Most of us enjoy having yogurt on a regular basis but generally, the list of fermented foods we know begins and ends with yoghurt. One of the fitness trends that has emerged in recent years is greater awareness about the importance that diet plays in our level of physical fitness. This is where the use of fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, khimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha comes in. Puzzled as to what these terms mean? Don’t worry. Here is a handy guide to the most commonly used fermented foods and the benefits using them on a regular basis can have.
1. Yogurt: Yoghurt is the fermented food that the majority of us are familiar with. It is essentially fermented milk and is one the top probiotic foods. Some of us prefer to have yogurt with lots of sugar and fruit added to offset the taste, but the best yogurt to consume is yogurt that is pure, organic and is obtained from grass-fed animals. If you have a problem with yogurt from cow’s milk, you can get yogurt from sheep’s or goat’s milk.
2. Kefir: Kefir is also derived from milk but typically has more fat, more protein and more probiotics. It is not as thick as yogurt and is high in calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics.
3. Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is a fermented food that has been commonly consumed in Europe and even in China. It is generally made from red or green cabbage and offers plenty of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and B vitamins. It is also rich in minerals like sodium, copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
4. Kimchi: Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from vegetables which can include cabbage and also includes spices like ginger, garlic and pepper. Kimchi is rich in vitamins A, B and C, but is also highly rich in healthy gut-friendly bacteria called lactobacilli, which is also found in yogurt.
5. Miso: Miso is a Japanese food that is made by fermenting soyabeans along with a type of fungus called koji and barley or brown rice. Miso has loads of beneficial bacteria and is a seriously good source of vitamins B, E, K and folic acid.
6. Tempeh: Tempeh is another fermented product derived from soyabeans. In this case, soyabeans is combined with a tempeh starter as in the case of yogurt. After it sits for a day or two, it becomes a hard product that is rich in protein and probiotics. It is not as soft as tofu but does look a lot like tofu.
7. Pickles: Pickled cucumbers, gherkins, lemons, gooseberries all contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, ant-oxidants and probiotic bacteria and they are really yummy too.
8. Kombucha: Can tea be fermented? Yes, kombucha is a fermented product made from black tea and various forms of sugar like honey, cane sugar or fruit. It is rich in probiotics and antioxidants and can reduce your risk of cardiac disease.
In general, the consumption of fermented foods can enhance your gut health and increase your resistance to diseases. It can also reduce your cravings for unhealthy foods like junk food. The presence of more beneficial bacteria in our gut translates into an increase in antibodies and a stronger immune system. When compared to conventional foods, fermented foods provide vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a more readily available form. Hence, along with your New year resolution to improve physical fitness and exercise more, ensure that you take at least one fermented food on a daily basis.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
© 2017 Morjan Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.