We are all hearing and seeing a lot of info about the Microbiome in your Gut. Microbiome refers to the community of micro-organisms that reside in or on your body including your gut. So how do fermented foods help your gut health?
Fermentation simply means that the sugars and carbohydrates in a food have been broken down by beneficial (or “good”) bacteria, resulting in the formation of lactic acid, which our taste buds recognize as a complex, pungent burst of flavour. The crucial benefit of fermentation, far more important than a tasty addition to our meals —is a healthy gut.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said disease begins in the gut. So it stands to reason that our health begins there, too. We want to increase the friendly bacteria in our gut and one of the best ways to do this is through fermented foods.
So what are the benefits of fermented foods and why should we be eating them? Reduced sugar cravings, blood sugar control and better digestion are just a few benefits we gain from eating fermented food. Here are our top reasons.
Gut health & Digestion:
Raw cultured vegetables are essentially pre-digested, meaning that the bacteria have broken down the naturally occurring sugars in the vegetables, so that you don’t have to. The enzymes in fermented vegetables also assist in digesting foods eaten along with them in particular grains, legumes, and meat.
When the protective lining of the gut is irritated, the body is more susceptible to allergies, infections, and yeast overgrowth. Lactic acid bacteria have the ability to reduce intestinal permeability, thereby restoring the protective lining. They create pH changes in the GI tract and make it difficult for bad bug pathogens to survive.
The fermentation process makes nutrients more bio-available for the body to use. Sauerkraut is a great example of this as the amount of vitamin C in sauerkraut is significantly higher than in the same serving of fresh cabbage. Why? Because the vitamin C in fresh cabbage is woven into the fibrous plant walls, so it’s less readily available for the intestinal cells to take in. The same goes for foods like rice and legumes, which have significantly more B vitamins after the fermentation process. In wheat-based products, like sourdough breads, fermentation has been shown to degrade gluten, making it less inflammatory.
Both the good bacteria and the active enzymes in fermented foods act as potent detoxifiers in the intestines. Beneficial microbes ferment fibre from foods like onions, garlic, leeks, artichokes, and chicory root as a way to fuel their own growth. These foods are also called prebiotics, known for boosting the detoxification process.
Sugar cravings and Blood Sugar Control:
Yeast and pathogenic, bad bacteria, feed off sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more accessible you’re making your intestines to harmful microbes. This creates a harmful cycle of the more sugar you eat, the more bad bacteria you have, making you crave more sugar. The reverse, however, is also true, meaning the fewer of these bad bacteria you have, the less you crave sugar.
Fermented foods are also stabilizing for blood sugar. They balance your appetite, leaving you feeling more satiated and less hungry and create an even and steady release of insulin so the body doesn’t store fat.
Weight control & Hormones:
Emerging research suggests gut microbes also affect hormones that regulate our metabolism—leptin, in particular, which is known for limiting appetite. So in addition to influencing our appetite for sugar, harmful bacteria may also make it more difficult for some people to feel full, leading to overeating and consequential weight gain.
Elimination of anti-nutrients:
Foods that would normally be unhealthy because of phytic acid (like soy) get transformed.
Clearer, more stable, sharper mind:
Any dysfunction of the brain is usually connected to what’s going on in the digestive system. It is well known that the gut serves as our second brain.
Beautiful Skin and increased immunity:
80% of our immunity is in the digestive tract, where the intestinal lacteals meet the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT). This is simply the inner skin of the gut. This amazing fact illustrating the intimate connection between healthy, harmonious digestion, the skin, and immunity. It is said that the majority of our skin’s appearance can be attributed to the health of this skin lining the intestinal wall. The skin that lines the gut wall, where 80% of the immunity lies, is the most important skin of the body. It is said that 80% of the skins outer appearance relies on the health of the skin lining the intestinal wall.
WHY SHOULD I EAT FERMENTED FOODS DURING THE COLDER MONTHS?
Fermented foods allow the natural lactobacilli, as well as other beneficial strains of bacteria on all fruits and veggies, to proliferate and thus produce lots of lactic acid. The lactic acid is the preservative which allows the veggies to be preserved while slowing releasing sugars from the cellulose to feed the good bacteria.
Fermentation of fruits, veggies, or dairy brews lots of good bugs which traditionally allowed people to support a healthy and robust immunity – which is so needed during the long winters.
The lactic acid produced during fermentation produces acids naturally increases heat, which is also desperately needed in the cold months of winter.
Ref: – Goop.com