Eat well. Live well.

Fermented foods – introducing your (billions of) new friends

Posted on 30 November 2021

I have some new fermenting friends at Jones Trust Your Gut. Their wide variety of handmade fermented foods are delicious. They’re busy educating people about the importance of gut health while also eating tasty, beneficial foods.  They’re authentic too. Definitely my kind of people!

With that in mind, here’s why adding fermented foods to your diet will contribute to a heathy gut. They are no longer the flabby dull foods remembered from childhood. Oh no! Think crunchy, zingy, full of flavour – and also wonderfully good for you.

What are fermented foods?

Fermenting has been used to preserve food for over 8,000 years. Foods are cultured with either yeast or bacteria which feed off the sugars naturally present in a starting medium. The bacteria or yeast in the culture create lactic acid, which keeps the food for longer, and also alters the characteristics of the food. 

Before the invention of the fridge, people ate fermented foods daily. They thought they were just preserving and storing food. We know now it helped to keep maintain their gut and overall health without them even realising. 

Why are fermented foods good for your gut?

Fermented or ‘probiotic’ foods are: Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host.

Your intestines are filled with trillions of bacteria, mostly beneficial, some potentially harmful. The greater variety and abundance of beneficial bacteria will help with both gastrointestinal issues and skin, immunity and mood issues.

Fermented foods are also readily digested and absorbed. The acids produced in the the process breaks down the structure of the foods, facilitating digestion.

So… being rich in beneficial bacteria and eating to obtain nutrients from, eating fermented foods every day will contribute to a healthy, balanced microbiome.

How often should I eat fermented foods?

EVERY DAY!

Yep, I jest ye not… Incorporating fermented foods into your daily diet will make a positive change in your microbiome. Just one thing to remember when you’re introducing these foods, please start s l o w l y… You’re introducing millions of bacteria with every mouthful and your gut won’t be used to it. So, to avoid any side effects like bloating (gas produced by the bacteria in your gut) start with a teaspoon of kimchi or sauerkraut and gradually increasing to a generous dollop. With kefir, begin with a tablespoon, and work your way up to a full glass (great liquid for smoothies, including kids).

These sound amazing! What can I eat?

Sauerkraut

Napa cabbage is fermented by the lactic acid bacteria that it naturally produces when shredded. Lactobacillus bacteria are in plentiful supply here, and are a species which normally inhabit a healthy gut, and key when getting rid of candida infection. It also contains plenty of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants.

Raw sauerkraut is unpasteurised and maintains the beneficial bacteria. Add a spoonful to any meal – salad, soup or stew to add a breadth of flavour.

Kimchi

The popular Korean version of sauerkraut, kimchi can be quite fiery with added chilli, plus garlic, ginger and / or radish depending on the recipe.

Kombucha

Kombucha is a sparkling drink fermented from green or black tea. Flavours are often added to improve its distinctive sour taste. Make sure you choose natural flavours, not ‘flavourings’, one that has been brewed for at least 14 days and without extra added sugar.

Green tea contains many beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and immune-supporting compounds. Add in the billions of beneficial probiotic bacteria and you have a tasty, interesting alternative to alcohol.

Tempeh

I only recommend fermented soy to clients as the phytic acid is released during fermentation. Phytic acid interferes with magnesium and calcium absorption. Plus, fermented soy beans are easier to breakdown and digest. They are also rich in vitamin K2, which is crucial for bone, muscle and artery health as it helps with vitamin D absorption.

Fermented soya beans are protein-rich and nutty in flavour.  It has a firm texture so is ideal in stir-fries.

Miso

Miso is also made from soya beans, but can be made from brown rice for those avoiding soy. It has a strong umami flavour and is a thick salty paste often used to make soup or as a savoury flavouring in marinades and dips.

The darker the colour, the richer the flavour as it been fermented for longer.

Jones – Trust Your Gut

Did I mention that I have joined Jones Trust Your Gut? Do please have a look at their website and buy a variety of jars and bottles for you and a loved one. They are a wonderful small, young business making delicious ferments, apple cider vinegars and more. Your taste buds, tummy and brain will thank you.

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