Fermented foods can bring you back to life

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Fermented Foods(NaturalHealth365) Fermented foods offer a delicious way to help improve digestion; strengthen the cardiovascular system and enhance immunity. This ancient food preparation technique has seen a huge rise in its popularity as people are waking up to the many health benefits associated with these truly functional foods.

In a world of pasteurized and sterilized (de-natured) foods – fermented products would be a great addition to your diet.

Fermentation is a process where starches and proteins in vegetables and fruits are converted into lactic acid; this produces bacteria, which enhances digestion; increases vitamin levels, and promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestines.

Boost your nutrition with fermented foods

Fermented dairy products have increased levels of pyridine and the B vitamins including folic acid, riboflavin and biotin. Fermenting vegetables and fruits increase the bioavailability of amino acids, especially lysine and methionine, while the anaerobic environment preserves the vitamin C content of these foods.

When grains are fermented, the activity of phytic acid is decreased; this acid has anti-nutrient activity, as it binds minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium – preventing their absorption.

Natural cures for colitis, IBS and Crohn’s disease

When suffering from any of these conditions – fermented foods can dramatically improve intestinal health. By supplying the good bacteria or probiotics such as lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, it helps maintain and increase the number of beneficial microorganism in the intestines. At the same time, it prevents colonization of pathogenic organisms.

Fermented foods are crucial to digestive health and have the unique ability to protect the stomach and intestinal linings. They ease digestive distress and discomfort related to having too much or too little stomach acid. When the production of hydrochloric acid is too low, fermented foods help increase the acidity of gastric juices, and when they are too high the fermented foods help protect both the stomach and intestines.

Stimulate your bowels to remove unwanted waste products

Traditionally produced fermented foods help with the production of acetylcholine. This is a neurotransmitter, which facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses. And we all know, better nerve impulses equal better bowel movements. If you suffer from constipation – try eating some traditionally-fermented pickles or sauerkraut. (yummy!)

By also helping with releasing digestive juices and enzymes from the stomach, pancreas, and the gallbladder – fermented food becomes a potent digestive aid. Most importantly, the beneficial bacteria create a short chain fatty acid, which becomes a source of fuel that enables intestinal cells to grow healthy intestinal tissue.

Diabetics find a great way to balance blood sugar

Fermented foods improve pancreatic function; the lactic acid-fermented foods are already broken down or pre-digested, so it is easy on the pancreas. Traditional fermented foods will help lower glucose levels by slowing down the speed with which the stomach empties.

In one study, the glycemic index of sourdough bread, which is fermented grain bread, turned out to be 68 on the glycemic index, while non-sourdough bread is 100 – on the glycemic index table.

More recently, German scientists were working with a strain of lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough bread, and found it to be more effective in killing microbes, which were resistant to most antibiotics.

Early civilizations knew that to preserve food – fermentation was a necessity. Today, we know that the concept of using naturally occurring good bacteria will help eliminate harmful types. This is why we find a diet that includes fermented foods helps eliminate candida; lowers the risk of certain cancers, and supports overall health.

Traditional fermented foods include, miso, a paste made of fermented soy beans; sauerkraut; sourdough bread; kefir, a fermented drink made from milk; yogurt, the kind that includes probiotics; natto, from fermented soybeans; tempeh and just about any vegetable can be fermented.

Another great idea is to try some “home pickling” – there are plenty of books available on the subject. If you have a favorite fermented food story or recipe – post your comments below.

About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She has the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in natural healing including Naturopaths, scientist and energy healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.



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  • lynette mayo

    Hi: I really enjoyed this article. It’s made me want to use the Kefir starter I’ve had in my fridge for a while? I also read, you can buy the same type of starter kits to ferment your own vegetables? I’m struggling with a rare orphan disease that came on overnight two years ago, I’m going to start eating probiotics foods daily. They seem like they are more powerful than just taking probiotic capsules, I’ll do both.

