Fermented foods: what they are and how they can improve your health


The fermented foods are one of the best supplements you can add to your diet. Not only because they are very versatile in the kitchen (and they are very tasty) but because they are one of the best ways to take care of your health.

This time we tell you what they are, what benefits they bring to our health and how you can include them in your day to day.


What are fermented foods?

In a very summarized way, fermented foods are those that provide us with probiotics ( beneficial bacteria for our intestinal microbiot) and that are achieved through fermentation.

In fact, the history of fermented foods dates back to ancient times and that is why we find this type of food in all cultures. From yogurts to breads to all kinds of fermented vegetables .

Furthermore, in the vast majority of cases, fermentation not only lengthens the shelf life of foods but also better preserves the vitamins and minerals present in them.

A clear example is that of vitamin C and sauerkraut, whose oxidation slows down thanks to the fermentation process. A feature that made it possible for Captain Cook to fight scurvy in the 18th century. Achieving in this way not only to remedy a deadly disease but also to solve an evil that at that time was very common among sailors.


What are the benefits of fermented foods?

In the previous paragraph we have already talked about a benefit of fermented foods ; specifically, the best preservation of vitamin C. However, the benefits we get from including fermented foods in our diet are very diverse:

  • They are more nutritious and easier to digest foods
  • They provide us with digestive enzymes that help us to better assimilate food
  • Fermentation increases some essential vitamins for the proper functioning of the body, such as those of group B and vitamin K2
  • They promote intestinal health and, therefore, our health in general. In addition, they modulate our immune system
  • They enrich our microbiota and increase its diversity
  • Regulate blood sugar levels
  • They are anti-inflammatory and promote proper detoxification of the body

In addition, and despite the fact that all fermented foods have benefits, we must not forget that it is advisable to include different types. After all, one of the most interesting aspects of this type of food is precisely the bacterial diversity that characterizes them. And that will vary slightly depending on what we are fermenting.

Even in the case of fermented vegetables. We won’t get the same benefits from fermenting cabbage to make sauerkraut as from fermenting onions, olives, or pickles to make pickles.

How to include fermented foods in our diet?

At this point you may be wondering how to include fermented foods in your diet. And the answer is simpler than you might expect. Especially after seeing some examples of fermented foods that you can include on a daily basis:

  • Lactofermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut or kimchi
  • Sourdough bread
  • Olives and pickles
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese (made with raw milk)
  • Milk kefir (also known as Bulgarian or tibicos)
  • Water kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Tamari
  • Natto (one of the best sources of vitamin K2)
  • Apple vinager

As you can see, many of them are typical foods of the Mediterranean diet . For example, cheese, yogurt, olives, pickles, lactofermented vegetables, or apple cider vinegar.

> Read How to make coconut water kefir

fermented foods properties

In addition, depending on the fermented food you choose, it will serve as a soft drink, as a garnish of vegetables for your dishes or as a good sauce. Or simply as a healthy appetizer, as is the case with olives or cheese.

However, when we talk about fermented foods we have to remember one thing. If we apply heat or, as is usual, pasteurize these foods, we will be killing the beneficial bacteria. And, therefore, we will not be getting the probiotics and benefits that we seek.

Fermentation at home: an easy and inexpensive way to consume fermented foods

For this reason, and since it is sometimes difficult to find real fermented foods in the markets, many people opt for the homemade versions. A very easy option to make for which we will only need a few ingredients such as salt , a strainer, a fermentation pot or a fungus or starter culture. In addition to time and patience.

In fact, when we make our own fermented foods at home we will see that the most difficult thing to achieve is precisely the last point. However, I assure you that it will be worth the wait and your health will thank you.

Finally, if you have never made fermented at home, I encourage you to try this recipe to make kefir and this recipe for sauerkraut . And tell us your results in the comments!


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