The ancient tradition of fermenting foods has come back into popularity in the 21st century, and for good reason. Amazingly, the human body hosts more bacteria cells than it does human cells — and most of these bacteria have beneficial properties. Gut bacteria are of particular interest for their role in digestive health, and emerging research suggests these bacteria may influence the entire body’s functioning, from autoimmune disorders and skin conditions to obesity and diabetes. Consuming fermented foods supports these beneficial bacteria and enhances absorption of nutrients. Yogurt is the most commonly consumed probiotic-containing food, while kefir (a fermented, yogurt-like drink) is a much more potent source of probiotics. Other fermented foods include kombucha, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and tempeh.
What’s the takeaway?
Fermented foods that offer probiotics are part of a healthy diet, and consuming these foods can help maintain a healthy gut. Experiment with different types of fermented foods and condiments by adding them to meals you already enjoy.
For more information, check out:
- The Unsuspecting Health Barometer: Your Gut
- The Health and History of Fermented Foods, Food & Nutrition Magazine