Kimchi, fermentation, fermented foods and gut health. What does it all mean? This post will unpack some of this information for you but I also encourage you to do your own research and learn more on your own.
After my recent kimchi making video, this question came up: “What does fermentation mean and what does it do? I hear about it all over.”
What Is Fermentation
Fermentation is a way/technique of preserving food. The process is used to produce foods like wine, cheese, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha. Fermented foods are rich in beneficial probiotics and have been associated with a range of health benefits — from better digestion to stronger immunity.
Click here for my homemade kimchi recipe.
“Whether you realize it or not, fermentation is a process that’s used to produce some of the world’s favorite foods and beverages. In food processing, fermentation is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms—yeasts or bacteria—under anaerobic conditions.
“Like many other fermented foods across the globe such as wine, sauerkraut, and yogurt, kimchi is the result of a special type of fermentation. The bacteria that is responsible for this type of fermentation is available everywhere – vegetable skins, in the air, on your hands – you name it.”
This bacteria is called Lactic Acid Bacteria, giving this type of fermentation the name Lacto-fermentation. Through the fermentation process, new flavor profiles are created as the bacteria break down large flavor compounds, refining the flavor molecules perceived by our taste buds.
The process that turns vegetable to kimchi is called “Lacto-fermentation” – a transformation process by Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB). The bacteria metabolizes carbohydrates (such as sugar) in vegetables into lactic acid, which gives fermented foods their sour flavour and increases their acidity, making them safe to eat.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that can help your gut balance itself out and even support digestion. There are plenty of ways to work this tip into your diet, from kimchi and sauerkraut to yogurt and kombucha. If you don’t think of yourself as a person who enjoys the funky tang of condiments like miso or kraut, you could opt for a serving of kefir or mix your favorite fruit with ice and yogurt for a quick smoothie.
Popular fermented foods are:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sourdough Bread
THE BENEFITS OF FERMENTED FOODS
Here are just some of the Important Benefits of Fermented Foods:
- Fermented foods enhance the nutrient content of your food, making it more bio-available & digestible.
Fermented Foods reduce sugar & carbohydrate cravings!
- Fermented foods help to regulate hunger hormones which in turn control your weight.
- Fermented Foods increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut some of which convert to hormones. One of these hormones is Serotonin (the happy hormone) which controls your mood.
A healthy gut full of beneficial bacteria contributes to & supports your mental health & cognitive function – think improved memory & concentration!
- Fermented foods reduce systemic wide inflammation in the body – the root cause of most chronic diseases i.e. arthritis & cardiovascular disease as well as inflammatory lifestyle factors i.e. poor diet, excess caffeine & sugar, medications etc
- Fermented Foods increase your antibodies which protect you against invading pathogens naturally improving your immunity – particularly beneficial for endurance athletes, children & the elderly..
Eating fermented (or “cultured”) foods is the most convenient way to obtain a daily dose of probiotic bacteria that support gut health and more. Studies suggest that some of the many ways these foods support overall health include by:
- improving digestion and cognitive function
- boosting immunity
- helping treat irritable bowel disease
- providing minerals that build bone density
- helping fight allergies
- killing harmful yeast and microbes
Resources and Articles To Read
Resources: Kimchi and lacto fermentation