Why is gut health so important?
Between 70 -80% of the immune system is housed in your gut, more and more research is now indicating the link between gut health and general health. With-out beneficial microbes the body struggles and may even fail to perform some vital functions
Think; 'Healthy gut, healthy body, healthy mind'!
The following short animation beautifully illustrates and explains the 'Human Microbiome’ (the bugs that live inside us); https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5DTrENdWvvM
The following short TedTalk addresses the connection between the gut and the brain; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWT_BLVOASI
How do I include fermented foods in my diet?
Traditionally people made their own, they also however, milked their cow, harvested their crops and raised their herds. If you would like to learn how to produce your own fermented foods we do run workshops/attend events, however we recommend if you are new to fermented products that you start by purchasing some of the commercially available fermented products, to allow you to work out how to use them and which ones you like
Drink fermented beverages;
Make your social drink of choice a fermented one! Drink daily and incorporate in smoothies, juices or your favourite recipesKombucha on tap Healing Botanicals
Eat fermented vegetables;
Many people are keen to make their own fermented vegetables. Using a starter culture insure your efforts have the greatest opportunity to succeed.Make your own using Starter Culture for Fresh Vegetables
When first introducing fermented vegetables treat them as a condiment. This is important. The enhanced flavour of fermented vegetables, means a little amount goes a long way. Using them as you would a condiment allows you to adjust to the new delicious flavour profile, whilst @ 1 tablespoon/meal will provide you with all the benefits referred to.
Alternately you could buy a commercial product. Be sure to read the label and look for references to ‘living’, ‘raw’, ‘unpasteurised’ ‘cultured’ all of which indicate the producer has gone to some lengths to produce a whole nourishing food for you to enjoy and benefit from.
Fermentation; what is it, how does it work, why is it important?
Fermentation is a term used to describe an ancient process of preserving or preparing traditional nourishing foods.
Fermentation of food occurs when microbes (‘bugs’ or bacteria & yeast) convert naturally occurring sugars/carbohydrates in the food, into other substances. These other substances can become either simpler forms of ‘food’ or more enhanced/complex.
Fermentation enhances real food by
- developing the flavour, aroma and texture of the food
- creating beneficial acids, enzymes and antioxidants your body desires
- preserving the food when seasonally in abundance, by the production of beneficial acids, which in turn aid digestion
- helps eliminate anti-nutrients (components that naturally occur in the food that stop us from absorbing beneficial compounds within that food)
- provides beneficial microbes (bugs or bacteria/yeast etc), which our body requires for good health (sometimes referred to by marketing departments as probiotics) - if supplied unpasteurised.
How does fermentation work?
Fermented foods are now creating quite a stir in regards to improved health and in particular the health of our gut, gateway to our body.
Fermentation of food occurs when microbes (‘bugs’ or bacteria & yeast) convert naturally occurring sugars/carbohydrates in the food, when the ideal environment is created, into other substances.
A simple model:
Fermented foods can also be referred to as functional foods, cultured foods, brewed foods, pre-digested foods, preserved foods, pickled foods. All of these terms are making reference to the process undertaken on our behalf by these microscopic, living creatures, which effectively predigest our food for us, making absorption easier, and creating many beneficial ingredients.
These living organisms are found naturally in our soil, on our food and in our gut. As if by design we have all that we need within a healthy natural ecosystem to provide the nourishment our bodies require.
Traditionally when preparing fermented foods, people from all cultures relied on the the microbes that are present within their natural environment to undertake the ferment for them. Resulting in products like cheese, yoghurts, kimchee, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, wine, beer, cider, vinegar, cured meats.
Today we ‘culture’ some of these microbes (grow them) to add to commercial quantities of ingredients to produce these foods on a mass scale. In most instances the industrialisation of our food supply means that it is easier to replace traditional methods with other preserving techniques including chemical preservatives, high temperatures and radiation. Unlike the traditional method of fermenting, these other methods can result in poor nutrient content, denatured enzymes, lost antioxidants/vitamins and a loss of flavour and texture, resulting in need to add chemical-based flavour enhances, salt and sugars.