Fermented foods and your health

 
(image from www.drchrischatzoglou.com)
 
 
Fermented foods and your health
 
Many of you have heard the saying, ”you are what you eat”.  As true as this statement is, I would like to go a bit further to state, not only are you “what" you eat but you are what you absorb, or what you digest.
 
Many of us who follow the path of healthy eating, taking in healthy fats, proteins and antioxidant containing fruits and vegetables yet end up feeling puzzled when falling short with digestive issues, immune system shortfalls and food sensitivities to name a few.  “I am eating a healthy diet, isn't that enough?"
 
I want to encourage you to also pay close attention to the terrain of your digestive tract.  And one way to improve healthy bacteria and enhance the digestibility of foods is with the consumption of fermented foods. Fermented foods are “live” probiotic-rich foods teaming with health benefits.  The fermentation process breaks down nutrients into a more easily digestible form, supplies your digestive tract with living organisms, and preserves nutrients.  In addition, ferments have been shown to function like antioxidants, scavenging “free radicals” from the cells of the body. Once you make it a habit consuming these types of foods can become part of your routine and you will wonder how you ever did without them. 
 
How can you add fermented foods into your diet and is it safe?
 
Many alternative grocery stores now stock fermented vegetables in the “raw foods” refrigerated sections in the form of sauerkraut or kimchi.  Other popular fermented beverages include beet kvass, kombucha, water or coconut kefir.  Adding healthy micro-organisms to the terrain of the gut in the form of fermented foods is a healthy and safe alternative for many.  So next time you are shopping at your local health foods store pick up some and try it!  When introducing any new food into the diet, start slowly with one to two tablespoons so as to not cause digestive distress. Next post we will discuss recipes for creating fermented foods at home.
 
(if you have a compromising health condition or disease or are under current treatment for one consult with your physician before altering your diet)