Why You Should Overeat Fermented Foods

Kimchi in korean restaurantHere’s an idea – a seemingly unpalatable idea – let’s all eat fermented food, on purpose! The very thought defies common nutrition logic that the healthiest foods are usually the freshest. With health and nutrition experts constantly extolling the value of fresh unadulterated food to high heaven, why on earth should we even begin to consider trying out food that is associated with terms such as chemical reaction, micro-organisms and bacteria?

The practice of eating fermented food, however, has been widely observed by wisdom-bearing ancients such as the Romans who ate slow-fermented bread and the Inuit who favored fermented whale, for thousands of years. Modern man often partakes of fermented foods as well, perhaps even without his knowledge.

Leavened bread, wines, yogurt, beer, cider, ketchup, and some cheeses are all fermented.

Just what exactly lies beneath the science of fermentation?

Basically, fermentation is a natural food preservation technique and chemical process which allows bacteria and micro-organisms that are inherently found in certain foods to break down the sugars and starches also contained within the food.

It may simply entail keeping vegetables that are immersed in salt water in airtight jars or introducing starter cultures of bacteria to food. Whatever method is utilized, the end result is an easily-digestible product that is teeming with organisms and enzymes that yield untold benefits to the consumer.

The Real Reasons Why You Should Eat More Fermented Food

While the idea of eating fermented food churns our stomach, the reality is that it is actually very helpful not only to our stomach but to our entire digestive system. Since, as mentioned, fermentation itself comprises the partial digestion and breaking down of food into simpler components even before it is consumed, such a process inevitably results in more efficient digestion. As an example, lactose-intolerant individuals are more likely to eat kefir or yogurt without incident, precisely because the lactose is already broken down in the process of fermenting milk into kefir or yogurt.

It is the action of enzymes and probiotics present in fermented foods that is responsible for supplying  our intestines and gut with Lactobacilli and for further contributing to healthy digestion. Replenishing our supply of enzymes is particularly important because as we grow older, our body’s ability to produce enzymes deteriorates, contributing to problems such as viral infections, cardiovascular concerns, diabetes, obesity and depression, to name a few.

Fermented foods happen to be replete with healthy and useful enzymes that augment our body’s supply to enable it to digest and absorb nutrients more efficiently and to make the most of nutrients found in food. Enzymes and probiotics similarly assist in detoxifying the body and in reducing stomach disorders. Moreover, probiotic-rich fermented foods allow us to counteract the ills of consuming an overdose of sugar and refined carbohydrates which our regular diet usually consists of.

Fortifying Our Immune System

It is important to note, in addition, that the digestive system is a major element of our body’s immune system. Therefore, what is beneficial for the digestive system inevitably promotes corresponding improvements on our body’s ability to ward off illness. Research has shown that, with regular consumption of fermented foods, stronger resistance to different illnesses such as the flu and cold, as well as infections, is observed.

Enhancing Mental and Psychological Health

Studies further offer confirmation that probiotics present in fermented foods help minimize stress. With regular consumption of fermented foods, such as sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), benefits for brain health are noted, while depression and anxiety are alleviated. Another type of fermented cabbage, the Korean kimchi, on the other hand, wields wonders on the body by raising energy levels, promoting more effective assimilation of nutrients and enhancing skin appearance. When our body is healthy and is working optimally, our general disposition consequently and significantly improves, and we enjoy the benefits of feeling and looking great as well.

Facilitating Weight Loss

Fermented foods have also been reported to contribute to weight loss. By making us feel fuller, our appetite is quenched and our food cravings are controlled. Sourdough bread, rather than regular bread made with commercial yeast, illustrates this action perfectly. In addition to the health benefits of eating fermented food that have already been mentioned, taking the fermented food route also permits us to maintain the body’s pH levels at a balance.

The Ills of Sterilization

Another cause for concern is the public’s current fixation and over emphasis on sterilization of food which unfortunately results in the destruction and subsequent absence of probiotics from our diet. Research has shown that some of our health practices, such as the taking of antibiotics, chlorinating our water and sterilizing our food, actually result in the destruction of good bacteria as well as the bad. Thus, it becomes imperative for us to take steps to make sure that we have the essential quantity of probiotics and good bacteria.

Fermented Foods You Should Eat

Coconut yogurt is one such way of incorporating probiotics and enzymes into our nutritional regime, that is both mouth-watering and dairy-free.

Kefir, on the other hand, is a yogurt like drink that can be made from any type of milk, cow, goat or sheep, coconut, rice or soy. The difference between the two lies in what’s used for fermentation. To make yogurt, you simply use bacteria, while kefir calls for both bacteria and yeast. Kefir actually helps to colonize your intestinal tracts, which yogurt does not.

Next, kombucha or fermented black tea, is another food that boasts a multitude of strength-giving microorganisms, as does miso, a salty and nutty concoction of fermented grains and soybeans.

Miso contains microorganisms in tens of millions as well as a hefty dose of potassium, both of which improve body strength and stamina. Miso soup is an easy favorite of many consumers as it is genuinely delicious with onions, mushrooms and bok choy.

On the other hand, no other food can hold a candle to tempeh or fermented soybeans, when it comes to meeting the body’s protein and amino acid requirements.

Fermented foods pack a fine wallop indeed! For many individuals, fermented food equals more flavor. A common favorite is the pickle which offers a familiar and easily-loved tart taste. There is also good reason why we cannot seem to enjoy some foods without that crucial smidgen of ketchup.

