Why fermented foods are good for you

Why fermented foods are good for you

Why fermented foods are good for you,your health,harbouchanews

Today, we are rediscovering the many health benefits of this ancestral way of preserving food. Lacto-fermented foods allow in particular to boost the intestinal flora.

Microbes, bacteria, yeasts ... constitute the intestinal flora , or more exactly “the intestinal microbiota”, which designates this set of microorganisms and has a significant impact on our physical and even mental health. It promotes good digestion, allows the synthesis of certain vitamins (B and K), ensures the proper functioning of the intestinal barrier and the development of the immune system.

Recent studies evoke its influence in many pathologies: various neurological disorders, ranging from stress to depression, autism, Alzheimer's disease, obesity ... Modulating the microbiota to prevent, even treat these pathologies, represents a promising avenue of research. Hence the interest in feeding it well to make it as efficient as possible! And why not with fermented foods?

What is a fermented food?

The sauerkraut , the yogurt , the sourdough bread or pickles are fermented foods. These are “living” foods that have the advantage of improving flavor and nutrients thanks to this method of preservation. These foods will undergo a transformation under the action of a ferment , naturally present or inoculated by man (rennet, kefir, leaven, etc.) which causes “positive degradation”, also known as ripening.

Foods become more and more acidic (pH change), which prevents putrefaction (negative degradation) and the growth of unwanted bacteria, yeasts and fungi. When the pH is sufficiently acidic (around 4), the preparation becomes stable and can be stored for a long time. At the same time, food produces beneficial substances, such as probiotics .

What are the health benefits of fermentation?

Used for thousands of years, fermentation is primarily used to preserve food . It has also enabled populations to survive during periods of famine and during epidemics. Besides its undeniable ecological side, since it does not require any energy, it is indeed the most economical way to conserve food and fight against food waste.

Fermentation is above all an excellent way to improve the quality of the original foods and boost their health benefits.

  • It improves the digestibility of food and its assimilation. It is in a way a predigestion, which is done thanks to the enzymes produced during fermentation. For example, the fibers in fermented vegetables are less irritating to the intestines.
  • It reduces or completely eliminates lactose from milk in fermented milks, such as yogurts or in cheeses, which are better tolerated.
  • It allows better assimilation of nutrients (vitamins, mineral salts ...), such as manganese, calcium, potassium ... without acidifying the body.
  • It destroys certain harmful substances, such as phytic acid in whole grains (which prevents the assimilation of certain mineral salts such as iron, magnesium). Nitrates, pesticides and mycotoxins are partially eliminated or broken down.
  • It allows “good” protective bacteria, such as probiotics, to proliferate.
  • It also increases the vitamin content (sauerkraut is much richer in vitamin C than the initial cabbage), it increases the antioxidant potential and the polyphenol content of food.
  • It changes the flavor, smell, texture and appearance. It is the famous “refining” which enhances a cheese, a wine ...

What foods can ferment?

Almost any food can ferment:

  • all the vegetables (except the potato) like the cabbage in sauerkraut for the best known,
  • fruits in wine or in the form of chutney (because their salty version is not appreciated),
  • cereals (sourdough bread),
  • the legumes (chickpeas, soy ...)
  • dairy products (yogurts, cheeses, etc.),
  • fish, meats (sausage ...).

Several types of food fermentation

There are several types of fermentation: lactic fermentation, also called lacto-fermentation (sauerkraut and other vegetables, yogurts, kefirs , sourdough bread, etc.), alcoholic, acetic (vinegar), alkaline (soy sauce) fermentation.

The best known is lacto-fermentation , which you can easily perform at home, especially for vegetables because it does not require the addition of any ferment. What water, salt and vegetables!

But Gérard Corthier prefers to warn about the significant microbiological risks (colibacillosis, salmonella infections ...) if you practice fermentation yourself, especially meats (sausages, pâtés ...). “Without being dangerous for plants,” he adds, “these risks can cause diarrhea. "

How to get fermented foods?

Fermentation experts recommend starting with vegetables because “it's easy and safe. There are also lemons ”. they specify that "the most difficult at the beginning is not to be afraid of germs, which goes against everything we have learned, because we want to disinfect everything".

The principle is simple: whole vegetables, in pieces or finely sliced ​​which are packed, salt and water in a hermetically sealed jar. Then, set aside at room temperature and let the fermentation process take place, a few days or several weeks, before tasting.

“Once opened, your jar must be kept, this time, in the refrigerator, otherwise a haze forms on the surface. It does not present any danger, but it is not pleasant to see it, nor to taste it. What if fermentation has not happened? "We notice it right away because there is a foul smell that does not make you want to eat it!" "

your healh

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