Why Fermented Foods Are Good For You

January 3, 2016

Fermented Food Benefits

Having experienced a bloated abdomen and bad digestion for most of my teenage and adult life, I have tried almost everything. Although eating whole foods, drinking more water, eliminating sugar and dairy has helped a lot, I thought I’d try fermented foods.

pickled gherkins in a jarFermented foods, traditionally known as probiotic foods, are foods that have been through a process of lacto-fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating lactic acid.

This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Fermentation can neutralize anti-nutrients (a substance that binds to vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to make them unavailable to the body) found in many foods, such as phytic acid found in all grains and trypsin-inhibitors in soy.

Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form. This, along with the production of probiotics created during the fermentation process, creates a balance between the beneficial and disease-causing bacteria naturally found in the gut leading to a more functional digestive system.

Some fermented foods create antioxidants that fight free radicals, a precursor to cancer.

Making your own fermented foods is a good option as over processing food can kill healthy bacteria in commercial fermented foods.

I have always loved pickles but never had homemade ones. Most commercial ones contain sugar and other non-natural ingredients. So I made my own! A recipe I learned while studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. They turned out great so I’m sharing the recipe with you!

Let me know how it turns out :-).

Pickled cucumbers

Prep time: 15min

Fermenting time: 3-7 days

Yield: 5-8 servings

Ingredients

5-8 small pickling cucumbers or 4-6 regular cucumbers

1 litre filtered or spring water

2 tbsp sea salt

1-2 cloves garlic

1-2 tsp dill seed

¼ cup fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill leaf

Optional Spices

Coriander, Cumin, Red pepper flakes, Mustard seeds, Cinnamon

Directions

Soak cucumbers in ice water for an hour to enliven them.

Place leaves, spices and garlic at the bottom of the jar.

Add cucumbers into the jar packing them tightly.

Dissolve the sea salt in water and pour over the cucumbers. If the cucumbers and spicescucumbers are not completely submerged in the water, add extra salt and water to cover them.

Leave 1 inch of space between the top of the water and the top of the jar and cover loosely with a kitchen towel or cheese cloth (if using cheese cloth, secure with a rubber band).

Leave on the counter in a cool place for 3-7 days. Check them daily. The liquid will begin to get cloudy and slightly bubbly. When pickles reach desired taste, cover and refrigerate.

You’ll need a litre jar, kitchen towel, or cheesecloth (if using cheesecloth, you’ll also need a rubber band to secure it).

 

 

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