Fermented foods. They seem to be all the rage these days, but what exactly are they? Well, some great examples are sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt and cheese.

Fermented foods are foods that have been through lacto-fermentation, a process where bacteria feed on sugar and starch in food, creating lactic acid. To put it more simply, these foods are ‘alive.’ They all have high active cultures (bacteria) within them called probiotics.

Benefits of fermented foods 

Probiotics help aid digestion and change the food we consume into energy and nutrients. Adding probiotics to your diet also plays a large role in overall health and well-being. They can help boost the immune system, sustain a positive mentality, increase energy levels, help manage skin conditions and more!

Helps absorb food
Having a healthy gut will help your digestive enzymes work to the best of their ability. They will ensure you’re absorbing enough of the nutrients in the food you eat. This way, you won’t need as many supplements and vitamins as you will be reaping the benefits directly from your food itself.

Helps preserve food
Homemade anything usually has a pretty short shelf life. Fermented foods can last much longer! Lacto-fermentation allows you to store foods for longer periods of time without losing nutrients.

How to incorporate them into your diet
So, you’re convinced you need to add more fermented foods into your diet, but how? First, make a list of fermented foods (like the list provided below). Identify which foods you have tried and know you like versus ones you’re not as familiar with. Plan to include as least one per day into your daily regime. Then, experiment with making your own version of some of these to increase the probiotics contained within them.

The next goal is to try each new fermented food at the pace of 1 or 2 per week. Ensure these foods are being fermented in the traditional manner to start, with a little sugar and not just vinegar brine. Plan your nutrition each week so that there is always liberal inclusion of these foods in your life and your body will thank you.

Fermented foods:
Plain yogurt
Sourdough bread (traditionally prepared)
Traditionally fermented veggies (not fermented in vinegar)
Experiment with making condiments (like fermented mayo)