Fermented foods are officially making a comeback! People are talking about the health benefits of fermented foods more often than ever. Each culture has its own traditional fermented foods and we all are used to eating them whether we realize it or not.
I was born and raised in Japan where plenty of fermented foods were created and supported many people’s health. In my opinion, Japanese cuisine is one of the healthiest choices, because of its plant and seafood-based diet. Also a variety of fermented foods are usually provided at each Japanese meal.
Three main purposes of fermenting foods are:
- Naturally preserve foods
- Add distinctive taste and flavor
- Add extra nutrients and increase bioavailability
Probiotics are found in fermented foods and are essential for optimal gut health. Especially now that researchers are focusing on the importance of gut health as a root factor in maintaining health, improving gut health is a first step for overall well-being.
Fermented foods are encouraged to be eaten regularly to maintain adequate amounts of heathy gut bacteria in our intestines. This can also help in eliminating bad bacteria, fungus and other pathogens from our bodies.
Here are some fermented foods in Japan:
- Soy sauce
- Natto (fermented soy beans)
- Tsukemono (wide variety of pickled vegetables)
- Umeboshi (salt-pickled plum)
- Sake (rice wine)
Other fermented foods from the world:
- Germany- Sauerkraut, pickled gherkins, sourdough pretzels
- Swiss- cheese
- Italy- salami, preserved olives
- Turkey- ayran (salty yogurt drink)
- Korea- kimchi
- India- lassi (yogurt-based drink)
There are so many varieties of tasty fermented foods available today. Consuming more than one kind (ideally three or more) different fermented foods daily is recommended, because each food contains different strains of healthy bacteria and more strains are beneficial for optimal gut health.
All is well and all the best!