The process of Fermentation has been around for over 10,000 years, but like all good things, it is making a comeback.
Fermentation works by using bacteria and yeast to break down sugars in a variety of foods and drinks. Including fermented food and drinks in your diet can greatly improve your health and well-being by increasing the number and variety of good bacteria in your gut.
So what are fermented foods and why is fermented food for gut health becoming such a big deal?
Below we break down 10 fermented foods and drinks and the science backing them up.
Sauerkraut is a fermented condiment made from shredded cabbage and takes its name from the very literal German translation of “sour cabbage”.
Dating as far back as the Roman Empire, Sauerkraut is made with the help of lactic acid bacteria fermentation or LAB which preserves the cabbage’s shelf life, while enhancing favour, nutritional content, and reducing toxicity.
Indeed, Sauerkraut is rich in antioxidants, vitamin B, vitamin K1, and folic acid making it an ideal food to combat:
A group of 139 publications ranging over a 90-year period has shown that consuming sauerkraut reduces the risk of negative digestive symptoms and reduces localised inflammation.
Sauerkraut is easily made at home and can take almost any savoury meal to the next level. Try it as a finishing touch to soups, sandwiches, or eggs on toast.
2. Probiotic Yoghurt
Probiotic yoghurt is created from cultured milk through the process of lactic acid bacteria fermentation.
You will find probiotic yoghurt is readily available at health food stores and even some supermarkets. You'll easily recognise it from its deliciously creamy and tangy flavour.
It’s also packed with important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin B-12 and is an important source of dairy protein and other healthy fatty acids.
Including probiotic yoghurt in your diet could aid with:
- Reducing the risk of type two diabetes
- Strengthening the immune system
- Bone health and density
- Reduce inflammation
People with lactose intolerance or indigestion may also find probiotic yoghurt more tolerable than regular milk. Recently, the European Food and Safety Authority concluded there was a direct cause and effect relationship between consuming and improved digestion of lactose.
Level-up your breakfasts with probiotic yoghurt and freshly cut fruit or go wild with cucumber and dill salads - check out our portable Yoghurt Making kit and make yours at home and on-demand.
Miso is a salty, fermented paste that originates from Japan. It’s made from cooked soybeans plus saltwater and Koji starter culture which is a type of edible fungus.
Miso is known for adding a super-funky umami flavour and is commonly found in miso soup broth and a range of other delicious Japanese-style meals.
If you like salty food, Miso is a prime addition to your diet as it actually lessens the effect of salt on blood pressure.
Studies show that miso soup has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Other health benefits of miso include:
- Protects against lung cancer
- Prevention against breast cancer
- Prevents tumors
- Reduces risk of hypertension
If you want to include more Miso in your diet, making your own Miso is simple with our White Miso making kit. Grab yours online today and get started.
Kimchi is a whirlwind of spicy fermented radishes, cabbage, or sometimes a combination of both. Mixed in with a concoction of spices including chilli, garlic, and ginger this South Korean specialty is pact with goodness through and through.
A fermented food for gut health, Kimchi boasts some pretty spectacular health benefits.
It's packed with important nutrients like Vitamin K, Choline, and also shares the same lactobacilli bacteria as in yoghurt, and other fermented food for good gut health.
A study involving 21 pre-diabetic individuals revealed that eating kimchi resulted in decreased weight and circumference, as well as decreasing insulin resistance and sensitivity.
Kimchi is a highly versatile side dish and can spice up a surprising variety of dishes from fried rice, noodles all the way through to pizza.
Speaking of beneficial bacteria, Kefir is a popular fermented dairy drink. It’s made by combining milk with Kefir grains which are made up of yeast and bacteria creating a creamy, tangy drink bursting with probiotic microorganisms.
Originating in the Caucasus, Balkans, and eastern Europe, this drink is easily made at home with the right ingredients.
Kefir has earned its name as one of the tastiest and most beneficial fermented foods in Australia. It also has plenty of benefits that can boost your overall health:
- Boost digestion
- Antibacterial properties
- Reduces cholesterol
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15848295/ and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0171298507000666)
- Reduces urinary tract Infections
If you’re looking for a quick way to increase good bacteria in your gut microbiome, kefir is a simple and delicious way to include fermented drinks into your diet. Get your very own fermentation kit online today from Nourishme Organics.
Tempeh is made from crushed fermented soybeans that have been pressed into a firm, nutty cake. As a meat alternative, the Tempeh is a great source of protein, minerals, and nutrients and is best enjoyed in stir-fries, sandwiches, veggie burgers, or rice bowls.
Tempeh has high levels of protein and is a great source of iron. It’s also low in fat and free of cholesterol.
