Health Benefits of Lacto Fermented (Cultured) Veggies
Are you interested in the health benefits of fermented veggies? If so, you are in the right place. Because in this post we take a deep dive into the various ways in which fermented vegetables can benefit your health.
Howdy guys! Ready to do a deep dive on the health benefits of lacto fermented veggies? Because that is exactly what we are about to do.
Fermented foods are becoming a hot topic, as more and more people get to hear about their health boosting function. But what exactly do fermented foods have that makes them such a powerful thing to add to you diet? We are going to take a look at this in depth and in detail, so that you can get a clear understanding of why fermented foods can be so beneficial to the body.
Out of all the fermented foods out there, we are going to zone in on fermented vegetables for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they are extra healthy, because they are vegetables! Second, they are one of the most versatile ferments to have in the kitchen. Think about it, you can add fermented vegetables to just about any savory dish. And thirdly, they often get passed over in favor of ferments such as kefir and kombucha.
While kefir and kombucha are great ferments to make and consume, we want to shine the spotlight on fermented veggies for a change, to showcase just what a great ferment they are. And, why they are just as powerful in terms of health benefits as other ferments.
Fermented Veggies Are A Probiotic Powerhouse
If you did not already know, fermented vegetables, and other fermented foods, are a potent source of probiotics. Dr Mercola and his team had a sample of fermented vegetables lab tested, and he said 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 some crazy high numbers, and quite literally means that fermented vegetables can be up to 100 times more potent than store bought probiotic supplements.
And where things get even more exciting is the way in which probiotics can have a far reaching effect on one’s overall health.
Let’s take a look at how they function in the body, why we may need to supplement, and what the benefits of boosting these levels can be.
Probiotic bacteria are naturally occurring in our digestive tracts. They ideally colonize every square inch, and are responsible for doing much of the hard work when it comes to the digestion of food, warding off incoming viruses and harmful bacteria that have been inhaled, and eliminating waste. The actual walls of the digestive tract are almost alike to the walls of a factory, and the probiotic bacteria are the factory workers.
If one is deficient in probiotics, and then are a number functions which become compromised. Digestion and waste elimination will suffer, as will the production of neurochemicals, and the uptake up nutrients from one’s food.
And guess what, it turns out that many of us may have impaired levels of probiotic bacteria to varying degrees.
Why Many People Could Have Compromised Levels Of Probiotics
Compromised levels of probiotics is most commonly associated with taking antibiotics. However, there are many other factors which a lot of us are exposed to that can negatively impact the levels of gut bacteria within our body’s.
Some of these include:
- Chlorinated water
- Contraceptive pills
- Food additives
- Environmental toxins
- Bad diet
- Certain alcohol
- Lack of sleep
- No exercise
Given how common all of these factors are, it is quite likely that most of us are exposed to at least two or three of these factors. Just as an example, how many people actually get 7-8 hours of sleep a night?
How Supplementing Daily With Probiotics Can Take Your Health To The Next Level
Because our digestive systems are central to maintaining a healthy body overall, boosting the probiotic levels and the functioning or our guts, can have an overarching effect on one’s health and well being.
The digestive system is responsible for synthesizing and taking up the nutrients in the foods that we eat. If this is functioning at a low level, the body will not absorb everything that it can from foods. Ensuring that one’s digestive system is operating at a high functioning level means more nutrient absorption, which in turn has to the power to positively impact the whole body.
The digestive tract also plays a key role in eliminating waste. If this function is impaired, the body can hold onto toxins and waste, which can cause disease and discomfort.
The third role that the digestive tract and the probiotic bacteria in it play, is immune protection. It is now known that up to 80% of our immune system lives in our gut, and is comprised of the probiotic bacteria! They protect the body by fighting pathogens that enter through the nose and mouth. Frequent viral infections have a weakening effect on the body, so maintaining a strong immune system is a important part of good health.
Taken all together, if you have any low levels of probiotic bacteria going on, and you ingest fermented vegetables regularly, you can cumulatively boost you health. Through experiencing better digestion, nutrient absorption, waste and toxin elimination, and increased immunity.
Fermented Vegetables vs Probiotic Supplements
Before we go, let’s quickly touch on fermented vegetables versus probiotic supplements. Many of us have heard about probiotics and know that we should consume some. But where one often gets stuck is in choosing whether to take supplements or eat fermented foods. Which is better? Which should I take?
Probiotic supplements are useful in that you can travel with them, and you can simply pick some up at the drug store. However they are expensive, and possibly less concentrated than fermented foods.
Based on Dr Mercola’s lab results and findings, fermented vegetables are a much more potent source of probiotics. And, they are also a lot more cost effective. Fermented vegetables are incredibly cheap to make, all you need is the vegetable of your choice, salt and water.
And, fermented vegetable also contain prebiotics, something which most probiotic supplements don’t.
Fermented Vegetables Contain Prebiotics
Prebiotics are compounds found mostly in fruits and vegetables, which encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Because fermented vegetables generally contain high levels of prebiotics, this means that they are like a complete gut health package. The fermented vegetables contain the microbes that you want to colonize your gut, and boost the bacteria populations there, and they also have the right food for these beneficial microbes to eat. Its is like a booster pack!
Fermented Vegetables Are Nutrient Dense
Besides holding the valuable benefit of being probiotic and containing prebiotics, fermented vegetables are also high in nutrients. Vegetables are arguably one of the healthiest foods on the planet for us to consume in large quantities, and many of us aim to eat more vegetables than we currently do.
