While our ancestors would have made fermented foods without a second thought, today it seems weird to have living, bacteria-ridden food bubbling away in our kitchens. But with lots of new information and products available to make the process foolproof, we think everyone should be fermenting at home.
Here are just some of the reasons that fermenting should be part of your weekly kitchen routine.
Boost your immune system
Fermented foods are bursting with beneficial bacteria, which help support a healthy gut. Did you know that 70 to 80 percent of your immune system lives in the lining of your intestine? That’s right — it’s made up of friendly bacteria that help you maintain a strong constitution and avoid illness naturally.
Eating fermented foods has even been known to help cure allergies and heal a multitude of other chronic illnesses that cannot be addressed by modern medicine.
Improve digestion and elimination
Regular consumption of probiotics in fermented foods is known to boost the digestive process and help ward off any elimination problems like constipation or diarrhea. If you have experienced painful gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fermented foods would be a great thing to try. Start with a small spoonful and increase gradually over several weeks.
Increase nutrient absorption
When a food is fermented by friendly bacteria, it gets partially pre-digested, which means your own digestive system has less work to do. The nutrients are more readily available for you to benefit from, which boosts your health in general!
In fact, many people who are lactose intolerant can comfortably eat dairy products such as kefir and yogurt when they are homemade and fermented longer than 24 hours.
Natural beauty and weight loss
If you have skin issues or have trouble with your weight, try incorporating fermented foods into your routine. Healing the gut with the friendly bacteria from fermented foods can help you shed pounds and get clearer skin from the inside out.
Along with weight loss, consumption of probiotics has also been shown to reverse unhealthy cholesterol levels.
For those dealing with anxiety or depression, probiotics should be the first port of call before resorting to any type of prescription medication. The improved digestion and nutrient absorption made possible by probiotic-laced foods help many people find balance and overcome mood disorders. Who knew bacteria could make you happier?!
Beyond all of these incredible health benefits, you can’t go wrong adding tangy, spicy fermented vegetables or creamy kefir to your usual recipes. Experiment with recipes from different cultures and enjoy a wide range of delicious fermented foods!
This is a great reason to make your own cultured creations: The store-bought ones are much more expensive! While a jar of sauerkraut from the health food store might run you anywhere from six to 12 dollars, you can make a big jar at home for less than two!
Connect with your food and have fun
Finally, and perhaps the most important reason to make fermented foods at home with your family, is reconnecting with the source of your food. Making your own nutritious creations is a great way to teach kids the importance of healthy choices. Get messy in the kitchen and have fun while learning about the simple science of fermentation!
Ideas for fermented foods to make at home
Wondering how to get started? We recommend sauerkraut as the easiest way to begin. If you want to invest a bit of money to guarantee your fermentation will go smoothly, you can buy special lids with valves. If you’d like to make yogurt, electric yogurt makers make the job easy. Other traditional fermented foods include kombucha, kefir, kimchi, kvass and tempeh.
Are you interested in getting started with fermenting? Learn more about making your own kimchi and sauerkraut at home.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.