Why is it good for you?
What is food fermentation?
Food fermentation is the process of creating food or changing the properties of food using microbes.
To put it simply, fermentation is a process that utilizes microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi (yeasts and molds) to produce either alcohol or acid from carbohydrate sources. These will in turn help preserve products and create unique flavors, textures, and enhanced nutrition.
Fermentation then and now
For thousands of years, before the invention of refrigerators and freezers, the most common way to preserve food from spoiling was through fermentation. Fermentation has existed since the Neolithic Era, some of the earliest documentation of fermentation being between 7000-6600 BCE in Asia.
Today, we don’t eat quite as many fermented foods as our ancestors did. The most consumed fermented food and drink would be cheese, beer, wine, yogurt, cured sausage and sourdough bread. Many store-bought fermented foods, like sauerkraut or pickles, are not authentic as they are often preserved in vinegar instead of the traditional and naturally occurring beneficial bacteria. However, as healthy and eco-friendly eating is a growing concern worldwide, there is a global interest in rediscovering what are the benefits of integrating fermented foods in one’s life.
Health benefits: what's in it for you?
In the Middle Ages, drinking water was hazardous because it frequently contained bacteria that carry diseases. Making the water into beer made it safe to drink, as any deadly bacteria previously present in the water were killed during the brewing process. Additionally, since microorganisms can produce vitamins as they ferment, the beer had added nutrients in it from the barley and various other ingredients.
In this modern day, our gut has gone weaker while norms and regulations have been introduced to food processing and production. However, researchers from Stanford journal University in the Cell suggests that there are healthy benefits to eating fermented foods. They may help the balance of helpful bacteria that live in your intestines to reinforce our immune system and help you digest food.
Here are the key health benefits of fermented foods.
- Improves Digestive Health
- Boosts Your Immune System
- Makes Food Easier to Digest
- Improve Mental Health
- Weight Loss
- Improve Heart Health
Past research has found other links between good health and fermented foods. According to a review article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, common fermented like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and yogurt have been reported to reduce heart disease risk and aid digestion, immunity, and weight loss.
Making these foods part of your diet may be an easy way to better your heart and metabolic health without changing your diet completely. But for a double dose of good health, add fermented foods to the Mediterranean or other plant-based diet.
Interested in knowing more about fermented foods and how to make it?
We are launching an online course for you to understand the beauty of fermentation and master the techniques of conserving and preserving foods.
Check it out here: https://onlinecourseinfo.cordonbleu.edu/the-art-of-fermentation
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided as a guide only. Le Cordon Bleu invites you to research areas that interest you in more depth and seek qualified medical advice for any health issues.