Why you need to eat fermented foods

Written by Jordan

February 16, 2016

If you’ve been following Changing Habits for a while you’ll already know that we love fermented foods. There is a really good reason for this. Did you know that we are more microbial than human?

There are 10x more microbes in our bodies than there are human cells and the most important factor that determines our gut health (and thus our overall health) is our gut microbiome (AKA gut flora). Our gut microbiome promotes a normal gastrointestinal function, regulates our metabolism, nutrient absorption, houses 80% of our immune system, 70% of dopamine (adrenaline) and 90% of serotonin are produced in our guts. Pretty amazing isn’t it, and that’s only just touching the surface!

However, there are many aspects of our modern life and industrialised world that are harming our gut health. These include; herbicides, pesticides, preservatives in our food supply and antibiotics that have been regularly prescribed, stress, fluoridated water, processed and refined foods, environmental toxins and much more. Good bacteria within our gut flora are absolutely essential for optimal health.

If our gut flora is compromised, undigested proteins, harmful bacteria and other toxins pass through into our bloodstream. The body revs up our immune system to create antibodies against these proteins which are seen as foreign invaders and unfortunately this can lead to a number of cascading health problems.

How to keep your gut microbiome happy

So if you’ve been exposed to some of these factors, there are steps you can take to begin restoring your gut flora.

To avoid further damage, firstly we need to heal the gut with nutrition. The best way to start is to remove all food toxins in your diet and go back to old traditions such as; making chicken soups, slow cooked meals, broths, stews and stocks. They’re great gut healers and so incredibly nutritious for our bodies.

The second step is to begin re-plenishing the beneficial gut flora with naturally fermented foods as they are one of the most potent and effective sources of probiotics.

What exactly are fermented foods?


 

Purposeful fermentation or culturing (think yoghurt, crème fraiche, pickles, kim-chi and sauerkraut) involves food being exposed to bacteria and/or yeast which eat up all the carbohydrates (sugars) in the food after being left at room temperature for a period of time to allow the beneficial flora to reproduce.

Fermenting foods changes the texture and flavour of food and gives it an effervescent or tangy taste. This culturing process breaks down certain elements in the food that can be difficult to digest and increases the bio-availability of vitamins and minerals and also aids digestion. This is why it’s a great idea to eat some form of fermented food with every meal.

Other health benefits of fermented foods include:

  • Rich in probiotics, vitamins and minerals
  • Activates beneficial enzymes which improves digestion and digestibility
  • Helps to restore and balance gut flora and health
  • Increases Vitamin A & C levels
  • Increased energy from Vitamin B12 production
  • Helps to destroy candida
  • Helps remove toxins from the body
  • Has cancer fighting properties
  • Eliminates anti-nutrients
  • Supports immunity
  • Budget friendly.

Happy changing habits.

Jordan Pie,
Changing Habits Nutritionist

February 2016

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7 Comments

  1. Dana Bradshaw

    Hi Jordan,
    How does Kefir stack up as a fermented food to include in the diet? I have been using it four about a fortnight now and have found my bowel issues are slightly better, however I use it with milk and am wondering if I should be using coconut milk? Or any other milk suggestions that won’t kill the kefir?
    Thank you
    Dana

    Reply
    • Jordan Pie

      Hi Dana, I recommend Kultured Wellness Coconut Yoghurt & Coconut Water Kefir to all of my clients, these are fantastic in helping to rebuild and replenish all the good bacteria in the gut.

      Reply
  2. Melody

    How do I book a consultation with you for my son?

    Reply
    • Jordan Pie

      Hi Melody,
      We would love to help support your sons gut health. You can call our office and speak to our receptionist Tessa and she can book you in for a consultation at a time that suits you.
      Kindest regards, Jordan

      Reply
  3. Joy

    Great reminder for me to get a bit of variety into my cultures. Thanks.

    Reply
  4. Lou

    Are pickled onions considered fermented food? I’m not talking about the fish n chip shop variety here. A friend gave me a big homemade jar of them! Also is goats yoghurt good for the gut flora? I’ve eliminated dairy but can tolerate goats yoghurt. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jordan Pie

      Hi Lou, I think pickles are more a vinegar base rather than probiotic culture. Yes you can certainly try goat or sheeps yoghurt, they’re much gentler on the stomach than a lot of the dairy yoghurts out there 🙂

      Reply

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