Fermented foods have been around for ages and there are so many out there for you to choose from. There’s sauerkraut, umeboshi, miso soup, tempeh, kimchee, kvass, kefir, cider, cheese, wine, beer, olives, soy sauce, pickles and kombucha and many of these can be made very easily in your own kitchen.
Health and the disease are usually born inside your digestive system so if you want to stay healthy, you need to keep your gut healthy. Your stomach is considered the second brain of your body. It’s called the enteric nervous system and it’s a huge network of neurons in your gut that communicates constantly with your spinal cord and brain. The same chemicals and hormones that transmit signals in the brain are found in the stomach including norepinephrine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and nitric oxide. Sometimes the function of the enteric nervous system and the brain overlap like in the emptying of the stomach. Another function of enteric nervous system is to warn the brain of toxins in the stomach so that a response from both brains is coordinated. And of course it’s the enteric nervous system that tells your brain when it is hungry or full.
Your digestive system is lined with very specialized cells that only live for a couple of days and shed and then are replaced by new healthy cells. This process continues over and over. But in order for your body to produce healthy functioning cells, it needs proper nutrients like vitamins, fats, enzymes, proteins and also a healthy gut flora.
Researchers have experimented with animals who had sterilized digestive tracts. They found the cell regeneration process goes completely haywire because the cells end up mutated and some of them turn cancerous and they are unable to break down food and absorb nutrients properly.
What are the benefits of fermented foods?
For starters, fermented foods are full of probiotics. You need bacteria to live. Your good bacteria is wiped out by antibiotics, alcohol, eating foods with herbicides and pesticides, too much sugar, stress, and chlorinated water. Eating fermented foods will help you maintain healthy gut flora.
Eating fermented foods can relieve you of any stomach ache related to acid. If your hydrochloric acid is low, fermented foods will help to increase acidity. If you are producing too much acid, eating fermented foods will help you protect your intestinal lining.
Fermented foods have more nutrients. All that bacteria growing creates more B vitamins, including folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, biotin and thiamin.
Enzyme levels drop as you grow older, so eating enzyme rich foods helps to take some of the work load from your pancreas and improve pancreatic function. This is very beneficial for people who are diabetic.
During fermentation, ascorbic acid is converted into ascorbigen. Ascorbigen helps your body by preventing the absorption of toxins through the small and large intestines.
Eating fermented foods will help to destroy and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Most pathogenic bacterias are sensitive to acidic environments. In the 1950’s, during Europe’s typhoid fever epidemic, reports showed that sauerkraut was effective in killing the bacteria.
Eating a traditional macrobiotic Japanese diet which included miso soup, which is a fermented food, is what saved the lives of 31 patients and staff at St. Francis hospital in Nagasaki, Japan, where the atomic bomb was dropped 1.4 kilometers away. Others who lived in the same range suffered from leukemia, cataracts, cancers and other illnesses. To read more about this http://yufoundation.org/furo.pdf
Be careful and read labels when buying pickles and sauerkraut from grocery that are made using heat processing and/or vinegar. This is not the same as fermented sauerkraut and pickles.
Eat some fermented foods!
So if you don’t eat fermented foods already, add some to your diet and make your gut healthy and happy!
the photo above is red beet and cabbage sauerkraut. super yummy!