10 Reason Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods
In this post we take look at the top ten reasons for eating fermented foods. To find out what these exciting and compelling reasons are, read on!
Fermented foods are becoming a hot topic and for good reason. They bring a host of health benefits to the table (literally). There are so many amazing reasons to eat fermented foods, so we decided to compile the top ten for you.
By now most of us probably have heard about some of the benefits associated with fermented foods, and get the idea that we should include some in our diet.
But, if you want to get super pumped to start eating some fermented foods asap, read this list of 10 reasons why you should eat them. Because folks, there are some amazing benefits that fermented foods can hold, which are not always on your typical list article.
The most common benefit tied to fermented foods is their probiotic qualities. The fact that fermented foods are a source of probiotics is by now common knowledge. However, to really appreciate how valuable this is, we are going to take a deep dive into how this can work to boost your body in far-reaching ways.
Fermented foods have been described by Mind Body Green as one of the cheapest ways to do something big for your health and well being. And after compiling this researched list, we can’t agree more with them.
So, are you ready to get the low down on the 10 awesome reasons why you need to eat fermented foods? Let’s get started!
#1 Your Gut Health Will Increase
It is now becoming well known that fermented foods can dramatically boost your gut health. Fermented foods are teaming with probiotic bacteria, the same ones which live in our digestive tracts.
The role of the probiotic bacteria in our digestive tracts is massive. They cover the entire surface of the digestive channel, from mouth to anus, and do most of the work associated with the digestive system. The bacteria are responsible for the proper absorption of food, the efficient elimination of waste, and a lot more. If they are out of whack, this can result in a number of minor or chronic issues.
Therefore, if you supplement your gut with fermented foods and the probiotics in them, this can have the capacity to upgrade your digestive tract, clear any digestion and waste elimination issues. Which means that you can expect to enjoy heightened nutrient uptake, fewer toxins and less waste hanging around, and regularity in the bathroom department.
When talking probiotics and fermented foods, an automatic question is whether or not fermented foods are as strong as probiotics in supplement form. There is not too much data out there on this, however, there is one set of findings that is pretty astounding. Dr. Mercola and his team had a sample of fermented vegetables lab tested for probiotic strains. And he states that “when we had the vegetables tested, we found that in a four- to six-ounce serving there were literally 10 trillion beneficial bacteria or about 100 times the amount of bacteria in a bottle of high-potency probiotics.”
This is pretty impressive, and if Dr. Mercola’s lab tests are accurate, then probiotic foods can actually be a lot more potent than over the counter probiotics.
# 2 You May Enjoy Brighter & Calmer Moods
No, fermented foods are not a drug. But they do help the body to produce the right neurochemicals!
Science has discovered that there is a direct link between the digestive system and the brain. The term for this is the gut-brain axis. To put it very basically, the gut is responsible for sending signals to the brain and vice versa. And, what’s more, the gut is responsible for the production of the neurochemicals that our brains need.
Neurochemicals play a key role in mood regulation and are highly important to the function of the brain and the way in which it reacts to circumstances and stimuli.
If one’s gut bacteria levels are down, then there is a possibility that this might be affecting the production of neurochemicals.
This is why studies are saying the boosting probiotic levels through eating fermented foods can play a role alleviating depression and anxiety.
# 3 You May Sleep Better
Sleep can be hard to fit in, in these busy times, and lying awake or having a restless night is simply the worst. It leaves one feeling groggy, slow, hungry the whole day, and emotions can wear thin.
But, the good news is that if one suffers from mild but annoying sleep problems, eating ferments foods may help. According to Dr. Ellen Vora, one of the first foods you should be eating to optimize your sleep, is fermented foods. This is thanks to the gut-brain connection and the role that the probiotic bacteria play in conjunction with the brain and its neurochemicals. In layman’s terms, if the gut is in a state of inflammation, this will send stress signals to the brain.
And, as we all know, feeling stressed out is not conducive to great sleep. Which is why, supplementing with and eating fermented foods, can have a positive effect on your zzzz’s and may result in deeper sleep that leaves you refreshed and energized in the morning.
# 4 Your Immune System Will Get Stronger
Another key area which eating fermented foods can benefit is the immune function of one’s body. Science has now established that roughly 80% of our immune system resides in our gut. And part of this is comprised directly out of the naturally occurring gut bacteria.
Therefore studies are now concluding that including fermented foods into one’s diet can dramatically boost one’s immune system, as well as one’s digestive tract.
The benefits of this are two-fold, because not only will your immune system be stronger, but also, because of this one is likely to experience fewer colds and flues and other viral infections. These types of infections are taxing to the body, and it has to use resources to fight off the viruses once they take hold. If the body is relatively free from infections optimum health can be more easily achievable.
# 5 You Skin Will Benefit
Internal health is very important for glowing skin. So much so that glowing skin is an external indication of good health. And one of the reasons why it is so attractive!
Fermented foods have been proved by studies to hold anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation is the enemy when it comes to skin. Dermatologists have singled it out as playing a key role in many skin issues.
So by supplementing your body with fermented foods, and thereby getting a steady stream of probiotic bacteria into your system, you will be potentially reducing skin harming inflammation. Hello dewy glow!
Additionally, because a healthy gut means better nutrient absorption, if you eat fermented foods regularly, you will probably take up increased levels of vitamins and minerals. Good levels of vitamins and minerals are also key to healthy and radiant skin, so its a win-win.
