is so vital to our overall wellness.
The gut is home to an estimated 100 trillion beneficial microbes! A probiotic health supplement will generally have approximately 8-12 different strains of beneficial bacteria; don’t get me wrong they are therapeutically important however, on a daily basis they become expensive and hard to maintain.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut contain a more diverse range of beneficial strains, approximately 100 different types all living in an optimal environment breeding into the billions.
Sauerkraut contains a large amount of B vitamins, glutathione a potent intra-cellular antioxidant, is a sulphur based compound that supports liver and kidney functioning and detoxification and helps draw out a wide range of heavy metals.
The beneficial bacteria assist to isolate mercury, lead, aluminium and arsenate and bind to them until they are excreted – down the toilet!
Fermented foods have a therapeutically beneficial influence after the treatment of antibiotic therapy through replacing and restoring equilibrium to the gut flora.
Also great for treating yeast infections, supports regulation of gut motility helping relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and reducing bloating and gas.
Fermented foods can assist the maintenance of mucosal integrity through regulating the inflammatory cascade & may help to reduce any food intolerances that you may be suffering from through supporting gut and immune health.
They have anti-allergic activity, which can help with inflammatory conditions like Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis and supports immune integrity function through providing an antagonistic environment for invading pathogens.
Fermented foods work to keep our digestive system in optimal health and our immune system in prime condition. They not only provide a tasty flavoursome treat they provide exceptional nutritional health benefits. Feel the improvements once fermented foods have been introduced into your daily diet.
Please check if you are buying a store bought fermented food that it hasn’t been pasteurised as this kills a large majority beneficial probiotics and you want all of those little micro-organisms to do their job!
Peace Love and Vegetables have a wonderful range of fermented foods that are available at selected Flannerys stores.
Research has demonstrated that the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria within our digestive tract is the foundation of our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
Just another reason to add fermented foods into your daily diet!
Yours in good health,
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