5 Reasons To Add Fermented Food To Your Family Meals
Wondering what on earth fermented foods are all about and why health nuts swear by them?
With the knowledge of the endless benefits of fermented foods, I’ve been eating and adding them to our family meals since the kids were bubbas.
What is fermentation?
Before fridges existed, fermentation was used to preserve food and drinks from the time of harvest into the Winter but proved also to boost nutritional value and probiotics and have huge health benefits.
Below I share my top 5 reasons for adding them to your family meals.
Currently loving fennel and garlic red cabbage sauerkraut which is the red stuff on top of my salad in the photo above of my Garlic Prawns and Coconut Rice
5 Reasons To Add more Fermented Food To Your Family Meals
- Fermentation breaks down food components like sugar making it easier for our bodies to digest and absorb those all important nutrients.
- Fermentation can boost the nutritional value of certain foods. In some cases, it can produce a variety of B vitamins in foods that did not contain them before they were fermented. Or increase the Vitamin C content.
- Fermented foods are literally crawling with probiotics so they are the best way to boost gut health. If we don’t have enough probiotic bacteria in our digestive system, we can’t absorb nutrition properly, or eliminate toxins which means we become more susceptible to illness and disease – like compromised immune system, food allergies, malnutrition, digestive disorders, Candida overgrowth.
NB: If a bout of antibiotics is unavoidable I will always use implement an action plan to recolonise the gut with good bacteria.
- Probiotic bacteria make up 80% of our immune systems which means fermented foods are INSANE for our immune systems! So buh-bye common colds and if you do get sick, you’ll heal quicker. Because fermented foods are rich in Vitamin C, iron and zinc, your immune system is going be stronger.
- Vitamin K can’t be stored in the body so it’s important to eat enough daily to get our daily dose. Vitamin K is important because it helps to ward off cancer, and benefits our heart, skin, bones, brain, growth and development.
That dollop of sour cream in my Tex-Mex Burrito bowl is a fermented food which helps with digestion, especially helpful because beans can be difficult to digest.
When you start to try fermented foods, start small and slow and see how your gut reacts. Look out for symptoms such as gas and bloating as your gut adjusts to the fermented foods. If these symptoms persist beyond a few weeks, back off, take a break, and start slower and smaller next time. If everything is going fine, work your way up to 2-3 small, servings a day. Remember variety is key, you don’t want to just stick to the same ferments each day, rather go for a wide variety to ensure you are getting different strains of bacteria.
Our Family Favourite Fermented Foods on High Rotation
- Yogurt (natural)
- Sourdough bread
- Soy sauce
- Chocolate (yes you read right!)
- Sour cream
Mmmm, delicious yoghurt parfait with crunchy seed granola on top (recipe from my Easy Wholefood Lunchboxes recipe ebook)
Other Fermented Food That is Great for You but which We Eat Less Commonly
- Milk kefir
- Water kefir
If you’re buying your ferments, always go to the refrigerated section and choose the brands which contain live organisms and check for and avoid high levels of sugar, salt and fat. Things like jarred and canned sauerkrauts sitting on the shelves (instead of fridge) undergo heat processing (pastuerisation), which kills most if not all of the beneficial bacteria.
You might also be interested to read Gut Health and Our Children