The Power of Fermented Foods
The Power of Fermented Foods
For centuries people of all cultures and backgrounds have relied upon the power of fermented foods. The elements that make these food items so healthy is mystical and surprising. Here are the most popular fermented food and beverages to date:
Kimchi is literally thousands of years old and one of the world’s first “lacto-fermented” foods. This traditional Korean dish is made of cabbage and spices (sometimes radish). It is an incredible food for healing the cardiovascular, circulatory and digestive systems. Its natural antioxidants help lessen the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, thyroid conditions and diabetes. Note: Lacto-fermentation is when the starches and sugars in the vegetables are converted to lactic acid by the beneficial bacteria known as “Lactobacilli.” So the term “lacto” in lacto-fermentation actually refers to this production of lactic acid, and NOT lacto as in the lactose in milk. Kimchi has become increasingly popular in recent years.
The amazing pickle! So many of us love them and it’s great to know they are actually good for you. There are different ways to ferment them: One way is to preserve cucumbers in vinegar. Another healthier way is to soak cucumbers in a salt-water brine. This method creates a type of “probiotic” pickle, which aids in digestion and healing of the natural gut flora in your stomach. One pickle can contain up to 20% of your daily Vitamin K (a derivative of Potassium) value. Vitamin K is good for you in so many ways! If you wish to make the pickles “sweet,” be sure to incorporate healthy, organic solutions into your mix. You also want to make sure that they are cultured, unpasteurized and lacto-fermented. Pickles are one of the most common food items to ferment. It’s also easy and fun to do.
Sauerkraut is another popular favorite. It consists of fermented cabbage made with salt and herbs, which enhance the flavor and nutritional value. Sauerkraut is very high in fiber, as well as vitamins, iron, copper, calcium, and magnesium. It strengthens bones, reduces inflammation, lowers cholesterol, regulates digestion, fills the gut with beneficial probiotics, and assists circulation. It’s also dairy-free and doesn’t require a starter culture, so it can be a fairly easy food to make at home.
A popular favorite, Miso is a broth formed from fermenting soybeans, barley, or rice, and a starter culture known as “Koji.” This popular Asian dish has anti-aging properties, strengthens bones, allows healthy skin, helps lower the risk of cancer, and aids the nervous system. It is alkalizing and delicious. Most everyone loves miso soup!
Sourdough starter is a leaven for making bread, comprised of fermented wild yeasts and bacteria. Sourdough has lower sugar levels than most breads, and it helps reduce damaged starches. Because the bacteria and yeasts in sourdough pre-digest the starches, eating it supports gut health and strengthens the bacterial ecosystem, making one is less prone to infection.
Raw Cheese / Nut Cheese:
Raw goat, sheep, and A2 cow cheeses are particularly high in probiotics, healing digestive tissues and studies show it is linked to relieving depressive symptoms and lifting neurological problems. NOTE: Only raw and unpasteurized cheeses possess probiotics, so these are items not found easily in stores. (Note: A2 milk is cow’s milk that contains predominantly the A2 type of beta-casein protein rather than the more common A1 protein found in regular milk. A genetic test developed by the a2 Milk Company, determines whether a cow produces A2 or A1 type protein in its milk).
Nut cheeses can be made from a variety of nuts: almonds, cashews, macadamia, walnuts, etc. A great substitute for cheese made from animal milk, nut cheese is ideal for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Though the nutritional value isn’t quite the same as raw cheese, nuts provide high levels of protein and healthy fats. By adding probiotics and fermenting them, you get a delicious and nutritious food item for probiotic delivery to the gut (improving flora).
Of the dairy based products, yogurt is arguably the most popular and most commonly consumed. Yogurt directly impacts diet quality, metabolism, and blood pressure. Many yogurt fans have experienced a reduction in diabetes symptoms, due to its high protein levels, but make sure to get the plain yogurt. The ones with added sugar aren’t good for you. When buying, be sure to check the milk source to ensure it’s either grass-fed. Goat or sheep milk are best and Make sure it’s certified organic. You can also make your own, if you are so inclined.
Another fermented milk product, Kefir is high in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins, with a similar taste and texture to that of drinkable yogurt. This sour-flavored fluid is made from milk and kefir grains, boosting immunity, alleviating bowel-related issues, improving digestion, and building bone density. It’s even been linked to killing Candida—a yeast-like parasitic fungus. Although it’s less popular than yogurt, it is actually higher in probiotics. For vegans or those who are lactose intolerant, coconut kefir is a great dairy-free solution, which utilizes fermented juice of young coconuts. Yum!
Composed of black tea and sugar, this popular beverage originated in China approx. 2,000 years ago. Sugar can be from pure cane sugar or honey if desired. When the starting agent known as “SCOBY” (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) is added to the mix, the fermentation process begins. Once fermented, the sugary tea transforms into a carbonated, fizzy drink that is very high in enzymes, probiotics, advantageous acids, vinegar, and a small amount of alcohol. Studies show that kombucha aids in digestion, increases energy, supports immunity, assists in weight loss, and serves as a full-body detox.
The Power of Apple Cider Vinegar:
Pure Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV) is an essential liquid that nearly anyone can benefit from. It can be put into food or made into a beverage. Made from whole (organic) apples, not diluted, Apple Cider Vinegar contains something known as Malic Acid, an ingredient needed in the digestive processes, which is much gentler than Acetic Acid, found in White Distilled and Wine Vinegars. Of all the vinegars on the market, ACV is the best for you and offers countless healing abilities like almost no other food or beverage out there. In fact, the list of benefits is so long, it could be a website unto itself! Suffice it to say it’s great for everything – enhancing energy, regulating blood flow, and balancing nearly every bodily system we have.
Apple Cider Vinegar has a very high potassium content, an element so necessary for building and storing body reserves, it also helps to balance and calm the entire body down. This potassium readily associates with some of the most important elements in the body, such as calcium, sodium, iron, magnesium, chlorine, silicon. The most popular brand is Braggs, comprised of whole organic apples, not the cheap stuff made out of junky apple bi-products.
ACV is an indispensable item for the kitchen cupboard. Its antiseptic qualities are legendary. It is a miracle cure for the skin and does wonders to shrink swelling in nearly anything including varicose or “bulging” veins, hemorrhoidal bleeding, menstrual issues, nose bleeds, cuts, abrasions, sunburns, blisters, stomach issues, etc. You name it, Apple Cider Vinegar can probably fix it!
Apple Cider Vinegar is also fantastic for aiding cell regeneration. Yes, you read that correctly. It can help fix your body’s cells, which is why it has been sought after as a potential cancer-reducer. It is quite possibly the true “fountain of youth” in a bottle. ACV also aids in balancing diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity or underweight issues, high and low blood pressure, asthma and allergies, and much more.
Throw a couple tablespoons in a glass, two or three times a day, with some water or juice, and you will feel amazing. It truly works on nearly anything that ails you!
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