Fermented Foods and their Health Benefits

Life is a blessing and we should take great care of it. Being conscious of our health really is a worthy attribute to have. When selecting our diet, we should consider that we need a healthy diet for a healthier life. Wisely designed food charts, diet plans, and a healthier lifestyle is a wise person’s roadmap to a healthier life. The purpose is to improve with time and make positive changes to lifestyle and diet.

Being in bad shape makes me lose confidence and I start to go out less and try to hide my belly fat. But, then like every health conscious person, I cut out bad eating habits and adopt healthy ones, because fitness is about being better than how we used to be. We wish to have healthy glowing skin, less body weight, more relaxed mind and healthy vital body organs, and it can be achieved by developing healthy diet habits and adding healthy foods to our diet plan. It is highly recommended that you should rethink your diet plan and add healthy foods to it and make positive changes to your lifestyle. Along with organic foods, fermented foods are the ones that can contribute many benefits to human health, and are added to the diet plans around the world.

Fermented Food and its Health Benefits

Fermentation is an anaerobic process (without oxygen) carried out by microorganisms in cells. These microorganisms convert sugars into alcohol and produce energy. Bacteria and yeast are used in the fermentation of foods. Bacteria do it through lactic acid fermentation while yeast carries out ethanol fermentation. The unique flavors and textures of fermented foods are due to the different species of bacteria and yeast used in their production.

 

Humans have used fermented foods for thousands of years throughout the world, and many dishes are unique to specific ethnic groups. Not only does the fermentation of foods add flavor and texture, but fermentation can also improve its shelf-life and may have been initially used to preserve fruits and vegetables during times of scarcity. The fermentation of food can occur spontaneously by the natural LAB surface microflora[1] or by the use of a starter culture. Understanding the importance of the human gut microbiota[2] and microbiome to health and disease has expanded rapidly with the advances in DNA sequencing technology. Diet is one of the main influences on the human gut microbiota. Fermented foods are rich in microorganisms and are probiotic. These foods have microorganisms which enrich the microorganism cultures present in our body. Hence, when it reaches the human gut, it confers a healthy effect on the host microorganisms.

Here are some of the fermented food products from around the world:

  1. Kefir
  2. Kombucha
  3. Sauerkraut
  4. Yogurt
  5. Pickles
  6. Miso
  7. Tempeh
  8. Natto
  9. Kimchi
  10. Raw Cheese

Kefir and its Health Benefits

Kefir is a cultured (fermented) milk drink. It is a complex symbiosis of more than 30 micro flora that form grains or cauliflower-like structures in the milk. In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, it is rich in amino acids, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes. Particularly, it is rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B2 and B12, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin D. Kefir has been recommended for the treatment of several clinical conditions such as gastrointestinal problems, hypertension, allergies, and ischemic heart disease (Farnworth and Mainville, 2008Rattray and O’Connel, 2011). The health benefits of Kefir are:

The health benefits of Kefir are:

  1. Antioxidant and therapeutic properties
  2. Vegetarian Protein Source
  3. Rich in Probiotics
  4. Enhances Brain Functioning
  5. Improves Digestion and Intestinal Health
  6. Regulation of Bowel Movements
  7. Cures Respiratory Problems
  8. An Excellent Stress Buster
  9. Prevents Aging
  10. Anticancer Properties
  11. Beneficial for Diabetic Patients
  12. Rich in Vitamins
  13. Reduces Blood Cholesterol

Yogurt and its Health Benefits

Eating dairy products, such as yogurt, helps to improve the overall quality of the diet and increases the chances of achieving nutritional recommendations. One of the nutrients that yogurt and other dairy products supplies in abundance is calcium, which is vital for the development and maintenance of bone health. Professor Elie Metchnikoff, Director of the Pasteur Institute, was one of the first to propose that yogurt had beneficial health effects because of the bacteria it contained.

Studies show that yogurt is helpful in:

  1. Prevention of Irritable Bowel Disease
  2. Prevention of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  3. Prevention of Diarrhea
  4. Helpful in Weight loss
  5. Prevents Colon Cancer
  6. Enhances Body’s Immune System
  7. Beneficial in Musculoskeletal Health
  8. Source of Proteins, Calcium, and Riboflavin
  9. Immunologic effects

Kombucha and its Health Benefits

Kombucha is a sweet-sour, fermented, acidic, slightly carbonated beverage, which has been described as either a wine that tastes like a delicious tea or an unusual tea that tastes like a rare wine.

Kombucha tea is believed to be a fountain of youth elixir in China for thousands of years. The history and lore surrounding Kombucha imply an element of magic. Used in China for centuries during sacred rites of atonement, received, passed down, and transported all over the world, there is a ritual and tradition in the telling and the making of Kombucha tea that imbue it with an alchemy of mystery and power. The mystical aspect of Kombucha tends to attract and convert many people in search of perfect health and longevity.

