Updated: Sep 26, 2021
The best fermented foods to eat and their benefits on gut health
Pickles, sourdough, kimchi and kombucha are probably some of the foods and drinks that come to mind when you think about fermented foods. From foodies to nutritionists, fermented foods have become increasingly popular
over the last decade. Not to mention that the fermentation process adds a new exciting layer of flavour to foods.
The history of food fermentation.
You may not know that food fermentation goes far back in history, though it is hard to pin down its exact origins. Historians believe they saw the first signs of fermentation back in 7000 BC. It used to be a way to preserve food when there was no access to refrigeration back in the day.
What is food fermentation?.
Nowadays, fermenting has made a comeback for its ‘good’ bacteria properties that provide many benefits including a healthy digestive system. There has been a lot of research done that suggests that fermented foods should be regularly included in a normal diet. These foods can provide a boost of probiotics which are live microorganisms that help with food digestion by improving the microorganisms intended to maintain or improve the "good" bacteria (normal microflora) in the body. Traditionally you need a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria.
What is the process of food fermentation?.
The natural process of food fermentation is one where microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria convert carbohydrates into alcohols and carbon dioxide, under anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions. The alcohol or acid that is converted can act as a natural preservative and boosts the fermented food with a distinct zest and tartness.
Benefits of fermented foods.
● Improves gut health and immune system.
The majority of your immune system lives in your gut, and it has a lot of say over the rest of your body’s health. A healthy gut means a healthy immune system. Adding fermented foods into your diet that are rich in probiotics provides your gut with a better environment to mix with other bacteria in what’s called the ‘gut biome’.
The gut biome is an important part of assisting with the control of the digestive system and also benefits your immune system.
● Added nutrients and lower antinutrient content.
The process of fermentation has an interesting effect on the nutrient content of food and drink. It can decrease antinutrients, which are compounds that block the body’s ability to absorb good nutrients. At the same time, the bacteria in fermented foods boost the body’s vitamins and nutrients as they digest sugars and starch.
The range of nutrients increased varies from vitamin B and iron to vitamin K2 and zinc. For example, if you are a vegetarian you can obtain vitamin B12 that is present in fermented plant food, which you would otherwise only get from animal and dairy products.
● Improves cognitive function.
There has been a lot of evidence to suggest that eating fermented foods can improve your cognitive function . A probiotic found in kimchi has been shown to slow drug-induced memory impairment in mice. Probiotic-rich fermented milk has also been found to regulate brain activity.
● Good bacteria fight the bad bacteria.
With the everyday modern diet, we often swallow disease-causing bacteria that you wouldn’t notice, because you don’t always get sick from it. That’s because good bacteria within fermentation products lowers the pH in your gut, decreasing the chance of bad bacteria surviving. These bacteria also produce antimicrobial proteins that fight off bad bacteria.
● Reduced risk of cardiovascular disorders.
There has been research conducted to determine the influence of fermented foods on lowering cardio risk factors such as type 2 diabetes, stroke or cardiovascular disease.
Latin inspired fermented foods.
If you’re searching for where to buy fermented foods online, look no further! Pantry Foods by Dan Hernandez offers a wide variety of fermented food products to inspire your senses.
After working as a chef in Australia for many years, Dan acquired many cooking experiences creating Australian made recipes utilising the best of local produce. Dan sources his produce directly with a variety of local farmers in Brisbane. One in particular is the Missy Mae’s Flavour Finders local farmers market which offers some of the freshest flavours of fruits and vegetables that Australia produces.
Dan specialises in bringing the South American flavours out of locally sourced fruit and vegetables. Fermented products are common in parts of South America where ingredients such as cacao, milk, cassava and grapes are used. Traditional products including wine, pisco, sour cassava starch, coffee and chocolate are important fermented foods and beverages consumed in South America .
For instance, several products from Dan’s Pantry Foods range including the tasty and smokey South American salsa, mild ketchup and sweet and spicy sauce have all been fermented to allow good bacteria to populate. This brings a tangy flavour to the salsa and an added depth when combined with other dishes such as meat and fish.
What makes Dan’s products unique is not only the process of fermentation applied to the ingredients but also their combination with other cooking techniques such as slow cooking with infused oils, roasting, double boiler methods, cooking with fire and slow grilling techniques. You’ll find these flavours throughout Panty Food’s chimichurri, sweet and spicy sauces, ketchup and South American Salsa. There’s something to suit all tastes and what’s better yet, you’ll be supporting all Australian made food products with ingredients sourced from local food producers. Discover more fermented products by Dan Hernandez.