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Fermented foods and drinks rich in probiotics have shown an increase in popularity these days due to their numerous health benefits.
Looking to learn more about it? Take a look at this guide:
What Are Fermented Foods?
Fermented foods and drinks are the kind of products that have been under a control microbial growth and fermentation. This is an anaerobic process where yeast and bacteria break down sugars, turning them into other products like acids or alcohol.
This is precisely what makes fermented foods so attractive in taste, aroma and look.
You can find thousands of different types of fermented food and drinks. Some of them are, for instance, cultured milk and yogurt, beer, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut and so on.
This type of food have been extremely valued through history because the process made the food last longer while still smelling and tasting equally unique and amazing. Fermentation can also make some of the inedible food very edible – take olives, for example. Raw, they are bitter because of their phenolic compounds but when you ferment them, they taste great.
Fermentation also has many health benefits:
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Lower risk of developing diabetes
- Reduced risk of obesity – better weight management
- Better mood and brain activity
- Increased bone health
- Better recovery after exercise
So, how do they help the heart? Well, they may decrease the lipoprotein cholesterol but the evidence of this is still limited. Another explanation would be that they have bioactive peptides, vitamins produced during fermentation. These elements have some of the key roles in the body like immunity, nerve function and blood health.
Health benefits of fermented foods and drinks depend on the type of food and drink that you take. So, for instance, fermented milk can reduce muscle soreness while yogurt reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
7 Probiotic-Rich Foods to Improve Your Gut Health
Fermented foods and drinks are also excellent probiotic, keeping your gut healthy and clean.
Probiotics are good bacteria.
We have a lot of them in our digestive systems and they help us maintain weight, digest and process food better and more.
Consuming fermented food helps you maintain the healthy level of probiotics in your body.
Here are seven great fermented items that you can get to increase your gut health:
Kefir is made of milk which has been fermented with kefir grains which make the drink resemble yogurt in taste yet the texture is thicker and grainier. These kefir grains are made of bacteria and yeast.
Kefir has many health benefits ranging from better digestion to better bone health.Kefir can also improve the condition in lactose intolerant people.
This beverage can also reduce inflammation which later causes heart disease.
You can either purchase kefir or make it yourself if you have the kefir grains.
This is a Korean side dish. It’s made with cabbage which has been fermented and people add other vegetables on occasion. It’s really popular and simple to make – it goes well with almost any meal.
Other than being very tasty, it also features a wide array of health benefits – it has proven to be effective in lowering cholesterol and insulin resistance.
People with prediabetes had fresh or fermented kimchi for eight weeks, after which their insulin resistance and weight decreased. Another study has shown that the higher intake of kimchi decreases blood sugar, bad cholesterol and blood cholesterol.
Kimchi is really easy to make and you can add it to your usual meals simply. If you don’t want to make it, you can get it in a lot of restaurants or in grocery stores.
Kombucha is a fermented version of green or black tea. In addition to being tasty, it also has many health benefits like decreasing liver toxicity, preventing cancer from spreading and so on.
It reduces blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides as well.
You can find kombucha in most grocery stores and you can also make it yourself.
Miso is a common seasoning in the Japanese cuisine, made by fermenting soybeans with koji fungus and salt.
Besides having a probiotic content, studies have shown numerous health benefits of miso.
One study linked miso soup to less risk for breast cancer in women. It also helps in lowering blood pressure. Miso helps the heart and prevents a stroke.
You can consume it in the soup but you can also glaze it over cooked vegetables and use it as a salad dressing or meat marinade.
Tempeh consists of soybeans which have been fermented and pressed into a cake. It’s firm yet chewy and you can bake it or steam it before adding it to dishes.
In addition to being full of protein, it has an impressive probiotic content and many health promoting nutrients.
For instance, soy protein reduces heart disease risk factors and high cholesterol as well as triglycerides. Studies have also shown that certain elements of tempeh can reduce the buildup of the free radicals which contribute to the chronic disease. It’s great for vegetarians and meat eaters as well because you can use it for sandwiches, stir-fries and take advantage of numerous health benefits.
Yogurt is made from fermented milk. It has many important nutrients like riboflavin, calcium, potassium, phosphorous and so on. Because of this, it shows numerous health benefits.
It reduces blood pressure and improves bone mineral density as well as physical function in older adults. It also lowers body weight.
Not all yogurt has these health benefits – some don’t contain the amount of probiotics because they are killed during processing. Look for yogurts that contain a good dose of live cultures and have the least amount of sugar added.
This is a popular dish made of fermented cabbage. Sauerkraut has little calories but a lot of vitamins and antioxidants.
Because of these antioxidants, sauerkraut can also have a positive effect on cancer prevention.
Sauerkraut is a great addition to any food.
How Will Probiotics Help Your Diet?
Probiotics are great elements in any food and they can help your organism send food through your digestive system by affecting nerves which control your gut movement.
Scientists are still trying to figure out which are the best for your health problems.
However, some of the most common conditions they are recommended for are the irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, infectious diarrhea and other digestive tract problems. They have also been known for helping problems in other parts of the body like calming various skin conditions, urinary and vaginal health, preventing colds and allergies as well as oral health.
Still, one of their most known effect is keeping the levels of good bacteria in your body at an optimal level which helps solve various digestive issues and lowering body weight.
Possible Side Effects of Eating Fermented Foods
Fermented food and drinks can also have some unpleasant side effects. Here are some of them:
- Unpleasant digestive symptoms – Things like increase in bloating, gas and so on. There is also a chance of constipation or an increase in thirst.
- Headaches – Amines in the probiotics can cause headaches for some people.
- Increases histamine levels – Some probiotics can cause increased histamine levels in your blood vessels which tells the body that it’s in danger. This means that there is a chance of inflammation, redness or allergies in some people.
- Adverse reactions – Some people are simply allergic to some supplements and can’t consume dairy, soy or other allergens. So, instead of causing a positive effect, the probiotic rich food can cause allergic reactions.
- Increase in infection risk – While probiotics are great for some people, they may not be so good for all people. Test yourself first with small dosages.
Probiotics are really helpful for most people. However, there could be some unwanted effects in others so it’s best to either consult the doctors, test yourself with small dosages at first or take probiotic supplements which contain no known allergens.
What Are the Best Probiotics to Take?
In case you can’t consume food which contains probiotics, it’s best to look for other solutions and pick the right probiotic supplement to boost your health.
Do a thorough research and discuss this with your doctors before you purchase any supplements. Check all of the elements of a probiotic name. Different strains work for different health conditions.
Here are some of them:
- Helps your skin, vaginal health and prevent diarrhea – Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Gives GI support and helps eczema – Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Helps fight inflammation – Lactobacillus plantarum
- Helps brain function and diarrhea – Lactobacillus casei
- Improves immunity – Bifidobacterium lactis
- Helps with constipation and brain function – Bifidobacterium longum
- Increases immunity, gives GI support – Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Good against aging and gives GI support – Bifidobacterium breve
- Skin and GI support – Streptococcus thermophilus
No matter which probiotic or fermented food you choose, it’s important that you are sure that you have picked what’s best for your health.
Consult your doctors and do a lot of research before using probiotics.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you.