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Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods

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Good health starts in the gut, so keeping your internal ecosystem healthy and balanced is essential for a strong immune system and vital living. Eating fermented foods is one of the easiest and most economical ways to improve your gut flora. Humans have been fermenting foods for ages. And you may be surprised how easy it is to do at home! I recently just brewed some kombucha from a SCOBY (starter culture) that i acquired from a client. It was an easy process and my kids loved adding fresh fruit to flavor it.

It is important to understand that the gut is the principal area of your body where exchanges are made between you and the outside world and where nutrient uptake takes place. Since most diseases start in the gut, the quality of the flora that resides there is extremely important to your overall health. Think about this: the human gastro-intestinal tract houses the bulk of the human immune system, about 70% of it. Everything we eat and drink passes through the gut along the gastrointestinal tract. The tube like GI tract is embedded with millions of bacteria that live, grow, and metabolize (digesting and absorbing) in what’s considered a complex ecosystem comprised of both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Imbalances within this ecosystem will impair the gut barrier and increase risk of developing disease. With our stressful lifestyles, environmental toxins, and food lacking in real nutrition, our gut lining is unable to completely regenerate and heal itself as the old lining naturally sheds off. This leaves tiny gaps in the lining, allowing proteins and other “foreign” particles to seep into our bodies (leaky gut), creating a host of ailments and diseases, including:

Compromised immune system, food allergies/intolerance’s, gas/bloating, thyroid problems, diarrhea/constipation (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), migraines, weight gain/loss, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, auto-immune issues, depression, mood swings, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, poor memory, and difficulty concentrating.

Most of us understand that there are both good and bad bacteria that live in our gut. We also know that a healthy balance of good bacteria in this internal “ecosystem” is crucial for good health. But how do we increase the number of “good” organisms that reside inside our digestive tract?

The answer is PROBIOTICS.

Adding fermented foods to your diet is an easy and inexpensive way to add probiotics into your diet. There are many different brands of probiotic supplements that you can purchase, but getting your flora in balance by eating a little fermented food with every meal is not only more delicious but also more economical and reliable.

Some common fermented foods you may have heard of include sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented cheeses, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and miso (fermented soy). Unfortunately, the standard American diet is pretty much void of any real fermented foods. The pickles, ketchups, and sauerkrauts that were traditionally fermented are now brined in vinegar and pasteurized, killing any beneficial organisms. What we are talking about here are REAL fermented foods that are lacto-fermented, meaning that the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted into lactic acid by the many species of lactic-acid-producing bacteria present on the surface of all living things. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. All you do is add SALT. Bacteria that could be harmful to us can’t tolerate much salt, but there are healthy bacteria that can. Lacto-fermentation wipes out the bad guys , then lets the good guys get to work . The product is a living food, full of enzymes and probiotics.

Health Benefits of lacto-fermented foods:

* Fermented foods improve digestion.

Fermenting our foods before we eat them is like partially digesting them before we consume sometimes people who cannot tolerate milk can eat yogurt. That’s because the lactose (which is usually the part people can’t tolerate) in milk is broken down as the milk is fermented and turns into yogurt.)

* Fermented foods restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut.

Lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, yeast infections, allergies, and asthma have all been linked to a lack of good bacteria in the gut.

* Raw, fermented foods are rich in enzymes.

Your body needs enzymes to properly digest, absorb, and make full use of your food.

* Fermenting food actually increases the vitamin content.

Fermented dairy products consistently reveal an increased level of folic acid, as well as pyroxidine, B vitamins, riboflavin and biotin depending on the strains of bacteria present.
Most of us understand that there are both good and bad bacteria that live in our gut. We also know that a healthy balance of good bacteria in this internal “ecosystem” is crucial for good health. But how do we increase the number of “good” organisms that reside inside our digestive tract?

Adding fermented foods to your diet is an easy and inexpensive way to add probiotics into your diet. There are many different brands of probiotic supplements that you can purchase, but getting your flora in balance by eating a little fermented food with every meal is not only more delicious but also more economical and reliable.