Although it may seem something new, fermented foods have existed for more than 7,000 years, at which time the fermentation process was used to make food more durable, nutritious and safe. In some religions they are considered sacred, in some societies they were part of Ayurvedic medicine and depending on the culture of each territory, each had its own fermentation methods.
What is evident is that today we understand the importance for our bacterial ecosystem to include fermented foods in our diet, in order to have “good bacteria” in our body and enjoy good health. But what is fermentation? It is the process that a food goes through in which it transforms and changes its properties due to the action of microorganisms.
This process happens when the bacteria are in a conducive environment and begin to proliferate naturally, or are added. They do it thanks to the sugars in the food itself, such as yogurt, beer, bread, etc. These foods, subjected to fermentation, develop healthy microorganisms for the human body and, once we eat them, they can remain active in our intestines, causing multiple benefits that we will learn about below.
BENEFITS OF FERMENTED FOODS:
They improves digestion and assimilation of food
Fermented foods are highly recommended when a person is going through a process of recovery or improvement of health, in which it is advisable to change the condition of the digestive system. The fermented ones are the perfect ally in these cases when the intestine and intestinal flora must be treated for good digestive health.
The reason is that they provide enzymes and vitamins that facilitate the assimilation of food and help to start digesting them. Those foods that have been subjected to lactic fermentation, help in the process of digestion of the other foods that are digested together with the fermented ones. In addition, they nourish all those intestinal bacteria that are beneficial for our body, renewing the flora of the large intestine.
They produces vitamins
Fermented foods are a source of essential nutrients for the body, since fermentation favors the presence of vitamins, such as C or K2, which is difficult to find in foods that have not been fermented. It produces group B vitamins, which are involved in the metabolism of some foods.
They help to have a stable microbiota
The quality fermented and unpasteurized foods included in the diet provide different bacteria, increasing our bacterial diversity. And the more diverse the microbiota, the fewer health risks. Stress, a diet rich in processed foods and antibiotics unbalance our microflora, which is why fermented foods are so on the rise today, because with their intake we reinforce, stabilize and strengthen the health of our digestive system.
They synthesize nutrients
Fermented foods help to properly absorb minerals because they are symbiotic foods, that is, they have a probiotic and prebiotic activity that enhance the absorption action. With the intake of fermented foods, a balance of intestinal bacteria and enzymes is achieved that allows a better absorption of nutrients. Likewise, they neutralize the anti-nutrients found in many foods.
In case you didn’t know them, anti-nutrients are substances that are found in food and that when ingested interfere with the absorption of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Therefore, they can decrease the actual amount of nutrients that we absorb from food.
Fermented foods increase antibodies, helping to develop a natural immune response. When beneficial bacteria exist in a stable way in our intestines, intestinal inflammation decreases and can even be eliminated, as well as permeability. Therefore, it reduces the body’s inflammatory response and inhibits the growth of microbes that are not healthy for our body.
TYPES OF FERMENTED FOODS
There are many types of fermented products on the market. Some are well known and we did not even imagine the great power that they have for the health of our body. Others are gradually introduced into our gastronomic culture.
Here are some of the most recommended fermented probiotic foods: