One of the latest and most talked about health trends on the nutrition market as of late is fermented foods and there is definitely good reason for it! From sauerkraut to kombucha and a range of cultured vegetables, these little power foods not only add extra punch to your meals but also do wonders for your health. The health benefits include improving your overall gut health, and easing digestive problems, including bloating and IBS, boosting your immune system, helping to remove toxins from the body, enhancing your mood, alleviating depression and has even been suggested to have cancer-fighting properties. Fermented foods produce the necessary digestive enzymes to help the body absorb more nutrients from the food you consume and in turn prevent you from a number of harmful diseases down the track.
Our gut is made up of trillions of microorganisms, containing 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body. This is known as our ‘gut flora’, which promotes normal gastrointestinal function, provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism and comprises more than 75% of our immune system. Now you can probably grasp why our gut is so important!
BUT unfortunately, a number of modern lifestyle factors have the ability to destroy healthy gut flora and damage the intestinal barrier without us even knowing. Some examples include the use of antibiotics and oral contraceptive pills, diets high in processed foods and refined carbohydrates, chronic stress and reoccurring infections.
Luckily there’s a way to help improve and even reverse these detrimental effects including a change in diet and the consumption of necessary fermented foods. Our practitioner’s here at Nu-Leaf can guide you in the right direction and provide you with the necessary advice and support to restore your digestive health.
So you're probably wondering what fermenting is?
The concept of fermenting foods has been around for thousands of years and begins with lacto-fermentation. Lacto-fermentation is a method of food preservation that enhances the nutrient content of food and the action of the bacteria formed makes the minerals in cultured foods more readily available to the body.
Firstly vegetables are submerged in a brine that is salty enough to kill off harmful bacteria. The Lactobacillus (good bacteria) survive this stage and begin converting lactose and other sugars present in the food into lactic acid. This creates an acidic environment that safely preserves the vegetables - and gives lacto-fermented foods their classic tangy flavour. Fermented foods should always be refrigerated once the fermentation process is complete.
Try out this simple 3 ingredients Sauerkraut recipe, your gut will thank you for it!
· 1.5kg purple cabbage finely shredded (plus 1 extra-large leaf)
· 1 tablespoons fine salt
· 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Step 1 - Combine shredded cabbage, salt and caraway seeds in a large bowl and use your hands to rub cabbage until it wilts and renders juices (this will take about 5 minutes).
Step 2- Place in a large enough mason jar and press down firmly until cabbage is compacted, air has been pushed out and cabbage is well covered with juices. Top with the cabbage leaf to stop pieces of cabbage floating to surface. Stand the jar in a cool place for 3 days. (Your fermentation time may vary depending on the temperature and how fermented you like your kraut. Keep out of direct sunlight).
Step 3 - Store in fridge. Drain well before using.