You can support your gut health with nutrient-potent fermented foods. Ranging from tangy to bitterly-sweet in flavor, these foods originated decades ago in the cultures of Japan, China, India, and Germany.
Fermenting imbues foods with the health-enhancing properties of live bacteria, providing an ample source of probiotics, which are essential to a strong digestive tract. Probiotics help build up antibodies to pathogens and provide for a strong “gut immunity” which is key to maintaining overall vibrant health.
FERMENTED FOODS SHORT LIST
- Cultured Dairy: Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream, and some cheeses
- Veggies: Beets, radishes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, kimchi, green beans, sauerkraut
- Condiments fermented at home or commercially: ketchup, relish, salsa, chutney
- Other: Miso, tempeh, tofu, soy sauce (note: these contain soy), and kombucha (check that sugar content is not high on any pre-packaged or bottled fermented food)
TIPS FOR CHOOSING & STORING FERMENTED FOODS
- Food labels must be marked “fermented.”
- Fermented and “pasteurized” do not go together. Pasteurization kills live cultures.
- Pickled is not the same as fermented (unless indicated on the label). Pickled foods are soaked in vinegar or brine.
- Choose organic, non-GMO items or locally farmed products.
- All fermented foods must be kept cool to maintain the live cultures.
ADDING FERMENTED FOODS TO YOUR DAILY DIET
When introducing fermented foods to your daily diet, start with small servings such as 1-2x a day. A few easy ways to sneak in fermented foods: Toss fermented veggies into salads or rice dishes. Enjoy fermented food as a snack or as a side dish (e.g., beets, kimchi). Add a spoonful of a fermented food to your morning smoothie (e.g., beets, kefir).
FERMENTED VEGETABLE MEDLEY
When you hunger for something tangy, nutritionally potent, and full of beneficial bacteria to help heal an aggravated digestive tract, fermented veggies are a wonderful option. They’re a great side to any meal (vegan or carnivore) and can be added to a hearty stew. This recipe gives you a variety of options, with a focus on veggies that are least likely to irritate those with sensitive digestion.
Equipment Needed for Preparation & Storage
- 1-gallon or 4-liter glass, enameled or clay jar which will be your fermentation jar
- 1 small plate that fits into the fermentation jar
- 1 small glass jar, filled with water
- 1 head of red cabbage, roughly cut
- 1 medium-size beetroot, sliced
- Handful of garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 T of sea salt
- 1 t. dill seeds or dill herb (fresh or dry)
Personal Choice of Additional veggies & herbs: carrots, bell pepper, fennel, parsnip, radish, shredded broccoli, etc.
- Combine all the vegetables and herbs and put them into the fermentation jar. The amount of vegetables should not go beyond the half-way mark on the jar.
- Fill the rest of the jar with filtered water and add salt.
- Float the small plate on top and submerge it with the small jar (filled with water to keep it down). This way the vegetables won’t float to the top and get moldy.
- Leave to ferment for 1-2 weeks at room temperature.
- You will know the medley is ready when the vegetables are soft and tangy.
- To stop the fermentation process, transfer the medley to smaller jars and keep them in the fridge; they keep well for weeks.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE NUTRIENT-POTENT FERMENTED FOODS RECIPE? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
Rawlings, Dierdre, Ph.D., N.D (2013).Fermented Foods for Health: Use the Power of Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Digestion, Strengthen Your Immunity, and Prevent Illness. Fair Winds Press.
Nevin Şanlier, Büşra Başar Gökcen & Aybüke Ceyhun Sezgin, “Health benefits of fermented foods.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. (2017) DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355
Chilton, Stephanie N., et. al. (2014). Inclusion of Fermented Foods in Food Guides Around the World. Nutrients7(1), 390-404. http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/7/1/390
Fermented Foods that Boost Digestive Health. http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/traditional-fermented-foods-examples/
Fermented Foods: How to ‘Culture’ Your Way to Good Health http://articles.mercola.com/fermented-foods.aspx
Schwenk, Donna. (2013) Cultured Food for Life: How to Make and Serve Delicious Probiotic Foods for Better Health and Wellness. Hay House, Inc.
Excellent fermentation site: http://phickle.com/
Recipe Source: Hormones & Balance https://hormonesbalance.com/recipes/fermented-vegetable-medley-thyroid-diet-food/