Wondering if the benefits of fermented meals are hype, or science? Let this particular dietitian break it down for you personally, including the difference between fermented food items and probiotics, as well as 15 tasty fermented food recipes so you can get really these healthy plant foods into the life.
Fermented food items, despite being around for actually thousands of years, are pretty damn scorching these days. It seems like if marketers include the word ‘fermented’ to just about something, we’ll think it’s healthy…but could it be?
As a dietitian, I do think there is a big difference between a proper food that has been fermented and a hyper-processed food that has been touched by some type of fermentation. So a protein food that contains fermented protein is NOT just like eating tempeh. It’s kinda such as the difference between eating an apple regarding microbiome-boosting dissolvable fibre and prebiotics versus eating apple-flavoured candy which has prebiotic fibre added to it.
So let’s start by referring to what fermented foods actually are, the actual evidence tells us about the benefits of fermented foods,
What is a fermented food?
The International Organization of Prebiotics and Probiotics (ISAPP) recently released a consensus declaration on fermented foods where they suggested the following description: “foods made through desired microbes growth and enzymatic conversions associated with food components”
Essentially, you create a fermented food when you let microorganisms, like bacteria or yeasts, change a food deliberately . They might be naturally occurring, such as the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that will transform sauerkraut , or added, the SCOBY culture you use to make kombucha. Yet that lettuce growing slime mold in the back of your vegetable drawer? Not really the kind of fermented food you want to consume!
A number of our most beloved foods and beverages are also fermented, such as wine, chocolates, cheese, beer and sourdough bread. But since they don’t contain reside microbes, we’re going to leave all of them out in favour of foods that do since the health benefits are different.
Here are a few examples of living fermented foods:
- Lacto-fermented pickles
Benefits of Fermented Foods
You might be amazed to know, since there is so much talk about the advantages of fermented foods, that there is very little research done with real humans. So the majority of the health claims made for fermented meals are based on lab or animal-level trials and therefore they’re WAY overblown.
But that doesn’t mean they’re bad for you! Just don’t expect to drink one kombucha and remedy your IBS , okay? It’s the same way single greens won’t make you healthy – but committing to a plant-rich anti-inflammatory dietary design will. The process of fermentation transforms a food from its organic state in a few ways:
- increasing, or enhancing the particular bioavailability of certain nutrients or even phytochemicals found in the food
- increasing the stability of the meals through the production of organic acids or antimicrobial substances that assist preserve it
- lowering substances that can bind minerals, like phytates
- enzymatic change for better digestion, such as wearing down lactose from dairy
- creating short-chain fatty acids may help improve gut function and support the gut-associated immune system
Some of the benefits of the fermented foods will come from the nutrients present in the meals itself, such as the l-glutamine or sulphur-based phytochemicals found in cabbage, while others is going to be due to the presence of the microbes on their own, like organic acids.
In the human research, it has been demonstrated that fermented food items have the ability to impact the gut microbiome as they transit within the gut and that their fermentations by-products such as short-chain fatty acids may also possess a positive impact.
Of all of the fermented foods, traditional dairy products yogurts have the most human scientific trials. Dairy products kefir and kimchi also have fascinating clinical trials . In one trial , consuming 800ml (over 3 cups! ) of kefir was able to increase lactic acid bacteria in the stool of these with Crohn’s Disease. In one more, 2-4 portions a day of kimchi appeared to be of a lower incidence of atopic hautentzündung in the Korean inhabitants.
What you’ll observe here, or in any of the other tests you look into, is that dose issues. A tablespoon of kraut will not cut it! Which is why the type of fermented food – and what is in that will food – matters. Like additional sugars.
Additional sugars and salt in fermented foods
The other thing you want to remember is how much sugar or sodium can be in some fermented foods. I am looking at you, kombucha! As reputation of kombucha grows, we’re viewing a lot of products on the market with an increased sugar content – old school kombucha used to be pretty funky. These brand new versions are more like fermented soda pops. Aim for a variety that will only has about 10g associated with sugar per large bottle whenever you can find one.
Fermented Foods vs Probiotics
Prepare for your mind to become BLOWN: fermented foods are NOT probiotics. Huh? How is that possible?
Well, probiotics are extremely specific microbes with research-demonstrated advantages to human health. Not just any kind of microbe can be called a probiotic, even if it belongs to the same types as other probiotics. If you ferment sauerkraut on your counter, you have no chance of knowing what is in there, the number of live microbes are present or regardless of whether there will be any health benefits. So unless of course a fermented food manufacturer adds to your home a known evidence-based probiotic, these people shouldn’t be making any probiotic state on their product. But they do, CONTINUOUSLY. Sigh.
Fermented Food items for Gut Health
If you’ re creating a gut-friendly lifestyle, I absolutely recommend enjoying fermented plant foods like sauerkraut, lacto-fermented pickles and miso as part of a proper anti-inflammatory diet plan for gut wellness. However , I do not go as long as to say that fermented foods are all you have to when there is evidence that a probiotic may help, for example , in irritable bowel symptoms because fermented foods have nowhere fast near the dosage of live microorganisms required to shift the gut microbiome. So if you are curious about a probiotic for a particular health condition , ask your doctor or even dietitian for their recommendations. But if you want to keep your gut well, go for fermented foods!
Something else we ought to talk about is histamines – fermentation may increase the histamine content of food items that, while not an issue for everyone, might further aggravate inflammation for those who are sensitive to histamine , including a subsection of these with digestive issues.
Part of the Diet for Weight Loss Editorial Team 2021