Fermented foods are eaten by many traditional cultures all over the world and before refrigerators, were a critical component of preserving food to last several months, even years. You’ve probably heard of Sauerkraut (Sour Cabbage) from Germany or maybe even Natto (soy beans) from Japan but there are many others spanning the globe such as Kimchi, Kefir and Kvass. In fact let it be said that you can ferment any naturally occurring food whether it be fruit, vegetable, meat or fish. What you may not realise is that homemade Sauerkraut* has more beneficial bacteria than many therapeutic-strength probiotics you buy.
We live in a symbiotic relationship with microbes in the environment. Today we are taught to fear bacteria, continually encouraged to use anti-bacterial wipes, soaps and bleaching to kill 99.9% of bacteria. The reality is that we are bacteria, in fact 90% of our bodies consist of bacteria, and we are only 10% skin and bones. For weight loss and the avoidance of associated metabolic dysfunctions studies show the requirement to harness the power of these friendly microbes that make up your cells and introduce them back into your guts. Your gut flora (community of microbes living within your gut) coats every surface of the gut providing a protective layer with bacteria.
The functions of the gut flora are:
- Digestion and absorption of food
- Synthesise minerals and vitamins in the body
- Provide protection for the delicate digestive tract
- Chelate (remove) toxins from the body
- Keep pathogenic microbes at bay
- Responsible for your immune system
If your body is the orchestra think of your gut flora as the conductor signalling every important function within the body and allowing it to play in perfect harmony.
Due to environmental toxins, antibiotics, food manufacturers heavily processing food and many other present-day factors, many will suffer with a subsequent gut imbalance. The very famous Physician, Hippocrates once said “All Diseases begin in the gut” and modern science is now able to determine that chronic metabolic diseases can be linked back to the digestive system.
Atopic conditions are more prevalent then ever and studies have shown probiotics are a critical component to healing
- 25% of people now suffer with hayfever
- 20% of children suffer from eczema
- 1 in 11 children has asthma
Many people are also suffering with food sensitivities, exemplified by bloating, upset stomach or IBS. These are some of the first signs you have a gut imbalance (although please be aware you may not have gut symptoms at all) and by omitting certain trigger foods and implementing a healing protocol of probiotics and / or fermented foods the studies are now showing the effectiveness of this treatment. 85% of your immune system is contained in your gut so the right sustenance is essential to re-balance your gut flora and heal your body. I’ve seen and experienced the power of these wonderful life-enhancing foods within my own family, healing my daughter’s eczema and my hayfever, which you can read about here.
You can of course purchase therapeutic-strength probiotics but please note you will not receive the health benefits from a live-cultured yoghurt available in a supermarket. Probiotic tablets can be expensive so my preferred method is to very simply produce lacto-fermented foods. Homemade fermented foods contain literally billions of beneficial bacteria, so much so that you have to be very careful to introduce these foods gradually, literally a half teaspoon of sauerkraut juice to start so as to minimise a die off reaction, a very normal bi-product of healing.
Fermented foods go beyond healing known health conditions, they can slow down skin-aging, help you lose weight, sleep better and improve your energy. Once you discover health and vitality through these foods they really will change your life.
If you would like to learn how to start fermenting food at home then please click here to view my next available workshops.
*This does not apply to shop bought sauerkraut which is mostly pasteurised before sale and therefore loses it’s probiotic content.