Fermented Foods : Which To Eat (And Why They Matter)

What is fermented food?

Fermented foods have been around for thousands of years. It has been a way to keep food fresh, especially before the invention of refrigeration. Fermented Foods are put through a fermentation process in which natural bacteria create lactic acid by feeding on sugar and starch. Outside of preserving the food, the process creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. They have many health benefits.

Why fermented food?

Your body needs good bacteria inside of it in order to get balanced with nature. Often times we were taught that we shouldn’t have bacteria in our bodies, that we should hand sanitize, clean everything off and completely sanitize and kill all the bacteria.  The reality is, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you eliminate all bacteria, your body is in trouble. You need it in order to symbiotically live with the environment around us. We actually need to be exposed to MORE in order to challenge the system and build it up.

What are the Benefits of Fermented Foods?

1. They are chock full of probiotics. Probiotics are your friends. The body contains more foreign bacteria than cells. Right now, you have trillions of bacteria inside of you called probiotics. You need to have good bacteria in order to keep balance with the bad bacteria that comes in.

These probiotic friends are lining your digestive system and makeup 80% of your immune system.1 If you do not have enough of them, or they get bogged down from antibiotics, caffeine, sugar, or poor diet, you suppress and kill the probiotics. Once your good bacteria is gone, your body can’t fight in order to build health. Your immune system becomes compromised and can’t fight off sickness and lastly, your food can’t be digested the way it’s supposed to.

2. Your digestive system loves them! Probiotics help break down food, and move it through the system. Once this happens, you’ll be going to the bathroom with ease. Your food will be broken down and absorbed at a much higher level.

3. Weight Loss! Many people pay attention to probiotics for this benefit. Although its typically what probiotics are marketed for, the benefits go way beyond weight loss. Probiotics decrease cravings for sugar. They help to metabolize sugars, build hormones, and help decrease inflammation levels. These all bring weight loss.

How much fermented food and probiotics?

Ideally an adult needs 20 billion CFU’s—colonies of bacteria going into our bodies daily.

How can you get more fermented food?

For a long time, I was a big supporter of people taking probiotic supplements. I still carry some of these supplements online. However, I’m a huge proponent of eating fermented food. You do not need to be buying probiotics if you eat the right high-quality foods.

What do I mean by that?

Here are some examples of what you can be eating to get the right probiotics in through fermented foods:

Sauerkraut. You might say, “Ugh, sauerkraut, what? I hated it as a kid.” But there are now many different flavors of sauerkraut.  There’s a pickled flavor that I eat. I get a high dose of fermented food with a flavor that I like. I can have it with almost any meal. A 16-ounce package of sauerkraut is equivalent to the number of probiotics in eight bottles of supplements! 2  One bag of fermented sauerkraut for $4 is equivalent to 8 bottles of probiotics that might cost upwards of $60-$70 each.

I highly encourage myself, my family, and YOU to eat this fermented food. Sauerkraut is the easy ticket, two ounces a day is all you need. We’re only talking about a spoonful or two. You’ll get super high doses—into the trillions of probiotics on a daily basis—just by getting kraut in.

Pickles are much lower in the probiotic content. Read the label, if you get the kind that is not too processed (minimum ingredients), they can be a great source of fermented food. My kids love pickles! If it gets probiotics in, I’m all for it.

Kombucha, which has really gotten popular within the last five years, is the other. This is a form of a fermented tea that is really tasty and comes in different flavors. It’s very friendly for the gut because of its probiotic content. Some people actually make their own.

You’ve got to be very careful of sugar content meaning no added unneeded sugars. Some of the most popular brands of Kombucha are adding in juice concentrates. This completely defeats the purpose, so stay away from those. Read the ingredient label.

There you have it—the kraut, pickles and kombucha, a little understanding of why you need a lot more fermented food in your diet to maximize the foods that you’ve been given. Experience real health!