Fermented Foods

Fermentation is a natural process through which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria convert carbs — such as starch and sugar — into alcohol or acids. The fermentation technique was used as a way of preserving foods and drinks from ancient times before the days of refrigeration. The alcohol or acids act as a natural preservative and give fermented foods distinctive, strong, slightly sour flavours. Fermentation also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics. Probiotics have been shown to help a multitude of health issues, especially digestive health.

Before you plunge yourself into consuming large amounts of fermented foods, take note of the following if you are new to such foods.

Fermented foods are generally safe for most people. However, some individuals may experience some initial side effects.

Due to the high probiotic content of fermented foods, you may experience a temporary increase in gas and bloating, and possibly some changes to your bowel habits. It is best to start small and allow some time for your gut to adjusts to the new diet. This should only last a few weeks.

It is important to check the nutrition labels of the fermented foods as some products may contain high levels of added sugar, salt, and fat.

If you are fermenting at home, make sure you follow recipes closely for safety purposes. Incorrect temperatures, fermentation times, or unsterile equipment can cause the food to spoil, making it unsafe to eat.

Common fermented foods:

  • Milk kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Cheese
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sourdough bread