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Why ferment foods

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Some discussion has been made of why it's important to add fermented foods into your diet. I thought it would be a good discussion to have now.

 

First of all, as mentioned elsewhere, it adds valuable probiotics to the food, which heals your digestive system and helps you to absorb nutrients easier. There is a gut-brain connection. Literally, healing your gut can heal your whole system, including making you more mentally aware. In fact, I have often wondered what fermented foods will do for a person with MS. I have not seen any research, but it's one of those "won't hurt and may help" things that would be interesting for someone to try.

 

Second, it makes the vitamins more biologically available. It actually increases vitamin B and C in certain foods as well as protein (amino acid) content. (For instance, sauerkraut has more vitamin C if it's fermented) It may do more vitamins, but I'm unaware of them, so I won't make any claims. Humans have evolved eating fermented foods, and it's one of those things that many long lived people claim as their elixir of life.

 

It is a preservation method.For many generations, root cellars contained sauerkraut and pickles, when cream and milk soured, it was still consumed, etc.

 

Helps build a healthier immune system.

 

Helps decrease or eliminate anti nutrients that otherwise work against your nutrition.

 

It can help when you are ill. When I get flu like symptoms, I take a swig of kefir every hour until the symptoms go away, typically in a few hours. My coworkers will be sick with the same virus for days, so I look at this as evidence that it works.

 

I have friends with children with autism, and while I won't make medical claims here, I can tell you that they say that their children are better or healed using the Natasha Campbell-McBride protocol, which includes a lot of fermented foods.

 

It's a helpful process for those who are diabetic. Conversion of the sugars does not disturb most of the nutrients, but it does take away the sugar.

 

It is still a living food, containing enzymes, which are thought to be gentle to the body and easier to digest. (Which makes sense to me, but I have not personally found science to back this up)

 

They help your body better assimilate nutrients from other foods you eat with or around them. (potential for weight loss if you are one of those people that over eats because something is lacking in your diet)

 

There may be more, but it's late and I'm tired. Feel free to jump in, all of you. Let's get some more people on the old tradition of eating traditional ways with nutrient dense foods.

 

 

From Wikipedia:

* enrichment of the diet through development of a diversity of flavors, aromas, and textures in food substrates.

* preservation of substantial amounts of food through lactic acid, alcohol, acetic acid and alkaline fermentations.

* biological enrichment of food substrates with protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins.

* detoxification during food-fermentation processing.

* a decrease in cooking times and fuel requirements.

 

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http://nourishedkitchen.com/fermented-food...d-fermentation/

 

Fermented Food: Benefits of Lactic Acid Fermentation

2 March 2009 1,447 views 15 Comments

 

Fermented food, enjoyed across the globe, conveys health benefits through lactic acid fermentation. The fermentation process can transform the flavor of food from the plain and mundane to a mouth-puckering sourness enlivened by colonies of beneficial bacteria and enhanced micronutrients. While fermented food like yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir are well-known many other lesser-known foods also benefit from the lactic acid fermentation process. Indeed, virtually every food with a complex or simple sugar content can be successfully fermented.

 

Born of both necessity and practicality, lactic acid fermentation proved to be not only an efficient method of preserving food for our ancestors, but also a critical one. Indeed, fermented food like sauerkraut, cheese, wine, kvass, soured grain porridge and breads often sustained tribes and villages during harsh winters when fresh food simply wasn’t available let alone plentiful.

 

In many societies including our own where yogurt has been heralded as a health food since the 19th century, fermented food has gained a reputation for its beneficial effects on immunity, intestinal health and general well-being. Modern researchers are just beginning to understand what the sages of old were tuned in to: fermented food conveys clear and calculable health benefits to the human diet. Lactic acid fermentation in and of itself enhances the micronutrient profile of several foods.

 

For example, milk that undergoes lactic acid fermentation either in the wild as in the case of clabbered milk or inoculated by a starter culture as in the case of yogurt, piima, matsoni and other fermented dairy products conveys more vitamins to the eater in comparison to raw milk and, particularly, pasteurized and ultra-high-temperature pasteurized milk. Fermented dairy products consistently reveal an increased level of folic acid which is critical to producing healthy babies as well as pyroxidine, B vitamins, riboflavin and biotin depending on the strains of bacteria present. [1. Vitamin Profiles of Kefirs Made from Milk of Different Species. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 1991. Kneifel et al]

 

The increases in the micronutrient profiles of fermented food aren’t just limited to yogurt, bonny clabber and kefir. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains subjected to lactic acid fermentation also see increases in both their macro- and micronutrient profiles. The bioavailability of amino acids – particularly lysine with its antiviral effects and methionine – increases with lactic acid fermentation. [2. Evaluation of lysine and methionine production in some Lactobacilli and yeasts. International Journal of Food Microbiology. Odunfa et al.]For grains, sprouting prior to souring can increase the availability of protein even further. Vegetables that have undergone lactic acid fermentation as in the case of sauerkraut and kimchi, often see an increase in the activity of vitamin C and vitamin A.

 

While lactic acid fermentation does not usually increase the level of minerals present in fermented foods unless unusual circumstances are present (as in fermenting food in a metal or earthen container), it does decrease the activity of phytic acid content naturally present in grains. Phytic acid is an antinutrient that binds up minerals – preventing full absorption of minerals in the gut. Since souring grains reduces the phytic acid content, the lactic acid fermentation process actually enables your body to absorb more minerals from the grain than you would be able to otherwise absorb. The end result is that you get more bang for your nutritional buck by souring the grains you eat.

 

So now that you’ve eliminated modern sweeteners and learned to use mineral-rich bone broth, your next step on the traditional foods journey is to better incorporate fermented food into your diet. Take advantage of all the health benefits that lactic acid fermentation offers. Next week the Traditional Foods primer will build upon our knowledge of fermented food by examining just how they can improve our health.

 

In the meantime, check out these recipes which takes advantage of lactic acid fermentation:

 

* Moroccan Preserved Lemons

* Rustic Sourdough Noodles

* Real Sauerkraut

* Sourdough Peach Pancakes

 

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Things I've fermented:

Black beans for dip

Sauerkraut

Beets

Cranberry sauce

Mustard

Pickles

Salsa

Roasted red peppers

Mayonaise

Carrots

Apple cider

Kombucha

Kvass

Beet Kvass

 

It's a lot of fun! I got the clamping jars made by Fido, but you can also use quart canning jars. I used the regular mouth ones because they seemed to resist warping and bursting better than the wide mouth. For my kombucha, cider and kvass I use the easy-cap bottles from Northern Brewery.

Get yourself a copy of Nourishing Traditions and get fermenting.

There's another fermenting book I just bought called Wild Fermentation. Just a little warning... It's written by an man who lives in a "queer community," and he makes references to people who live there and their lifestyle. With my strong Biblical values I found it offensive. I will be cutting and pasting the recipes I want to keep because I don't want the book in my house. I just felt I should warn you.

 

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Really interesting reading! Thanks.

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