Do you know what are fermented foods? They are an ancient way of preserving food with the plus of being the gut´s best friends! Ok, I know that this is a subject many people don´t like to talk about, but it is so important. Actually 75% of our immune system is located in our gut. Who would imagine, right?
The ideal would be to have in the gut around 85% beneficial bacteria (the so called probiotics) and only 15% harmful bacteria. However, a bad diet and the consumption of antibiotics end up killing our healthy gut bacteria, as I explained in my book Back to Natural.
Different studies have shown that an imbalance between “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut is linked to various health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Maybe you are thinking: “I am not prepared to change my diet”. I understand that cutting off sugar and refined carbs might be difficult for you and in the future I will write a post about it. However, instead of thinking about the foods you need to eliminate from your diet, think about the ones you can introduce in your diet. Actually it is funny because when I started eating fermented foods, filled with probiotics, I slowly stopped having sugar cravings. So today I would like to share with you my top 5 fermented foods:
1. Kefir: it is a fermented milk drink that I always have for breakfast. You can know more about it in the post Kefir: A Daily Must in My Family .
2. Sauerkraut: I love eating sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, for lunch and dinner. I make homemade sauerkraut because it is quick and easy to do. Plus we are lucky to have a lot of cabbages on the farm. I also like to add other vegetables, mainly carrots but I´ve also used beets and radishes. If you would like to try it, my advice is for you to make your own homemade sauerkraut. Why? It is not that easy to find unpasteurized sauerkraut (with probiotics) and, in case you find it, it may contain preservatives and added sugars. It is also important for you to know that you don´t need to eat a lot of any fermented food. Actually less is more, specially in the beginning, so you can see how your organism reacts. You might experience symptoms such as joint pain (as I have) or headaches because your body is detoxing, so don´t forget to drink plenty of water.
3. Miso: it is a salty paste made of fermented soya. I like to spread a layer of miso over the bread and another one of tahini (a sweet sesame seeds paste). The contrast of flavors is great! Miso can also be used in soup (miso soup) or to season a dish (instead of salt).
4. Umeboshi: it is a fermented plum, very salty, that I eat every now and then. You can use it whole or in the form of a paste either to cook or to have at the table. You can also prepare a tea with umeboshi plum.
5. Kimchi: it is a fermented, spicy Korean side dish that you can make with different vegetables, such as cabbages, radishes and carrots. I only tried it with daikon (a kind of radish) and I think it is super tasty! Kimchi takes a bit more time to make than sauerkraut, so it is not so common for me have it at home. When this happens I like eating a bit for dinner, instead of sauerkraut.
So, are you ready to introduce fermented foods in your diet?