Why Eat Fermented Foods?

Pickled cucumberThe health benefits of eating fermented foods are numerous, and fermenting your own foods can be a great way to improve your overall health. The main health benefits of eating ferments include improved gut health, a stronger immune system, and better digestion.

The balance of good and bad bacteria within your intestines is an essential step in maintaining good health. However, the problem lies in the fact that many of our modern foods cause digestive problems, which in turn can lead to poor health.

If you are experiencing health problems, it can be beneficial to include fermented foods, also known as ‘ferments’, in your diet because they will provide your body with probiotics – nutrients which aid digestion. Getting probiotics is essential, because these are the “good” bacteria that keep the bad bacteria levels under control.

By consuming ferments rich in probiotics, you will be promoting gut health in several ways. As mentioned, probiotics help keep a balance of bacteria in the gut. An overgrowth of bad bacteria can cause problems such as chronic diarrhea or constipation.

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A second benefit is the numerous enzymes and beneficial organisms produced during the fermentation process. They have antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic  properties. In other words, the nutritional value of the food is enhanced.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the bacteria that cause food poisoning cannot live in the acidic environment of fermented foods. Organisms like those that curdle milk grow spontaneously and convert the natural sugars of the vegetable into lactic acid. As the environment acidifies, it becomes impossible for the food to spoil. There is no need to worry about botulism.

When you maintain gut health by eating fermented foods, you’re also strengthening your immune system. Much of your immune system is in the gut so maintaining the healthy balance of ‘good’ bacteria will help your body to fight off sickness. The flora in ferments actually protects the lining of the intestines and prevents harmful organisms from inhabiting the area.

Some foods create antioxidants during the fermentation process. Antioxidants fight harmful free radicals – the byproduct of metabolism. Reducing the amount of free radicals will in turn reduce the risk of certain health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Overall, there are many health benefits that can be gained by eating fermented foods on a regular basis. They’re easy enough to make at home and inexpensive. If you aren’t already including ferments in your meals, you’re missing out on a tasty way to improve your health.

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