Did you know that around the world the role of fermentation as medicine was practiced widely? Fermented foods are good mood foods. They feed the good bacteria in your gut (gastrointestinal tract). Maintaining healthy bacteria in your gut supports brain health.[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Drew Ramsey, MD” source_title=”Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety” full_quote=”Throughout history, fermented foods have provided bacteria in the diet. All traditional cultures fermented their foods, live in and with nature, and ate from it in a way that promoted a now endangered diversity of gut microbes. Food fermentation dates back more than seven thousand years to wine making in the Middle East. The Chinese were fermenting cage six thousand years ago. Although for centuries civilizations didn’t understand the mechanisms behind the fermentation process, the health benefits associated with fermented foods were intuited” short_quote=”Throughout history, fermented foods have provided bacteria in the diet”]
We are re-learning the importance of eating fermented foods because they are
- are rich in enzymes, and vitamins
- “predigest” nutrients so they are more easily digested
- serve as natural antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals
- regulate immunity
- control inflammation
- suppress the growth of harmful bacteria
- enhance good bacteria and minerals in your gut
- help maintain the integrity of the intestinal lining (prevent leaky gut/Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Fermented foods seem especially important for people with anxiety.
What foods are fermented?
- Natural (no sugar) yogurt and kefir (like yogurt, but more liquid)
- Pickles and other fermented vegetables – look for unpasteurized foods picked in brine, not vinegar
- Kombucha – originated in China, it’s a fermented tea, effervescent and sour. It is very beneficial for the health of the microbiome
- Kimchi – the Korean cousin to sauerkraut. It is fermented vegetable dish that usually includes Chinese (Napa) cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, radish, green onions, ginger, and salt. The cabbage and vegetables are soaked in salty brine, then rinsed prior to fermenting
- Miso –made from fermented soybeans or grains. It is a smooth paste made from cooked soybeans, salt, a fermenting agent, and water. It adds beneficial bacteria oto the diet and a high dose of protein and B vitamins. Also, calcium, zinc, iron, copper and magnesium
These foods are rich in beneficial bacteria. This bacteria is exceptionally bioavailable, in other words, easily accepted by your body. This bacteria also produces B vitamins so important for your brain.[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Kelly Brogan, MD” source_title=”A Mind of Your Own” full_quote=”Kefir is a natural tranquilizer with a rich supply of tryptophan, calcium, magnesium. Kefir is rich in B vitamins. Eat only full-fat yogurt without additives and artificial sweeteners.” ” short_quote=”Kefir is a natural tranquilizer with a rich supply of tryptophan, calcium, magnesium”]
“Kefir is a natural tranquilizer with a rich supply of tryptophan, calcium, magnesium. Kefir is rich in B vitamins. Eat only full-fat yogurt without additives and artificial sweeteners.” Kelly Brogan, A Mind of Your Own
These foods also “feed” the beneficial bacteria in your gut
- Onions and garlic, raw and cooked
What to Do?
- Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water and sip throughout the day to boost energy and balance the pH of the body
- Add yogurt and/or kefir to breakfast smoothies, granola, overnight oats and salad dressings
- Eat a variety of fermented foods
- Start by eating cultured vegetables like sauerkraut and pickles
- Have you own pickling adventure!
Fermenting foods is new for me. Here are a couple I found easy to do. Give it try! Let me know how it goes.
Easy Pickled Vegetables – Paleo Hacks
Pickled Beets – Simply Recipes
Perfect Pickled Peppers – Frugal Mom