Fermented foods, what are they?

Article by SoLongevity Research
Fermented foods are showing beneficial health properties. Here are a few, for every palate

What this article is about

  • Data are accumulating to support the benefits of introducing fermented foods into the diet
  • Fermented foods are part of food traditions around the world and are easy to find
  • Some examples of fermented foods

They enrich the microbiota by helping normalize gut function, improve digestion, and decreaseinflammation in the body. Fermented foods are a great resource for our well-being. From the more familiar, such as yogurt, to the more exotic, such as kimchi and natto, there really is something for every palate, so much so that incorporating them into the daily diet should be rather simple.

We offer some of them.

Yogurt

Product of the fermentation of milk by the action of lactic acid bacteria. It is a food rich in nutrients, such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Several studies have produced data linking yogurt consumption with probiotics (i.e., “good” bacteria that reach the gut alive) to lower blood pressure, body weight maintenance and fat loss, bone health, and lower incidence of type 2 diabetes. An alternative to try is Icelandic skyr , which is made from heated skim milk, then live cultures are added; finally it is strained to remove the whey. Compared to classic yogurt it has a thicker consistency, but for a portion of the same size it is also richer in nutrients.

Sauerkraut

This is one of the most popular fermented preparations in the world. It is low in calories but is rich in fiber, vitamin C and K, and antioxidants. The greatest health benefits come from preparations that have not undergone the pasteurization process (which kills the bacteria).

Kefir

It is an effervescent, sour-tasting beverage that is made from the fermentation of milk by kefir granules, which are mixtures of bacteria and yeasts that live in symbiosis. The nutritional composition of kefir, and also its organoleptic characteristics vary according to the type of milk used (more or less fat), the microbiological composition of the kefir granules and the granule-milk ratio, the time (18 to 24 hours) and temperature of fermentation (between 18 and 30°C), and the storage conditions. In contrast to yogurt and skyr, it is suitable for those withlactose intolerance, and its consumption has been associated with reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, and intestinal inflammation.

Kimchi

Vegetables, especially cabbage, which isfermented and flavored with various spices. Its introduction into diets is quite studied as it appears to bring considerable health benefits, in particular it can reduce insulin resistance (preventing diabetes) and cholesterol levels.

Kombucha

It is a fermented, effervescent tea (black or green). Although more testing is needed in humans, preliminary studies have shown that this beverage can help protect the liver from harmful chemicals, decrease blood pressure, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels.

Miso

It is a food product made by fermenting soybeans and salt. It is a kind of very flavorful paste that is used in the preparation of various oriental dishes, such as soups. It is associated with heart health benefits and decreased incidence of certain cancers.

Natto

They are fermented soy beans. Fermentation takes place by special bacteria(Bacillus subtilis), and the process gives this food a viscous texture and a strong, pungent smell and taste (the Japanese eat it along with the ever-present rice even for breakfast, but in the West not everyone might appreciate it). It is attributed with immune-stimulating properties and has a high vitamin K content, which is important for blood clotting and in calcium metabolism.

Tempeh

Food produced by fermenting soybeans with a fungus (Rhizopus),along with other bacteria and yeasts. Its texture may vary depending on production conditions, but it has nutritional properties that make it a viable and potentially beneficial alternative to meat. Its consumption is associated with lower levels of inflammation and a more diverse gut microbiota composition.

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