Reported effects of kombucha from tea drinkers’ testimony and Russian researchers (Dufresne and Farnworth 2000):

  1. Detoxify the blood
  2. Reduce cholesterol level
  3. Reduce atherosclerosis by regeneration of cell walls
  4. Reduce blood pressure
  5. Reduce inflammatory problems
  6. Alleviate Arthritis, rheumatism, and gout symptoms Promote liver functions
  7. Normalize intestinal activity
  8. Balance intestinal flora
  9. Cure hemorrhoids
  10. Reduce obesity
  11. Regulates appetite
  12. Prevent/heal bladder infection and reduce kidney calcification
  13. Stimulate glandular systems
  14. Protect against diabetes
  15. Increase body resistance to cancer
  16. Antibiotic effects against bacteria
  17. Enhance the immune system
  18. Relieve bronchitis and asthma
  19. Reduce menstrual disorders and menopausal hot flashes
  20. Improve hair, skin, and nail health
  21. Reduce an alcoholic’s craving for alcohol
  22. Reduce stress and nervous disturbances and insomnia
  23. Relieve headaches
  24. Improve Eyesight
  25. Counteract Aging
  26. Enhance General Metabolism
  27. Increase energy

Health Benefits of Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is one of the most common and oldest forms of preserving cabbage and can be traced back as a food source to the 4th century BC. It contains a large quantity of lactic acid and tyramines, as well as vitamins and minerals, and has few calories. In The Gluten Summit, 2013, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, told Dr. Tom O’Bryan, “With every mouthful of sauerkraut you’re consuming billions of beneficial microbes which will be killing the pathogens in your gut driving them out and replenishing the beneficial flora in your digestive tract.” Following are the prominent health benefits of sauerkraut:

  1. Anti Cancer
  2. Rich in Antioxidants
  3. Probiotic Properties
  4. Anti Aging, Skin and Hair Health Promotion due to Antioxidants

Kimchi and its Health Benefits

Kimchi is a nutritious vegetable Probiotic food. It is a traditional Korean food manufactured by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Many bacteria are involved in the fermentation of kimchi, but LAB becomes dominant while the putrefactive bacteria are suppressed during salting of baechu cabbage and the fermentation. Some of the proved beneficial impacts of kimchi on Human health are:

  1. Anticancer
  2. Obesity Control
  3. Anti-constipation
  4. Colorectal Health Promotion
  5. Probiotic Properties
  6. Cholesterol Reduction
  7. Fibrinolytic Effect
  8. Antioxidative and Anti-aging Properties
  9. Brain and Skin Health Promotion
  10. Immune Promotion
  11. Skin Health Promotion

Roundup

Production of fermented foods has been practiced since ancient times as it not only increases the storage time of food, but also enhances its nutritional value.

Being rich in antioxidants, proteins, probiotics and other healthy constituents, fermented foods are believed to have beneficial value for human health. The outstanding health benefits are:

  • Anti-aging properties
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Prevention of respiratory diseases
  • Promotion of skin, heart, hair, stomach and brain health
  • Relief from stress
  • Regulation of bowel movements
  • Prevention of obesity and blood cholesterol

If I were you, after getting to know this much about fermented foods, I would have added fermented foods sooner, rather than later to my diet plan, and be on a journey towards a healthier life and a better tomorrow.

References

  1. McKinley, M. C. (2005). The Nutrition and Health Benefits of Yogurt.International Journal of Dairy Technology, 58. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0307.2005.00180.x
  2. Kotade, K., Dolas, R., Dhamak, K., Somwanshi, S., Nikam, V., Khadse, A., & Kashid, V. (2015, December 16). THE MAGIC OF KEFIR: A REVIEW. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265975713_THE_MAGIC_OF_KEFIR_A_REVIEW
  3. Leite, A. M., Miguel, M. A., Peixoto, R. S., Rosado, A. S., Silva, J. T., & Paschoalin, V. M. (2013). Microbiological, technological and therapeutic properties of kefir: a natural probiotic beverage.Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, 44(2), 341-349. doi:10.1590/s1517-83822013000200001
  4. El-Abbadi, N. H., Dao, M. C., & Meydani, S. N. (2014). Yogurt: role in healthy and active aging.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 99(5). doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.073957
  5. Jayabalan, R., Malbaša, R. V., Lončar, E. S., Vitas, J. S., & Sathishkumar, M. (2014). A Review on Kombucha Tea-Microbiology, Composition, Fermentation, Beneficial Effects, Toxicity, and Tea Fungus.Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 13(4), 538-550. doi:10.1111/1541-4337.12073
  6. Kombucha Tea | American Nutrition Association. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2017, from http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/kombucha-tea
  7. Park, K., Jeong, J., Lee, Y., & Daily, J. W. (2014). Health Benefits of Kimchi (Korean Fermented Vegetables) as a Probiotic Food.Journal of Medicinal Food, 17(1), 6-20. doi:10.1089/jmf.2013.3083
  8. Raak, C., Ostermann, T., Boehm, K., & Molsberger, F. (2014). Regular Consumption of Sauerkraut and Its Effect on Human Health: A Bibliometric Analysis.Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 3(6), 12-18. doi:10.7453/gahmj.2014.038

 

 

 

 

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