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Traditionally, in autumn we think of winter supplies and pickles. Some of us don’t think them as useful, but right behind the processes of fermentation of pickles or sauerkraut, for example, are hiding unsuspected benefits for our health. It turns out that fermented foods have at least a dozen positive qualities, especially for the human body and digestion.
What is fermentation?
When we talk about fermentation, usually in our head comes alcoholic fermentation. But fermentation processes are far from only producing alcohol. Indeed, the fermentation process is the degradation of carbohydrates in the anaerobic (without the presence of oxygen) environment, under the influence of yeast – for example, alcohol or bacteria – like in milk.
The end result is different organic acids and then the process gets a brand new chemically product. Louis Pasteur called fermentation “life without oxygen”and actually the processes in fermentation are very intensive. The fermentation is quite different – except alcoholic, it is lactic, formic and many other.
Researchers at Cambridge University say they often eat fermented low-fat dairy foods such as yogurt and cottage cheese, reduces the risk of diabetes by 25% for 11 years. Foods which can be left to ferment, are “digested” in advance from the good bacteria which occur in the food product.
So, enough with the chemistry and nothing interesting. More important is the question:
How fermented foods help our health?
It turns out that fermented foods contain natural lactic acid fermentation and enzymes that have a beneficial effect on the digestive tract, creating an ideal environment for the production and absorption of vitamins, especially those of group B. They strengthen our immunity and supply the body with the important pro- and prebiotics.
Fermented foods provide us with an easily absorbable form all those beneficial bacteria and enzymes that help the digestion, give us probiotics and strengthen our natural immunity.
If for a moment go back in time and see what ate the ancient nations will notice one indisputable fact – each had as part of their daily lives a fermented product. For Europeans, it is yogurt, for Russians is kefir, for Japanese – miso soup, for Koreans – kimchi, for Chinese sauerkraut. Each civilization has relied on foods rich in probiotics and this is not accidental.
Perhaps the most popular product known worldwide for its beneficial qualities. It is typical of lactic acid fermentation. To make sure that the milk you consume is real and contains all those probiotics are talking about is better to do it at home.
Or at least carefully in advance to have chosen the brand you buy. For vegans or for opponents of milk is not useless to mention that the popular nut milk is also subject to fermentation and can offer most of the benefits of the traditional yogurt.
Kefir is similar to yogurt product again produced from milk, but under the influence and yeast called Kefir grains. Kefir is proved that there are more beneficial bacteria than yogurt and lactose content in it is much lower. This makes it suitable for all those who have problems with digestion of lactose and milk consumption. It contains biotin, which helps the absorption of vitamin B complex, minerals, starting with calcium.
Fermented vegetables – the ideal source of probiotics
Fermented vegetables can be easily prepared at home. They are a great way to obtain high amounts of healthy probiotics in your diet.
The easiest method for fermentation of small amount of vegetables at home is:
- Choose your vegetables
- Wash and cut the vegetables into strips or circles. Vegetables that ferment most often are cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, green tomatoes, garlic, onions, green beans, beets, and radishes.
- Arrange vegetables in jars and add herbs and spices. Suitable are color dill, black pepper, poppy seeds and mustard seeds.
- Boil water and add salt to it (rock or sea). For 1 liter of water add 30 grams of salt and 2 tbsp. Stir until dissolved salt well and then leave to cool water.
- When the water reaches room temperature, pour the vegetables until they are completely covered. There shouldn’t be visible vegetables because it will begin to grow mold!
- Add weight to hold them under water. A good option is the leaf of cabbage or envelope filled with water. Cover the jars without closing it tightly.
- Arrange the jars on a tray, because during the fermentation process can start to go out water and leave them somewhere at a room temperature. The process takes 3 to 7 days, then in the third is good to start tasting and to stop fermentation at the moment, when you like the taste.
- When the vegetables reach the desired taste, close them tightly with a lid and store in a cool – in the refrigerator, cold basement or garage to stop the
Voila! You have homemade probiotic vegetables, super tasty and filled with enzymes!
The advantages of home fermentation are many, but if we have to summarize them:
- vegetables remain raw
- rich in probiotics
- their content of valuable substances is higher
- the content of enzymes is higher
- have an alkaline pH
Look for books about fermentation, if you’re inspired to try it yourself. Use fermented spices like pepper, soy sauce, natural vinegar, etc.
Search for naturally fermented vegetables such as pickles, beets, sauerkraut, pickles, onions. You can add them to any dish. We must distinguish useful fermented foods from most bought in the store. Unfortunately, those that are sold in stores in jars are not usually naturally fermented and contains no preservatives.