Today, the fame and popularity of fermented foods and beverages around the world is growing dramatically. Fermented products can be found on the shelves and refrigerators of many stores. These include pickles, pickles, buttermilk and yogurt, and kefir drinks. Fermented products help our health by creating processes in the body. In the following, you will learn about fermented foods and their benefits for the body, as well as how to prepare them.
What are fermented foods?
For centuries, fermented products have been part of the human diet. Initially, these products were used as a way to increase the shelf life of food, improve the taste and eliminate some toxins. Today, more and more people are consuming these foods because of their potential health benefits.
Fermented products are foods and beverages that undergo controlled microbial growth and fermentation. This can cause food changes. Fermentation is an anaerobic process in which microorganisms (such as yeasts and bacteria) convert food components (for example, glucose in sugars) into other compounds (such as organic acids, gas, and alcohol). This gives the fermented foods a unique flavor, aroma, texture and appearance.
The fermentation process is possible on many food products such as vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds. These foods naturally have good nutritional content. However, during fermentation, their health benefits may increase; Especially if they contain probiotics and prebiotics.
Association of probiotics with fermented foods
Probiotics are living microorganisms or bacteria that are present in the human digestive tract. Probiotics have many health benefits. Many fermented foods contain probiotics. These probiotics may be added to foods or present naturally in them; For example, lactobacilli are one of the probiotic strains commonly found in yogurt. Also, probiotics are naturally present on the surface of many foods such as vegetables and fruits.
Not all fermented foods contain probiotics; Especially those that are commercially produced and pasteurized. Pasteurization, in addition to eliminating harmful and pathogenic factors, also kills some beneficial bacteria for the body.
Association of prebiotics with fermented foods
Prebiotics are substances that nourish and grow beneficial microorganisms in the body. As a result, these microorganisms have a positive effect on human health. Many fruits, vegetables, and legumes, such as garlic, onions, tomatoes, and many, contain a variety of prebiotics.
Why should we eat fermented foods?
New research shows that bacteria in the human digestive tract are changing. Microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract do not regenerate as they used to. Modern diets, the consumption of processed foods, changing health patterns, and the widespread use of antibiotics may be the causes. Antibiotics can kill beneficial microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract along with harmful microorganisms.
Changing the population of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract causes an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and creates health problems. When the gastrointestinal tract contains an unhealthy combination of microorganisms, it may weaken the intestinal wall and leak its contents into the bloodstream. This complication Leaky gut syndrome is named. Significant entry of these products into the bloodstream may cause many health problems. These problems include asthma, eczema, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.
Fermented foods help rebalance gastrointestinal microorganisms. They also strengthen the intestinal wall and prevent problems.
What are the benefits of fermented foods?
In the past, fermented foods have been popular for their unique storage, unique flavors, textures, and appearances due to their increased shelf life. They also make some non-edible foods edible; For example, fermentation removes the very bitter taste of olives and makes them edible.
Many health experts believe that eating fermented foods reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and inflammation. These foods also help with better weight control, better mood, brain activity, bone health and faster recovery after exercise. Probiotics also help lower bad cholesterol and total cholesterol. These are two factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there is little evidence to prove this.
Fermented foods contribute to the health of the blood, the functioning of the nervous system, the strengthening of the immune system, and the overall health of the body by producing bioactive peptides, vitamins, and other compounds produced by microorganisms that are effective in fermentation. The health benefits of fermented foods depend on the type of fermented food and the microorganisms involved; For example, consuming yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while consuming fermented milk containing Lactobacillus holoticus can reduce muscle soreness.
Although fermented foods are very nutritious, there is no indication that these foods alone can improve our heart health. For heart health, fermented foods should be accompanied by vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
How to make fermented foods?
The process of fermenting and making these foods may seem like a daunting task; But fermentation is a very simple and cheap process. Fermentation requires only simple ingredients, and by doing it at home, you can save a lot of money and money. You can also add new flavors and flavors to your diet.
Vegetables such as cabbage, horseradish, beets, turnips and carrots are the simplest food products that you can ferment; Because the living bacteria on the surface of these vegetables ferment under their proper conditions. By consuming fermented vegetables, you can mark with a double arrow. You can increase both the consumption of vegetables at home and the consumption of fermented foods.
Keep in mind that not all fermented products are useful. Most of the benefits of fermented products belong to the category that contains probiotics; For example, a commercial pickle jar may be fermented with vinegar and not contain natural fermentation and the presence of living microorganisms.
When buying, be sure to choose fermented products that have a natural fermentation option on their label. Also, there may be bubbles in the liquid part of the product when you open it. The presence of these bubbles indicates that there are live microorganisms in your product.
Some fermented foods around the world
In many parts of the world, traditional fermented foods have long been consumed. Some of these foods are:
- Kwas Which is a beverage made from the fermentation of rye bread;
- Sauerkraut Which is prepared by fermenting chopped cabbage;
- Kambucha tea Which is made by fermenting black or green tea;
- More doughy bread Whose dough is prepared by yeast fermentation;
- Miso Or soybean paste made from fermented cereals;
- Tempe Which is made from controlled soybean fermentation;
- Beverages Kefir Which is prepared by fermenting milk;
- Kimchi Which is prepared from the fermentation of vegetables.
In recent years, many factors have affected and reduced the number of beneficial microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. Consumption of probiotic fermented foods can largely compensate for this deficiency. Making fermented products at home is easy and easily possible. By providing these products at home, you can save money as well as improve your health.
When buying ready-made fermentation products, be sure to choose products that have natural fermentation on the label. Also, the presence of bubbles in the liquid part of the fermented products is a sign of the presence of beneficial microorganisms in it.