A recent semicentennial review on Tempeh’s health benefits found a major link between the consumption of tempeh and gut health. It’s no surprise that this fermented package of goodness is ideal for optimising the bioavailability of protein, antioxidants, and iron.
Natto is a microbial powerhouse. The fermented soybeans form a basic building block of Japanese cuisine and are traditionally served with cooked rice, chives mustard, and other seasonings.
It’s got a sticky, almost slippery texture, and has a nutty, salty, and cheesy flavour. Although Natto can be an acquired taste, as a fermented food for gut health, it has a huge number of health benefits.
Natto is rich in the following nutrients:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
A recent animal study found that consumption of Natto regulates gut microbiota and can prevent obesity and related metabolic disorders.
Furthermore, a study involving over 29,000 Japanese adults over 16 years found that intake of soy protein including Natto significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Including Natto into your diet is a great idea especially if you’re keen on boosting your heart and bone health and making it at home is easy with the Nourishme Organics Natto Starter Culture.
8. Sourdough Bread
Sourdough bread has become a staple food in many households due to its sourness, luscious texture, and crusty-crumb that never ceases to impress. It’s one of the most popular fermented foods in Australia, and it’s easy to see why.
Sourdough bread apart from being available at almost every artisan bakery is also extremely good for your overall health. It’s made by combining flour, water, and a sourdough starter culture that is alive with multiple beneficial bacteria. As a prebiotic, sourdough bread delivers good bacteria to the gut, improving digestion, and is highly nutritious.
A study conducted with a cohort of at-risk glucose-intolerant people found that sourdough bread is more digestible than normal wheat-based bread. Anyone who is celiac may find sourdough bread more amenable to their overall health and digestion.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink.
Its delicious fizzy and sour taste has become super popular in recent decades, but its origins date back to the northeast Chinese Tsin Dynasty around 220 BC where it was used for its healing and detoxifying effects.
Kombucha is made from fermenting sugary tea with a symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast which produces a fizzy nutrient-rich bombshell.
A recent study into the health benefits of Kombucha found it is:
- A good source of bioactive components, like polyphenols and glucuronic acid
- Regulates cholesterol
- Prevents high blood pressure
- Enhances liver function
10. Beet Kvass
Beet Kvass is a fermented drink made from cultured beets. It originally comes from Russia and Ukraine.
Traditionally, Kvass is made by fermenting beets in the same way that cabbage is fermented and stored to make sauerkraut. In this instance, it’s the juicy, slightly fizzy brine that becomes the end product.
Beet Kvass is brimming with nutrients, live bacteria, and minerals that have some pretty stunning health benefits:
- Improving digestive health and gut microbiota
- Increases nutrient bioavailability
- Breaks down toxins
- Reduce inflammation
- Decreases blood pressure
11. Pickled Vegetables
If you’re a fan of sauerkraut or kimchi, then pickled vegetables may just open up a whole new universe to your taste buds. From onions, beetroots, radishes, pickles, and chilis, branching out into the world of pickled vegetables is as rewarding as the delicious crunch you get after cracking open a jar after waiting patiently for months.
Made by storing and fermenting vegetables in brine, the fermentation process of picking vegetables is thought to have begun around 2400 BC in ancient Mesopotamia.
Health benefits of pickled vegetables include:
- Boost gut health and digestion
- Reducing constipation
- Boosts Immune system response
Fermenting your vegetables is easy with the right fermentation kit. Grab everything you need to get started from our online store!
12. Probiotic Kefir Cheese
Cheeses have long been a part of the fermented food community, and probiotic Kefir Cheese is no exception.
Kefir cheese is made by taking a kefir milk culture to the next level and straining it until it becomes thick and creamy.
As an abundant source of nutrients, minerals, and probiotics, Kefir cheese delivers a host of health benefits.
A 2019 study revealed that fermented Kefir grains can alter the gut microbiota and metabolism and can reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
Eating kefir probiotic cheese can also assist with:
- Improving gut health and digestive system
- Antibacterial response
- Allergies and heart disease
- Improving immune system
It’s easy to make probiotic kefir cheese at home, just grab our Kefirko Cheese Maker and recipe book and get started with your own homemade cheeses.
Eating fermented food for gut health can change the way you live.
Whether you're buying probiotic rich foods, or dabbling with homemade food preservation techniques, fermented foods and drinks have the potential to maintain a healthy gut and deliver a host of health benefits, not to mention extending the shelf life of some of your vegetables, and making tasty, ready-to-eat morsels that are as versatile as ever.
If you're thinking about diving into fermented foods, make sure you're prepared with the right ingredients, recipe books, and know-how. Getting it right from the start will mean you avoid over-culturing or worse exploding bottles in the fridge. Start your fermentation journey today with Nourishme Organics.