If you’ve not heard all of the latest news and trends on gut health, where have you been for the last 2 years? Gut health has been all the rage because scientists are slowly beginning to discover more about our gut and how it plays a massive role in various aspects of our health.
One area that is being looked into more is foods that can have both a positive and negative impact on our gut. It is coming to light that high sugar and fried foods aren’t great for gut health. Whereas, one type of food that may have a positive impact on our gut health is fermented foods.
What are fermented foods?
It’s about to get a little bit sciency, so buckle up. Fermentation is the process of converting carbohydrates to alcohol or acids using microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria. It sounds pretty yucky, and it is, but there are a lot of common foods that use this process.
Fermented foods last much longer because alcohol acts as a preservative. This also means that foods that have been fermented often have a sharp taste that can be like marmite (you love it or you hate it). Some common fermented foods include:
- Probiotic yoghurt
What are the benefits of fermented foods?
So, you may not be convinced by that list of peculiar sounding foods, but trust me you will be when you hear the benefits. Eating fermented foods may take some getting used to, but frequently eating them can really improve your gut health.
Your gut is made up of all different kinds of bacteria, both good and bad. Some foods increase the good ones, and others such as high sugar and fatty foods increase the bad. When foods are fermented, the probiotics produced can restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut. This is especially important if you suffer from any gut-related problems such as IBS.
In a 6 week study, participants ate 125g of yoghurt-like fermented milk and found that it improved their symptoms of IBS by reducing bloating and increasing stool frequency.
Check out this Vegetarian Spinach and Black Lentil soup recipe
More important now than ever, fermented foods can also have a positive effect on your immune system and in digestion. Your gut is pretty much linked to everything else in the body, therefore, if your gut is doing well, chances are so are the other systems. The high probiotic content in fermented foods can boost the immune system and helps you to recover quicker. On top of this, often fermented foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, so you know they’re doing good.
Adding fermented foods to your meals
Now, I’m not suggesting you add fermented foods to every single meal, but a little bit here and there is definitely a great place to start. If like me, you’ve got a bit of a plain palette, stick to the simpler foods such as cheese and yoghurt, try to avoid over processed supermarket brands and choose to purchase them from your local farm shop or grocers.
Then, when you want to start opening up, why not try some of these meals at a restaurant? That way you’ll get an idea of how they should taste and the best flavours to compliment them. How often have you tried to make something at home, and it tasted x10 better in a restaurant? Exactly, so try the best first before you dismiss it because maybe you haven’t cooked it properly or chosen the best flavours.
Get ready to give your gut a big friendly hug.
Originally published January 7, 2021