Fermented Food Benefits Health















Fermented Food Benefits....The major benefit of fermentation is that it preserves food. The fermentation organisms produce lactic acid, alcohol and acetic acid, which are all natural preservatives that help to prevent spoilage and retain nutrients. Fruits, vegetables, milk, meat and fish are all highly perishable. Our ancestors discovered techniques to preserve food when it was plentiful to be consumed at later times when it wasn’t so plentiful.

In addition to preserving nutrients, fermentation also breaks down food into a more easily digestible form. One example is soybeans. They’re rich in protein but mostly indigestible without first being fermented. The fermentation process breaks the proteins in the soybeans down into amino acids, which are readily digestible. The products of fermented soybeans are traditional Asian foods like miso, tempeh and tamari (soy sauce).


Bowl of Eggs Floating in Soy Sauce, Shanghai, China
Bowl of Eggs Floating in Soy Sauce, Shanghai, China

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Milk also is difficult to digest for many people. Lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) ferment dairy products and transform the lactose or milk sugar into easier digestible lactic acid. Fermented wheat too is more digestible than unfermented wheat.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which promotes fermentation as a crucial source of nutrients worldwide, fermentation improves the bioavailability of the minerals that are present in food. Fermentation also creates new nutrients. Microbial cultures, as they go through their life cycles, they create B vitamins which include folic acid, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and biotin.

Some ferments have been shown to act as antioxidants, which scavenge cancer precursors that are known as free radicals from the cells of your body. Lactobacilli create omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for cell membrane and immune system function as well as heart and brain health.

Fermentation removes toxins from foods. A great example is seen with the cassava, an enormous tuber that is native to the tropical regions of the Americas and has also become a staple food in the equatorial regions of Asia and Africa. Certain varieties of cassava contain high levels of cyanide and therefore are poisonous until they undergo soaking fermentation. The fermentation causes the cassava to become edible by eliminating the cyanide.


Cassava Leaves
Cassava Leaves

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Mandolfo, Michael
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All grains contain a compound called phytic acid. The phytic acid can block the absorption of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and other minerals, which can lead to mineral deficiencies. Soaking and fermenting grains before cooking them will neutralize the phytic acid creating a far more nutritious grain. Other toxic chemicals found in foods that can be eliminated by fermentation include oxalic acid, prussic acid, nitrites, nitrosamines and glucosides.


Assorted Grains in Wooden Bowls
Assorted Grains in Wooden Bowls

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Da Costa, Beatriz
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Eating fermented foods in a live state is an extremely healthy practice, because it supplies your digestive tract with living cultures that are essential to breaking down food and assimilating its nutrients. But beware, it’s very important to read food labels carefully. Many commercially available fermented foods have been pasteurized, which means they have been heated to the point where the beneficial microbes will die. Examples are yogurt, which is pasteurized after culturing. Look for the statement “contains live cultures”. Another example is sauerkraut, which has been pasteurized or canned to extend the shelf life, but the result is that the beneficial microorganisms are killed. Even miso is dried and sold in a powdered lifeless form.




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Fermented Food
Greek Yogurt
Kefir
Miso
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The information on enzyme-facts.com is not offered for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease or disorder nor have any statements herein been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).We strongly encourage you to discuss topics of concern with your health care provider.

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