Posted by: adamhuber888 | May 26, 2012

The Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermented foods can go a long way in turning around numerous disease conditions, especially any digestive issues. These live probiotics have enough power to neutralize radioactive material found in human tissue. They also greatly amplify the vitamin content in most food. This article originated at:

The Health Benefits Of Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have been used by human beings for – well probably as long as we have been human. Cave paintings dating back 12,000 years found in Spain, India and South Africa depict images of people gathering honey for a honey wine called Mead – say archaeologists.

The Greeks knew that important chemical changes took place during the fermentation of foods and named this change ”alchemy.”

Obviously we have known all along that fermented foods are highly nutritious and health giving and have always appreciated the rich, tangy and smooth flavours that come from the transforming power of bacteria and fungi.

A few of the more familiar foods we have fermented are coffee, wine, cheese, miso and the two that I have fermented and enjoyed – yoghurt and sauerkraut.

The fermentation of dairy products, preservation of vegetables and fruits by lacto fermenting them has numerous advantages beyond that of simply preserving them.

The proliferation of lactobacilli enhances digestion, increases vitamin levels and produces enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti carcinogenic substances.

These foods are loaded with the same friendly bacteria that line your digestive tract. This bacteria is known as intestinal flora or probiotics.

Benefits of fermented foods are:

  • Preservation of food through the organisms producing alcohol, lactic acid and acetic acid which are all ”bio preservatives” that prevent spoilage and retain nutrients.
  • Increased digestibility of the food and the foods that are eaten with it. Soybeans are a good example of a high protein food that is indigestible unless it has been fermented. Milk and grains are others.
  • Creation of new nutrients. Microbial cultures create B vitamins as they go through their various cycles. These include folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and biotin.
  • Some fermented foods have been shown to act as antioxidants attacking cancer precursors known as ”free radicals” from your cells.
  • Lactobacilli, the microbes in yoghurt create omega 3 fatty acids which are essential fatty acids which have a whole host of benefits including combating inflammation and strengthening the immune system.

These ”live” foods are directly supplying your digestive tract with living cultures that are responsible for breaking down food and assimilating nutrients.

Let’s take a look at my favourite fermented food sauerkraut.


sauerkrautFermenting your own Sauerkraut or cultured vegetables is a practice that had virtually disappeared since the invention of refrigerators and modern food processing, but it’s making a comeback.

Records of Sauerkraut go back as far as 6000 years ago in China. Captain Cook loaded 60 barrels of Sauerkraut on to his ship when he went on his second around the world voyage.

After nearly 28 months at sea he opened his last barrel and gave some to several Portuguese noblemen who had came on board. After tasting the Kraut they carried that last barrel away with them to share with their friends.

Even after all of that time at sea, in spite of the constant rocking of the ship and the different climate changes the Sauerkraut was perfectly preserved.

It had provided the whole crew with sufficient vitamin C to prevent them from getting scurvy and not a single case was recorded on Cook’s ship at a time when scurvy was decimating crews on voyages of that length.

Sauerkraut is a super food and is loaded with:

  • Enzymes
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Trace minerals
  • Beneficial flora

Regular consumption of these cultured vegetables or lactic acid-fermented foods also provides the body with hydrochloric acid and enzymes.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from eating Sauerkraut:

  • Helps re-establish your inner ecosystem
  • Improves digestion
  • The enzymes in the cultured vegetables also help you digest other foods that are eaten with them
  • Increased longevity
  • Control of cravings
  • Ideal for pregnant women and nursing mothers
  • Raw cultured vegetables like sauerkraut are cleansing and balance the PH of the body
  • Calming to the nervous system
  • Stimulate peristalsis (bowel movement)
  • Improve sleep
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Strengthens the heart

That’s some list of health giving benefits like that and it costs pennies to make a huge batch that will last months.

Here is a sauerkraut recipe. Try this delicious super food out – you’d pay a fortune for a supplement that gives you these benefits.

Sauerkraut recipe

Makes 1 quart

1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded

1 tablespoon of caraway seeds

1 tablespoon of celtic sea salt

4 tablespoons of whey (If not available use 1 extra tablespoon of salt)

In a bowl, mix cabbage with caraway seeds, sea salt and whey. Pound with a wooden or meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices. Place in a quart sized, wide mouthed Mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. The sauerkraut maybe eaten immediately but it improves with age.

From the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

The book Wild Fermentation is a great recipe resource for fermented foods – click here to go back to the 10 healthiest foods.

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