Do you like the taste of fermented foods? If so, you’re not alone. Fermented foods and drinks are becoming more popular every day, as people discover the health benefits they offer.
Shelf space for fermented products is growing rapidly, with items such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and tempeh joining old favorites such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and beer. Scientists have discovered that fermented foods contain live microorganisms called probiotics, which help to bolster a healthier mix of bacteria in our gut.
So does this mean you should load up your shopping cart with fermented foods? Harvard experts say only if you’re realistic about what you’re buying. Nancy Oliveira, a registered dietitian and manager of the Nutrition and Wellness Service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says that the label does not tell us how many probiotics or microbes are in the food. This means that there might not be as many as we think. We buy these foods believing that they are healthy for us, but they might not be able to provide all of the intended health benefits.
The Many Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
You may have heard of fermented foods before, but you may not be entirely sure what they are or why you should eat them. Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of fermentation, which is the breakdown of carbohydrates by bacteria and yeasts. This process results in the production of lactic acid, which acts as a preservative. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which are live microorganisms that offer a host of health benefits. Some of the most common fermented foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of fermented foods.
- Smooth digestion: Fermented foods can be easier to digest than non-fermented foods because the fermentation process breaks down some of the carbohydrates into simpler molecules. This can be helpful for people who have trouble digesting lactose or gluten.
- Lessen inflammation: The probiotics in fermented foods can help to lessen inflammation throughout the body. This can be helpful for people who suffer from conditions like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.
- Boost nutrient absorption: When you eat fermented foods, you’re not only getting the nutrients from the food itself but also from the probiotics that are present. Probiotics can help your body to absorb more nutrients from the food you’re eating.
- Battle bad bacteria: The probiotics in fermented foods can help to fight off bad bacteria and keep your gut healthy. This is especially important after taking a course of antibiotics, which can kill both good and bad bacteria in your gut.
There are many reasons to incorporate fermented foods into your diet! Not only do they have a range of health benefits, but they also provide beneficial probiotics that can improve gut health. So go ahead and add some yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha to your next meal! Your gut (and taste buds) will thank you for it!
Top Tips for Buying Fermented Foods
If you’re looking to add some fermented foods into your diet, you’ve come to the right place. Fermented foods are not only delicious, but they are also packed with probiotics that can help improve your gut health. Here are our top tips for buying fermented foods.
- Look for live cultures: The first thing you want to do when buying fermented foods is to make sure that they contain live cultures. Live cultures are important because they are what give these foods their probiotic benefits. Without live cultures, fermented foods are just regular old food.
- Make sure they’re refrigerated: Another important tip is to make sure that the fermented foods you’re buying are refrigerated. This is because fermentation is a bacterial process, and bacteria thrive in warm environments. By keeping your fermented foods refrigerated, you can be sure that they will be of the highest quality and will still have all of their probiotic benefits.
We hope these tips were helpful in guiding your next purchase of fermented foods! Remember, look for products with live cultures and make sure they’re refrigerated to get the most out of your purchase.
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