80% of the immune system is located within the gut, therefore keeping our gut healthy makes sense. Fermented food has natural probiotics which can improve digestion, boost the immune system, increase energy, improve skin and even help with weight loss. It has also been claimed that fermented food may affect mood state in a positive way.

This is where the gut/brain connection is important as more serotonin (which makes us feel good), is produced in the gut than the brain. Fermented foods often contain B vitamins, vitamin K2 and chelators. Chelators help to draw toxins out of the body, and is a natural way to help with a detox.

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Bacteria, yeast and mould are all used in different fermentation processes where carbohydrates within the food are converted into organic acids or alcohol. The food therefore has a naturally reduced sugar content. It is a historic way of preserving food and stops it going rotten. Fermenting helps increase the digestion of foods and allows vitamins to be absorbed better. It does this by improving the balance of the gut bacteria ratio – adding more of the good bacteria.

Fermented foods may be one of the keys to solving a condition called leaky gut syndrome by increasing beneficial gut bacteria. Leaky gut syndrome is where the gut wall becomes porous and toxins and bacteria leak through to the bloodstream.

This ‘invasion’ causes havoc within the body and can result in various reactions including food intolerances, chronic fatigue syndrome, skin rashes and even fertility problems.

So, what foods are fermented? There are plenty, and we have been using them all over the world for many years. Coffee beans are fermented after picking, and the length and type of fermentation is what affects the final flavour of the coffee. In chocolate, fermentation removes the bitter tannins. Other foods that use fermentation are wines, beers, olives, vinegar, salami, crème fraiche and yogurt.

Fermented-foods-list_02

The best fermented foods to include in your diet are: Sauerkraut (cabbage), kimchhi (cabbage and vegetables), miso (soya), kefir (milk), lassi (Indian yogurt drink), natto (cheese curd), cucumber, aubergine, onions, squash, carrots, turnips, tempeh (soya), kombucha (a fermented tea drink), and Rakfisk (a Norwegian fish dish).

Probably the easiest of the fermented foods to make at home is kefir. A home kit is available on line where you add some powder to milk (including soya or nut milks), and within a couple of days you have kefir. If you fancy having a go at making other types of fermented foods at home then be sure to use organic vegetables to gain the most benefit.

Eating a mix of different strains of probiotics is the best way to make sure that we get what is missing in terms of good gut bacteria. Different fermentation processess produces different strains and therefore gives the gut the best chance of receiving anything that it is missing. In fact, eating a variety of a little fermented foods is better than taking probiotic supplementation.

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