    PS: My illness is called “Dercums Disease”. If you have any experts who can give me some advice about this it would be greatly appreciated. Do you know if Stem Cell Treatments would make an impact? Good site: Discovery Health TV Dercums June 2010

    Lynette Mayo

  • Todd

    I’ve experienced great results by consuming fermented foods – kimchi, garlic pickles, carrots, sauerkraut. I also love being able to control what goes into them vs relying on the honesty of vendors! In the beginning I suffered from non stop gas, but after a few weeks it stopped. I guess my flora was balancing itself out during that period. Now I enjoy eating a spoon/fork full or two of fermented food before each meal.

    My only concern is whether or not fermented products do any damage to tooth enamel? This appears to be a taboo question that nobody can answer or wants to answer. Can anyone confirm this either way?

  • Levada

    A really easy DIY probiotic is to make kombucha! I bought my “starter” (called a scoby) on ebay and the vendor sent complete instructions. It ferments (grows the probiotics) on a simple and inexpensive mixture of sugar and tea. Diabetics don’t be scared of it…the fermenting converts the sugar into fuel for the probiotic organisms and is gone by the time you drink it. It tastes delicious, is naturally carbonated, and I used it for months while rebuilding my health.

    I would recommend it to anyone.

  • Susan Pike

    I really enjoy your informative articles. But I have a question that no one seems to be able to answer. Why is it that fermented foods are so good for digestion and keeping healthy bacteria in gut – yet when you have Candida they tell you to AVOID any fermented foods – It doesn’t make sense. Can you answer this?

  • jill

    would kombucha tea be a good choice?

  • Pat Porter

    In December I finally got up the nerve to make sauerkraut and gave some jars away as gifts and recipients said it was great! I thought so,too. The trouble is … eating it all up before the next batch is finished. My favorite recipe: To finely shredded cabbage (about 6 pounds), add a palm full of pepper corns, same measures of caraway seeds, celery seeds, fennel seeds and Himalayan salt. Juice of two celery stalks. Hand-mix well in a large bowl and let stand for a while, perhaps an hour. Transfer mixture to wide-mouth one-quart jars and tamp down. You can get rough with it; you wan the cabbabge to release it juice. There is a lovely maple wood kraut pounder which I long for but settled for a tart tamper instead. With the large-mouth jars, you can use your hands as well for tamping. Cover cabbage mixture with water and a piece of cabbage leaf weighted down by a small stone or shot glass. 6 pounds of cabbage mixture usually requires 5 1-qt jars. I place my jars in 4-qt stainless steel bowls and place in a warm spot – about 68 to 70 degrees. Do NOT tighten the lids; kraut will bubble over as it ferments. Check every couple days and if cabbage is in air, add a brine of 1 tsp him. salt to 1 cup water to cover the cabbage. Sauerkraut is ready to sample in a week and best at about 6 weeks. Keep checking jars to make sure the fermentation is anaerobic and add brine as needed.

  • Pat Porter

    Susan Pike, there is a big difference between commercially processed pickled foods and the naturally-fermented foods you make at home.

  • Pat Porter

    There are some words missing from my kraut recipe just sent. It says “Cover cabbage mixture with water and a piece of cabbage leaf weighted down by a small stone or shot glass”. It should read “Cover cabbage mixture of water and a tsp of raw apple cider vinegar and a piece of cabbage leaf weighted down by a small stone or shot glass.”

  • Janice on Wed. March 13th 2013

    I have tried making sauerkraut, and it just doesn’t come out right.
    Also, because of the salt it raises my blood pressure. That scares me so I quit trying to make it. Is there any other way to make sauerkraut, without adding all that salt? Can you answer this?

  • Blanche

    Fermented foods contain live bacteria, which can crowd-out Candida,and help get the yeast under control. Fermented food is an exceptional probiotic.

    Fermented sauerkraut can be made without salt by adding spices, herbs and/or other vegetables. It has to be refrigerated when made that way.