Nutrition

Fermented Foods: Building Better Gut Health

Fermented Foods

Last month we discussed probiotics role in gut health now we’ll expand this discussion a step farther with fermented foods. Because both use bacteria to create positive health results they are often confused for being the same thing.

The important distinction between the two is that live organisms are not found in all fermented foods like they are in probiotics. Bread is a great example of a fermented food because it is heat-treated and thus does not have probiotic activity as a result.

To put it simply, fermented food is broken down by yeast and bacteria.

Positive Preservation

Fermented foods are preserved in a way that not only helps extend the food’s shelf life but also helps boost their nutritional value. To purchase fermented foods keep an eye on the packaging. The majority of the time the words “naturally fermented” will appear on the packaging.

This is particularly the case for pickles which often are jarred in vinegar which is not the natural fermentation process.

Boosting Your Immune Functions

The gut plays a key role in your immune system. Fermented foods and those rich in probiotics support the natural barrier of your gut lining and in turn, helps your immune system be more robust.

What Fermented Foods Can I Try?

Many fermented foods have a distinct zest and tartness in their taste. As mentioned previously with the pickles scenario, while some food brands may be fermented, others may not. Keep a close eye on the packaging, but these are some of the common types of foods that you may find:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Cheese
  • Pickles
  • Yogurt
  • Sourdough bread
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Olives

Obviously some of these food categories are quite broad, and while most cheeses are fermented, not all of them contain the probiotics you are seeking. Maybe you have some of these foods in your house right now. Take a look to see if the brands you’re buying are made with fermentation!