# 6 Your Food Cravings May Get Healthier
How’s that for an awesome added bonus to enjoy from eating fermented foods? Science is revealing that hunger signals and food cravings are created in the gut by the bacteria there, and then picked up by the brain as an impulse.
An example of this is the sugar and carb cravings associated with candida overgrowth. Candida is a naturally occurring bacteria in the gut. However, if other species are deficient, it can grow into this space. Eventually, it can dominate the gut biome and cause serious problems.
When candida is in dominance in the gut, it sends out the signal to the brain for what it wants to eat. And that is carbs and sugar. Candida thrives on simple sugars. And, it actually has the power to direct the body to eat more of what will support its growth.
Ingesting fermented foods will work to augment and balance your gut biome. And through this, you stand a good chance to start experiencing healthier food cravings. Balance gut, balanced food cravings.
# 7 Healthy Weight Loss Can Become Easier
Before we go on, let’s just make one thing clear. Fermented foods are not some panacea for overnight weight loss. And we are in no way advocating that people turn to fermented foods simply as a weight loss option.
However, the role that fermented foods can play in a healthy weight loss plan is quite exciting.
Firstly, fermented foods increase gut health and through this optimize digestion. This can lay the ground for easier weight loss. Secondly, a healthy gut also means better waste and toxin elimination. Excess waste and toxins hanging around in the body can contribute to water and fat retention. Studies have revealed that the body has the tendency to lock up hard to eliminate toxins in fat cells. The body may even create additional fat cells for this purpose. And be slow to let them go, as they are acting like storage units for the harmful toxins.
In short, optimizing one’s gut with fermented foods can lead to toxins being more easily excreted. This could allow the body to create fewer fat cells. And, potentially be able to break down those that were created for toxin isolation.
# 8 Fermented Foods Are Naturally Low Carb
During fermentation, the probiotic bacteria that drive the process, feed on sugars and carbohydrates. These are the ones present in the foods that one is fermenting. They convert the sugars into lactic acid, which is a naturally occurring compound found in certain foods.
So essentially, during the fermentation process, a large portion of the sugars present, are swapped out by the bacteria for lactic acid. The lactic acid is what makes fermented foods tart.
Generally, the sugars and carbs in the types of food that we ferment are not unhealthy. However, maybe you are on a mission to reduce as many carbs and sugars out of your diet. In that case, you will be happy to know that fermented food is automatically low carb.
# 9 Fermented Foods Are Ultra Cost Effective
Fermented foods are an incredibly budget-friendly way to boost your health. Fermented foods are the cheapest and most cost-effective way to supplement with probiotics. Store bought probiotic supplements tend to be pretty pricey. In comparison, fermented foods are much much lower in terms of price point.
Buying live fermented foods is not that pricey, although it is usually a little more expensive than pasteurized versions. However, if you compare the cost to supplements, it is minute in comparison. And, you get something to eat!
To break it down, kombucha requires only water, sugar and tea. Kefir requires only milk, and for fermented vegetables, all you need is some vegetables, salt, and water. None of these are expensive items, in fact, they are some of the cheapest!
# 10 Fermented Foods Can Help To Eliminate Environmental Toxins
Environmental toxins are hard to avoid. Unless one lives high up in the Himalayas, you probably come into contact with a fair amount of environmental toxins. And there is not much that one can do about it.
Which is why this particular ability of ferment foods is so valuable. Studies have now revealed that the probiotic bacteria have the ability to bind to certain environmental toxins. They then assist to excrete them while protecting the body from taking up the toxins. The findings of one study done in 2016, showed that probiotic bacteria in the gut were able to ‘bind to, but not metabolize, organophosphate pesticides and reduce intestinal absorption in vitro’. Which means that if enough bacteria are present, one might ingest pesticides but be protected from the absorption of them.
The probiotics in fermented foods also have the power to assist the body in eliminating heavy metals. Considering that heavy metal toxicity is difficult for one to treat, this is quite groundbreaking. A study published in 2012 stated that:
“Lactobacilli and potentially other bacterial types used in the food industry or as probiotics are ideal organisms to use as an adjunct tool to prevent/reduce heavy-metal toxicity and prevent absorption of metals into the human body.”
The science is coming in which shows that fermented foods hold a number of far-reaching benefits to the body. Better digestion can improve health in multiple and compounding ways. Which may lead to better sleep, better skin, moods, weight loss, and a boosted immune system. Research is now also revealing that they might be invaluable in assisting the body in dealing with hard to eliminate environmental toxins. Including heavy metals and pesticides.
The probiotic flora in our bodies can be negatively impacted by a variety of things. From stress, contraceptive pills, chlorinated water, to lack of sleep and exercise. Which means that many of us may have a microbial depletion or imbalance. The more one looks at it, the more eating fermented foods seems like a no-brainer.
Additionally, fermented foods are incredibly cheap when you compare them to over the counter probiotic supplements. While being just as potent, if not more.
In short, eating fermented foods can upgrade your body, digestive system, and health and well being, all while on a budget!
If you want to start making your own fermented foods at home, check out our guides on how to make kombucha, kefir, yogurt and fermented vegetables to name but a few. You can also take a look at our guides on how to make kimchi, sauerkraut, water kefir, and kvass!