Fermented vegetables are a great way to access this nutrition. They are softer than raw vegetables, and therefore easier and more convenient to eat. But, because they have not been exposed to heat, they tend to retain more nutrients than vegetables that have been cooked.
Fermented Vegetable Are High In Fiber
Fermented vegetables have another thing going for them, and that is fiber. The benefits of high fiber foods include increased feelings of satiation after eating, even blood sugar levels and regularity in the toilet department. Eating lots of fiber can also assist in keeping cholesterol levels down and weight management.
Fermented Vegetables Can Promote Healthy Weight Loss
Speaking of weight management, let’s investigate this exciting attribute of fermented vegetables. First off, fermented vegetables are not a panacea for weight loss, obviously. However, if combined with a healthy diet they may have the ability to boost and promote healthy weight loss.
The ability of fermented vegetables to assist in weight loss lies in the digestive boosting function. The bacteria in our guts are responsible for how foods are broken down and how fat is store. If this is area of digestion is functioning well, it can be of benefit to weight loss.
Enhances Waste Elimination
The probiotic bacteria in fermented vegetables and our guts are also responsible for eliminating waste and assisting to rid the body of toxins. Waste build up in the body can make excess weight hard to shift. Toxins can cause bloating and water retention.
Lastly, probiotic bacteria are also responsible for sending hunger signals to our brain. They are the brain of the gut so as to speak, so they are the ones that communicate to when it is time to eat. They also have the ability to signal to the brains what we should eat. Aka cravings! If the probiotic bacteria in our guts are out of balance, they can actually send us unbalanced food cravings.
For example, candida is known to send cravings to the brain for sugar and carbs. This is the food the candida bacteria thrives on. It needs sugars to feed on and sustain itself, and so if it is a dominant bacteria population in your gut, will send out signals for more of what it needs.
Obviously if one is trying to lose excess weight or maintain weight loss, sugar cravings are the last thing one needs!
Fermented Vegetables Can Boost Your Mood And Mental Function
Another interesting area where fermented vegetables and probiotic foods and supplements can be of benefit to is one’s mood and mental function. Science has not too long ago discovered what is called the ‘gut brain axis’. To put this in a very basic way, the gut and brain work together in a big way.
So far it appears that they way this works is that the gut is responsible for releasing neurochemicals into the bloodstream. Here they travel to the brain, and there work to regulate and affect our mood and emotions.
If the gut biome and its probiotic bacteria are out of whack, this can have an impact on the amount and type of neurochemicals that reach out brain.
So, one may find that by eating fermented vegetables, one could enjoy brighter moods and stabler emotions.
Which really makes eating probiotic rich fermented vegetables seem like a no-brainer!
Fermented Vegetable Can Assist Your Body to Eliminate Environmental Toxins And Heavy Metals
Research is now revealing that probiotic bacteria also have the power to stop the body from absorbing environmental toxins such as pesticides. Environmental toxins can be hard to avoid, so having one’s gut stocked up with probiotic bacteria, ready to eliminate the toxins before they can be absorbed by the body, is a big win.
Studies are now also stating that probiotic bacteria have the ability to bind and sequester heavy metals from the body. Seeing as heavy metal build up can be an insurmountable health issue, this is pretty groundbreaking.
How to Get Into Making Your Own Fermented Vegetables
After this impressive list of interrelated benefits that fermented vegetables and the probiotics in them hold, I bet you are pretty pumped to get some fermented vegetables into your diet.
To begin with, you can buy fermented vegetable such as sauerkraut in stores. However, you will need to check that the brand you are buying is unpasteurized, otherwise it will be devoid of probiotic benefits. Unpasteurized fermented vegetables will probably be more pricey, as they are more difficult to store for long periods.
However while you can get hold of fermented vegetable in some places, the easiest thing to do is to simply make your own. Why? Because fermented vegetables are so simple to make, and the ingredients will cost you next to nothing.
If you are amped to try out making a batch of fermented vegetables, then go and check out our guide on how to make fermented vegetables. There you will find out all you need to know to get started.
How To Avoid A Healing Crisis
Before you start eating fermented vegetables by the pound, you need to be aware of healing crises and how to avoid them. A healing crisis means the experience of negative side effects during a detox, or other health program.
It is not uncommon for people to experience a healing crisis, if they dive into eating fermented foods, after living with a compromised gut biome for a long time.
Symptoms of a healing crisis can include:
- Severe headaches
- Severe skin rashes
- High blood pressure
- Joint pain
- Mood swings
None of these are things we want to have to endure if at all possible. But fortunately there is a way to avoid having a healing crisis when starting with fermented foods.
The trick is to introduce fermented vegetable (or any other fermented food you may be eating) in small quantities. This is best done over a period of days or weeks. During which time you can slowly ramp up the quantity you are eating each day. Until you get to the point of eating one serving. This way the body will have time to adapt to the influx of beneficial bacteria.
For more information on how to avoid a healing crisis when starting with fermented foods, go and check out this post.
Fermented foods, and particularly fermented vegetables, hold a number of worthy health benefits. Integral to their positive effect on the body and its vitality is their probiotic properties. Given that we are all at risk of weakened probiotic levels, supplementing with fermented vegetables is a great idea. Especially if you are looking to nurture your body and assist it to function at its optimum.
We hope that you enjoy this article on the health benefits of fermented vegetables. And that we have inspired you to try your hand at making some!
Until next time, happy fermenting folks.