Articles by Natural Health Author Barbara Minton

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Are You Getting Enough Fermented Foods for Digestive Bliss?

by Barbara Minton
See all TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton

(The Best Years in Life) Many people wanting to get healthy and stay that way are turning to fermented foods because of their positive action on the digestive system. Among current favorites are kimchi, a rather intense fermented spicy cabbage from Korea, and miso, a bold salty paste made from barley, rice or soybeans from Japan. What isn’t so well known is that several common fermented foods are easily found in the USA, and by incorporating them into your everyday diet, you can see some real results.

What are fermented foods?

Foods that have undergone a process known as lacto-fermentation are classified as fermented foods. During this process the starches and sugars that occur naturally in the food are fed upon by friendly bacteria, and the result is the formation of lactic acid. Beneficial results include the creation of many B-vitamins, enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids, and a multitude of probiotic strains.

The fermentation process stops the degradation of nutrients that would otherwise occur as the food aged, and it breaks the food down into a highly digestible form. This coupled with the probiotics of fermentation are the primary reasons why eating fermented foods improves the digestive process.

Various cultures throughout the world have eaten fermented foods for centuries, but in the West the emphasis on them has declined in direct proportion to the rise of fast and convenience foods. Putting food through lacto-fermentation takes time, something counter to the goals of Big Food.

That’s too bad, because a study published last month, titled Beneficial Microbes: The pharmacy in the gut, documented the gut microbiome in relation to health maintenance and freedom from disease states that span the range from mental health issues to metabolic problems. According to the study team’s abstract, “Probiotics are generally recognized to be a food form of therapy to keep harmful, intestinal microorganisms in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.” The research team also noted that probiotics improve microbial balance in the intestinal tract, and can actually recolonize it after a course of antibiotics.


Leading natural health authority Dr. David Williams says there are still other reasons to eat fermented foods:

As people age their digestive enzymes and juices for good digestion begin to decline. Eating a small portion of fermented foods once or twice daily can turn that around

Fermented foods help the body produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that facilitates nerve impulses. Acetylcholine also helps the release of digestive juices and enzymes from the stomach, pancreas and gallbladder. By producing acetycholine, fermented foods act as the highest quality digestive aids

Eating fermented foods helps diabetics by providing improved pancreatic function. In addition, carbohydrates are predigested, lessening the digestive strain

Fermented foods inhibit or destroy pathogenic bacteria, because they create an acidic environment in the digestive system that pathogens can’t handle. In the early 1950s, during a typhoid fever epidemic, fresh sauerkraut was able to kill the bacteria. Later, German scientists discovered that sourdough bread was effective at killing microbes. It has even been documented that it kills the superbugs resistant to antibiotics

Fermented foods easily found and bought in the US

In this category there is much to choose from. Drew Ramsey MD, author of The Happiness Diet says “Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause damage, while fermented foods heal.” He recommends sauerkraut because of its powerful impact on brain health, depression and anxiety. It’s easy to make sauerkraut at home, and the home version will have no chemical preservatives or added sugar. What it will have is a full complement of enzymes, unlike bottled sauerkraut.

Real pickles are a good choice too. But stay away from the bottled versions which have toxic dyes and have had their enzymes killed.

Fermentation removes any lactose in dairy foods, making them tolerable for almost everyone. Yogurt is the fermented staple for dairy, but don’t forget about cheese, whether it’s cheddar, Swiss, Camembert, or moldy blue or Roquefort. And try some buttermilk or sour cream for a taste sensation. Go for organic from grass fed animals for all dairy products.

To accompany the cheese, how about some wine or beer? These are fermented, while liquor is distilled.

And if you leave your alcohol ferments in contact with the air, the result will be vinegar, a preservative in its own right, and a healthy complement to many dishes. Go organic here too.

See also:

Got Digestive Problems? Eat Foods that Don’t Fight!

10 Tips for Good Digestion – The Foundation of Good Health

Tempeh is a Versatile Complete Protein from Fermented Soy

The Importance of Digestive Enzymes for Health and Longevity

For more information:

About the author:

Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.

See other articles by the Barbara Minton here:

Natural News:

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