Fermented foods: what they are, benefits


Miso, kefir, yogurt, fermented vegetables, kombucha tea, brewer's yeast, they are all fermented foods that can become part of the daily diet, bringing significant benefits to the entire body. All, in general, increase thecontribution pro-biotico for the benefit of the intestine, and the natural defenses of the organism. There fermentation, in addition to preserving food, it also helps digestion because part of the digestion of food is already included in the fermentation process. How does fermentation happen? In short, a food is deprived of itsoxygen and left macerate in a sterile container, usually glass jars. If you add sale one happens lactic fermentationif added vinegar an acetic fermentation, or allowing their own to develop alcoholic ferments.

What is a fermented food?

A fermented food is the result of a biochemical process of yeasts and bacteria, or more generally by microorganisms, which colonize the starting product (vegetables, fruit, milk, soy) and release the energy contained in the sugars or amino acids of the same in order to be able to use it. The food that has been transformed is now much more nutritionally rich.

Fermented foods: what are they?

They are different fermented foods which are a regular part of the daily diet. Some derive from Eastern culture, others, however, from Western and Northern European popular tradition. Among the most common we have:

  • Miso: it is a natural fermented condiment obtained from soy, cereals and whole sea salt widely used for centuries in Japan and China. It is a soft brown pasta that replaces the classic kitchen stock cube in the preparation of vegetables, meat or vegetable broth homemade. The dishes, with a small addition, will be rich in probiotics. Miso regulates intestinal functions and strengthens the immune system.
  • Kimchi: typical very spicy Korean dish based on fermented vegetables: cabbage, radishes, cucumbers and spring onions with the addition of ginger, chilli pepper, garlic, water and salt.
  • Tempeh: versatile food in the kitchen, especially for vegan or vegetarian diets, obtained from fermentation of cooked soybeans. It looks like a sort of dough, ideal for preparing stews, chilli and for filling fresh pasta ravioli.
  • Kefir: fermented drink based on milk and water rich in lactic ferments and active probiotics. In large-scale retail trade, or in organic supermarkets, you can also find yogurt and kefir-based smoothies. Excellent alternative to cow's milk or vegetable drinks for breakfast. It does not contain lactose.
  • Sauerkraut: vegetables traditionally consumed in the northernmost regions of Italy and in northern Europe where the cultivation of cabbage which is fermented with the addition of salt (not vinegar as the characteristic sour taste might suggest).
  • Kombucha: kombucha tea is a drink of oriental origin beneficial for the kidneys, stomach and spleen.
  • Beer
  • Mother yeast: flour, acidified water due to the proliferation of yeasts and lactic bacteria which obviously trigger fermentation. Bread, pizza and leavened products with sourdough are much more digestible than common doughs with brewer's yeast.
  • Gherkins

How to ferment vegetables at home

Preparing fermented vegetables at home is not that complicated: just wash, peel (if necessary), and cut the vegetables. The most suitable are: cabbage, celery, carrots, onion. Quantities:1 kg of vegetables, 10 g of coarse salt and 1 l of water. The vegetables are squeezed to eliminate the juices, closed in a sterilized glass jar, closed and shaken several times a day, but only before fermentation starts, so as to oxygenate the contents. The vegetables will be fermented and consumed after approximately 3 weeks. They keep for about a year. Beware of Botox. Fermented foods can to perish. Attention must be paid to the times and methods of conservation and especially to botulinum toxin. In reality, if fermentation starts, such a high acidity develops (pH 3 or 4) that it inhibits the proliferation of dangerous bacteria.

Properties of fermented foods

I fermented foods they do well and are necessary especially because of the probiotics. They improve the quality of our immune system, helping us to prevent disorders especially of the oral and gastro-intestinal system. Among the general benefits brought by the consumption of fermented foods, we find:

Fermented foods: contraindications

These are foods that are mostly beneficial for health and intestinal balance, but they should always be consumed with the right moderation. Excessive consumption of fermented foods can have laxative effects and some, such as milk, contain a lot of sugars, although dairy fermentation reduces the levels of complex sugars and lactose present in cheesesin a natural way.


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