What is Fermentation?
Fermentation (also known as zymology or zymurgy) in food processing is the conversion of carbs to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts and/or bacteria under anaerobic conditions. Basically the natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch which creates lactic acid. This process preserves the food naturally, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and many different strains of probiotics.
Where does it come from?
Fermented foods have been eaten for ages by many cultures around the world so why are they just now becoming “hip” in the United States? Fermentation takes time and with the advancing technology in food preserving and preparation many old traditions like fermentation were lost. Thankfully with the many studies that show that probiotic rich foods are linked to overall good health, many of the traditional foods are coming back.
Why Eat Fermented Foods?
-Fermented foods have probiotics. Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria to your digestive system. This helps with digestion, can slow or reverse diseases and build your immune system. You will also absorb your food better and get more vitamins and minerals out of the good food you eat.
-It preserves food naturally without preservatives!
-Buying kefir and kombucha can be really expensive but it is super cheap to make it yourself at home.
Fermented foods you should try adding to your diet
Tempeh – Made from fermented soybeans, a great meat or tofu alternative
Miso – Miso is a fermented paste made from soy, rice or barley. It is a perfect to add to dishes or soups for flavoring.
Sauerkraut and Kimchi- Fermented cabbage. Sauerkraut is just cabbage and salt and kimchi, usually spicier. They are a great source of fiber along with the probiotics.
Kefir – Kefir is a fermented milk drink, like drinkable yogurt. A great breakfast choice.
Kombucha – Kombucha is a fermented tea. A great energizing pick me up any time of day.
Now, because of their amazing health benefits, fermented foods have become so popular that you can find them in any grocery store and even bars! Popular bars have started incorporating komucha cocktails into their menus. Kimchi is super popular in restaurants or you can buy a jar and add it to your dishes at home. You will be amazed at how amazing fermented foods can taste. There is so much out there in the fermented food world beyond alcohol and pickles. Try adding something fermented to each meal for a week and see how amazing you feel!