Fermentation is an ancient technique that is used in various food preparations such as wine, yogurt, cheese, kombucha, and sauerkraut. Here is a detail on what exactly is food fermentation.
Fermentation is a process in which micro-organisms are used to convert carbs in to alcohol and acids. The alcohol or acids produced during the process of fermentation act as a natural preservative and food flavoring agent. Fermentation of food also leads to the growth of probiotics, which are healthy bacteria as they improve our immunity, benefit heart health, and assist in digestion.
There are various health benefits associated with the fermentation of food.
Improves digestion. The probiotics that are produced during the fermentation process helps to restore micro flora of the gut and alleviate digestive problems. Probiotics also reduce the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and gas.
Boosts immunity. Probiotics produced during food fermentation boost immunity and lower the risk of infection such as common cold. Fermented food is also rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin C, which contributes to stronger immunity.
Breaks down the food faster. Fermentation helps to digest the food easily by breaking down its nutrients. During the process of fermentation, natural sugar lactose is broken down to simple sugars glucose and galactose, which makes lactose intolerant population to comfortably consume fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir. Fermentation also breaks down anti-nutrients such as phytates and lectins, which interfere with the absorption of nutrients and are present in nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains.
Improves brain health. A few studies have found an association between some probiotic strains and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Weight loss. A few studies have also found an association between some probiotic strains in decreasing the belly fat and encouraging weight loss.
For heart health. Probiotics may also reduce blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels, all of which may lower the risk of heart problems.
Some people have also experienced side effects after consuming fermented foods such as bloating and gas. This problem may worsen after consuming fiber rich foods that are produced after fermentation such as sauerkraut and kimchi.