8 Essential Fermented Foods for Your Overall Health



Fermented foods are a type of natural probiotic, because they contain so many live bacteria along with many other crucial nutrients. Every culture in the world has its own fermented foods, which is a strong indication of how crucial they are to our health.

The consumption of fermented, probiotic foods has many benefits. The microflora that lives in fermented foods creates a protective lining in the intestines and shields it against pathogenic factors, such as salmonella and E.coli -- keeps your digestion healthy.

You can find fermented foods in many forms: pastes, seasonings, condiments, curries, stews, pickles, and even candy. They can be fried or boiled or sometimes candied, and they can be eaten in main dishes, side dishes, salads, or desserts. Fermented drinks also take many forms. They can be alcoholic, such as beer and wine, or nonalcoholic, such as certain teas, vinegar-based drinks, or buttermilk.

Sadly, over the past century many probiotic foods have fallen from favor due to changes in the way we now preserve foods, particularly vegetables. Fortunately, as health consciousness grows, interest in fermented foods has grown as well.

The following foods are healthy fermented foods you can include in your diet for your overall health:

Sauerkraut
A version of fermented cabbage eaten throughout Eastern Europe, Russia, Austria, and Germany. It’s simply a combo of cabbage and salt. You reap the probiotic benefits while getting the antioxidants and fiber of the cabbage. It boosts digestive health, aids circulation, fights inflammation, strengthens bones and reduces cholesterol levels.

Kimchee
A Korean version of fermented cabbage, carrots, onions, and garlic. It’s known to improve cardiovascular and digestive health. It has high levels of antioxidants that reduce the risk of serious health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and gastric ulcers.

Kefir
A fermented milk drink (cow, goat or sheep milk) from the north Caucasus. It tastes like a drinkable yogurt. Kefir benefits include high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics. It boosts immunity, heals irritable bowel disease, builds bone density, fights allergies, kills candida and improves digestion.

Yogurt
Another type of fermented milk product eaten throughout central and west Asia, India, central Europe, and the Balkans. Yogurt intake is directly associated with better overall diet quality, healthier metabolic profiles, healthier blood pressure and increased triglyceride levels.

Kombucha
A fermented beverage of black tea and sugar (from various sources like cane sugar, fruit or honey). After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic). It improves digestion, helps with weight loss, increases energy, detoxes the body, supports the immune system, reduces joint pain and prevents cancer.

Tempeh
Tempeh is made from naturally fermented soybeans. With a slightly nutty flavor, it’s a good source of probiotics. It contains high levels of vitamins B5, B6, B3 and B2. Tempeh reduces cholesterol, increases bone density, reduces menopausal symptoms, promotes muscle recovery and has the same protein quality as meat.

Pickles
This crunchy addition to any sandwich is made from vinegar, salt and cucumbers -- and often creative seasonings. Pickles contain a ton and vitamins and minerals, plus antioxidants and gut-friendly bacteria. Pickles alone can help address vitamin K deficiency, an essential fat-soluble vitamin which plays an important role in bone and heart health.

Miso
A fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans. Miso has anti-aging properties and helps to maintain healthy skin. It also boosts the immune system, lowers the risk cancer, improves bone health and promotes a healthy nervous system.

photo: fermented-foods.com

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