Fermentation is the utilization of naturally occurring microscopic bacteria and fungi in foods to transform proteins and starches into acetic and lactic acid as well as alcohol. This process is necessary for numerous benefits including:
- Improved nutritional content of the food
- Improved digestibility of foods
- Removal of toxins and anti-nutrients
- preservation and creation of important enzymes
Common fermented food:
- sourdough bread
The improved digestibility of foods caused by fermentation allows for proper nutrient absorption. For example, the process transforms the sugar in dairy into lactic acid, a more tolerable form of lactose, allowing persons with an intolerance to stand fermented forms of dairy.
Fermentation Removes toxins and harmful bacteria found in many foods to resist potential infection and illness.
The most widely recognized benefits of fermentation are in the preservation and creation of enzymes, important for all chemical reactions in the body, and the preservation and proliferation of Probiotic organisms, known to protect the body against intestinal infection and digestive disorders.
- Digestive disorders can be the cause for poor nutrient absorption inevitably leading to issues in other areas of the body such as rashes, brain fog, and chronic fatigue. These problems are the bodies way of telling the brain that something is not working correctly.
- Beneficial Probiotics crowd out harmful bacteria protecting the intestinal lining from infection and inflammation
Incorporating fermented foods into your diet is a great way to keep your digestive tract and immune system in tip top shape. Start slowly and notice the role that each fermented food plays in your body. You may feel the benefits of some and not of others. To learn more about fermentation and its benefits, check out the Journal of Beneficial Microbes or one of the many cookbooks (Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz) that also teach you how to home-ferment. Happy Fermenting!