When it comes to choosing what foods we want to eat, we often need to consider the aftermath of this choice. For instance, if taking a trip to Taco Bell, we can anticipate that we’ll have the runs shortly thereafter. Likewise, other foods may leave us feeling groggy and tired. With fermented foods, however, there’s no need to worry about any such thing. You can be certain that you’ll be left feeling more energetic and be in a better mood than before.
Fermented Foods: Why We Love Them
Fermented foods encourage the growth of good bacteria, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. This good bacteria works to break down lactose, sugars and starches in food allowing our bodies to digest these foods easier. Additionally, they help to ward off bad bacteria like E. coli and C. difficile. This makes foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi extremely gut-friendly.
Other types of fermented foods include:
- Raw pickles
Putting the ‘Pro’ in Probiotics
Another word for good bacteria is probiotic. Probiotics help transport food through your gut, preventing digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and diarrhea. We all have hundreds of different types of bacteria that live in our digestive tracts, which help us to break down food and absorb nutrients. However, sometimes the good bacteria in our intestines can get destroyed such as through the ingestion of antibiotics. Thus, we need other sources of good bacteria to make up for the loss. This is where probiotics come into play.
In addition to treating digestive issues, probiotics have also been found to help with certain skin conditions (e.g. eczema), oral health, vaginal health and the prevention of allergies.
What’s more, consuming probiotic-rich foods can help a person maintain a healthy immune system and aid with weight loss.
Start adding probiotics to your diet today with this super easy sauerkraut recipe.
Serves: Makes about 1 gallon
Prep Time: 20 minutes active prep
Total Time: 4 weeks
- 5 pounds shredded cabbage
- 2 tablespoons sea salt or pickling salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- In a large bowl, mix cabbage with salt and caraway seeds. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Pack cabbage mixture into a large glass food container. Top with a quartered onion to fit inside the container, weighing it down. Cover container with a paper towel and secure with a rubber band.
- Place in a cool spot overnight. Check to make sure the sauerkraut is completely submerged in liquid. Check cabbage every other day for 2 weeks, skimming off of any scum that may form on the surface.
4. Let stand for at least 4 weeks total. Then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.