Fermented foods have been universally consumed worldwide for thousands of years and therefore the human digestive system has evolved in part to rely on such foods for good health. Every culture has its own variants of these foods such as fermented milk products like, kefir, cheese and yogurt, meat and seafood, kombucha, miso, vinegar, chocolate, grains for the making of bread and pasta, and vegetable based options such as sauerkraut and kimchi etc.
The human digestive system benefits greatly from fermented foods, here are just a few ways they can enhance health:
Improve Digestion: The intake of fermented foods significantly increases the microbiome of healthy bacteria in the gut. This increase also promotes higher acidity which in turn can make for a better digestive experience start to finish reducing indigestion and acid reflux and making for improved bowel movements. Additionally, conditions commonly associated with poor digestion such as Crohn’s disease, kidney problems, urinary conditions and even gluten sensitivity can be improved.
Better Absorption: With improved digestion comes increased ability to absorb nutrients. For example, if one is taking care to improve diet and health by taking a multivitamin, that multi will be that much more effective thus making fermented foods budget friendly as well. It is also important to point out that fermented foods can be as much as 100 times more effective than taking a probiotic supplement.
Diabetes: Research has suggested a connection between diabetes and a poor gut microbiome. In particular, the digestive system of diabetics is commonly thought to be ill equipped to break down complex carbohydrates. The carbohydrates of fermented foods are not only broken down by the fermenting process, but the fermented food comes with a ready supply of enzymes and healthy bacteria to further assist digestion.
Immune Support: An estimated 70 to 80% of the bodies immune system is in the gut and it relies largely on the balance of healthy bacteria to function properly. Fermented foods feed and nurture this balance that will help protect against simple invaders such as cold and flu as well as protecting against more severe conditions such as cancer.
Detoxify and Cleanse the Colon: Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi for example not only help to dislodge toxic waist in the colon they also provide the fiber necessary to help carry them out of the body.
Neutralize Anti-nutrients: Many foods such as wheat contain anti-nutrients such as gluten and phytic acid that can be problematic for the digestive system. The intake of fermented foods can help to break down these anti-nutrients and minimize sensitivities.
Balance pH: Ideally we are at our best when the digestive system consists of a high acid pH and the body is alkaline and fermented foods are ideal for establishing both.
We’ve all heard it said, “you are what you eat” or maybe the saying “Let food by thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food”. The point here is so much of how we feel has to do with the foods we put in our body. Try an experiment, ad fermented foods to your diet. This doesn’t need to be radical change just a little here and a little there. And then monitor yourself as you go along and you may just find that you are noticing some very real and exciting changes for the better.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains.