Fermented foods (and drinks) have been around for hundreds of years – since the ancient Romans used the fermentation process as a means of producing and preserving their food.
The popularity of fermentation has skyrocketed in recent times, with various health food experts advocating for its benefits on the human body. So what are fermented foods and what’s so good about them? Let’s take a look…
What is fermentation?
The process of fermentation involves converting carbohydrates to acid, gases or alcohol by using yeasts and bacteria under conditions without oxygen. The primary use of fermentation is to preserve food and make it last longer. However, people also use the process to extract nutrients and gain probiotics.
Why should your ferment your foods?
- To gain important nutrients – Fermented foods contain outstanding amounts of essential nutrients like K2 and B vitamins, which assist in preventing plaque buildup and heart disease.
- To naturally optimise your immune system – Fermented foods are a wonderful source of probiotics, which work to increase the health of your digestive and immune systems.
- Because it will save you money – Fermenting your own foods is kind of like a cheat’s way to gain nutrients (a very smart cheat). It’s a lot cheaper to ferment your foods than to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on probiotics or at health food stores.
- To add a little bit of flavour to your meals – Sauerkraut or kimchi, in particular, are great additions to typically bland meals, with their ability to be accented using as many herbs and spices as possible. Fermented cheese also makes a great addition to any dip ‘n’ cracker party.
Our top picks of fermented foods:
- Miso – yep, that’s right. That miso soup dish that costs you under a dollar at your local sushi train is actually super good for you.
- Kombucha tea – craving soft drink but don’t want the calories? Enter kombucha, the super-drink of all drinks. It combines a fizzy, fruity taste with herbal healing qualities and is a much healthier choice than alcohol, juice or any soft drink.
- Wine and beer – obviously this conflicts with what we just said, but there’s no reason not to treat yourself every now and again. Plus berries are a fruit, so wine is technically healthy, right?
- Sauerkraut – while not everybody’s favourite food, sauerkraut contains valuable nutrients for your body and can be easily added to almost any savoury dish! Here’s how to ferment sauerkraut at home.