The power of sour: Regular intake of fermented foods can bring immense benefits to your gut health and more | The Financial Express

The power of sour: Regular intake of fermented foods can bring immense benefits to your gut health and more

Probiotics are associated with a variety of health benefits, including improved digestion, better immunity, and even increased weight loss.

The power of sour: Regular intake of fermented foods can bring immense benefits to your gut health and more
In fact, cheese, wines and beers use specific microorganisms to create controlled conditions like cool temperature or low levels of oxygen to support the organism.

Kefir, kombucha, cheddar cheese, sourdough bread or kimchi— as much as they may sound exotic, these food items are also known to add punch to your everyday meals and bring immense benefits to your overall health. When added to your diet, fermented food can reduce the risk of heart diseases and aid in digestion, immunity, and weight loss.

Traditionally, fermentation is an ancient process, used thousands of years ago, to preserve food for days. For instance, preservation of milk from camels in hotter places like Africa used climate to naturally ferment and convert milk into yogurt.

In fact, cheese, wines and beers use specific microorganisms to create controlled conditions like cool temperature or low levels of oxygen to support the organism.

The process of fermentation is an anaerobic process in which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down food components (like sugars such as glucose) into other products (like organic acids, gases or alcohol). So the process of microbial conversion of starch and sugars into consumable foods not only makes the food nutritious and healthy, the preservation technique also makes it appetising and delicious with aroma, texture and appearance.

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Fermented foods boost beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, in the gut. Probiotics are associated with a variety of health benefits, including improved digestion, better immunity, and even increased weight loss.

Avantika Majumdar, dietician, Accord Super Speciality Hospital, Faridabad, says, “Fermented foods became an important part of the diet in many cultures, and over time fermentation has been associated with many health benefits. Foods like yoghurt, sourdough bread and apple cider vinegar are the best examples. These types of food or drinks help break down complex carbohydrates that you eat. This fermenting and metabolising process results in other substances that are beneficial to your body too. They can help restore your gut health.”

Fermented foods add depth to your diet and give a dose of healthful probiotics—live microorganisms crucial to good digestion. Experts feel that fermented foods aren’t a trend but they have become increasingly popular with exposure to other cultures via social media.

Simrun Chopra, a deep health coach based in Bengaluru, says, “Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and miso have been an integral part of Asian cultures. Closer home, north Indians drink kaanji (a fermented vegetable mix) in winters. Rice that is fermented overnight in water, also called kanji, is another one from the south. Fermentation and pickling are words that are used interchangeably; however, they are very different as fermentation has live bacteria. These help us develop healthy gut microbiomes.”

Dose of nutrition

  • Kombucha is fermented tea that is an excellent alternative to soda
  • Pickles can be refrigerated and made using brine, dill, mustard and coriander seeds, and peppercorns
  • Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented side dish, commonly made from a base of napa cabbage, radish, scallions and spices
  • Yoghurt is made from fermenting milk (or a non-dairy alternative)
  • Kefir is a dairy drink made using kefir grains (a combination of bacteria and yeast)
  • Tempeh is a 100% vegetarian, versatile and clean protein ingredient

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First published on: 20-11-2022 at 00:45 IST