As if all these gains were not enough, fermented foods have one more undeniable plus factor. They are more convenient and practical to have around. They last much longer than fresh food, from 6 – 8 months when refrigerated, thus reducing food spoilage and allowing us to keep food wastage at a minimum. Hence, they are also more cost-effective.

Fermented foods should be eaten on a regular basis for us to reap and maximize their benefits. While we may initially assume that this is a difficult feat to achieve, incorporating fermented foods into our diet is much easier than it sounds. Most fermented foods go very well with salads. You may also simply add dollops of ketchup, salsa, mayonnaise or sour cream, or include pickles, kimchi or sauerkraut as sidings to your favorite dishes. You may satisfy your cravings, on the other hand, with kefir ice cream then cap off your meal with some mead, kombucha tea or a kefir smoothie.

Doing It Right

A bit of caution, though, should be observed when buying commercially-made fermented foods as these may contain too much salt, added sugar and chemical preservatives. The store-bought variants are also more likely to have undergone pasteurization and be over processed. Consequently, these would have been subjected to extremely high temperatures that completely destroy the benefits of fermented foods. Raw fermented foods, such as cultured cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, radishes and beets, that are stored at room temperature for several days are usually preferred.

When it comes to fermented foods, the adage of “A little goes a long way,” is quite fitting and undeniably true. It is mind-blowing to realize that a very modest daily serving, even a few mouthfuls of miso soup or one spoonful of cottage cheese, is all you need to attain significant health benefits. If you are a novice at incorporating fermented foods into your diet, starting slowly and giving your body time to adjust is highly recommended.

Staying healthy has never been as much fun and quirky as it is with fermented foods. With sufficient sleep, appropriate exercise and a proper diet that includes a wide variety of fermented foods, the pathway to health will be as sure as the tanginess of the pickle and as exciting as the colors of kimchi.

If you are suffering from bloating, gas, digestive issues, you might want to take good care of your gut and digestive system. Go to the next page and watch the 3 tips for better gut and digestive presentation.





About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.

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27 responses to “Why You Should Overeat Fermented Foods”

  1. Valerie Avatar

    Thanks for the information. I’ve been having stomach issues for months and I’m going to try everything you recommended.

  2. Tricia Avatar

    As we get older, digestion becomes more difficult. I appreciate information of this type that can increase health without the use of drugs.

  3. Maggie Crooks Avatar
    Maggie Crooks

    I find that I enjoy many fermented foods. I love cabbage in any form, and kimchi is one of my favorites. Thanks for your article.

  4. Janie Marie Shelton Avatar

    Thanks for info. I have always put these foods in my diet over the years but kimchi was new. Thank you.

  5. Bonita Williams Avatar
    Bonita Williams

    Thank you so very much for this information, I believe it will serve very useful for my health.

  6. BJ Avatar

    I thought these articles were supposed to be about alkalizing. You have got some seriously high acid stuff on these lists. Some of them even contain white vinegar which is deadly for those who need to avoid high acids.

  7. Colleen Avatar

    If refrigerated probiotics are not available, is it sensible to by them online and have probiotics mailed to you? Or are they then void of the good bacteria we’re after?

    1. admin Avatar

      Hi Colleen, some probiotics can be left at room temperature for a couple of days or weeks and the quality of good bacteria is still intact. It depends on the capsules used and the quality of the probiotics.

  8. Joan Brown Avatar
    Joan Brown

    Kombucha & fermented veggies has sure helped heal my
    sore gut after having diverticulosis which led to surgery.
    I also have type 2 diabetes and the benefits of the
    fermented food diet & using less insulin has helped me so

  9. Charles Sproull Avatar
    Charles Sproull

    I know people who have ulsers in their gut and their doctor prescribed Goat Milk.

  10. Gazelle Avatar


  11. Charlotte McAlevey Avatar
    Charlotte McAlevey

    Don’t see a link to order!

  12. Henrietta Shaw Avatar
    Henrietta Shaw

    i would love to have a list of the fermented foods you have talked about. I have suffered for years with IBS, bloating …
    I do suffer from indigestion from cabbage and foods in that family. Even cottage cheese gives me indigestion and I love it. What can I do to rid self of the pain of indigestion when I eat these foods?
    Thanks for your help

  13. irene Avatar

    fermented food esp raw fermented food are NOT available in stores So your article is useless and depressing

    1. debbie gay Avatar
      debbie gay

      all health food stores have fermented food in fridge, expensive but delicious

  14. Susan Avatar

    Thank you. Looks like we have been enjoying some of your suggestions and we are glad to hear it includes beer and wine.;+) But we will also look into adding some fermented items to our diet. At our over 60 age it certainly has to be helpful.

  15. Ann Avatar

    Those who have hearing loss are not able to follow videos that are not close-captioned. It would be much appreciated to provide the helpful information in print to read. Also, simple (good reviews) of fresh fermented recipes to share would be great.

  16. Barbara Avatar


  17. MONA Avatar

    I am heading for the supermarket now.. I was getting sluggish forgetting how and what to eat.and drink..to feel better. Thanks..

  18. Subbaiah.sv Avatar

    Very interesting and useful information.thanks

  19. Ingrid Coleman Avatar
    Ingrid Coleman

    Enjoyed the article very much. Luckily I have no problems and have been drinking a cup of kafir every day for at least a year.

  20. Freddi Wellman Avatar
    Freddi Wellman

    Pickle juice helps if I get indigestion

  21. Bob Brenny Avatar
    Bob Brenny

    It has been 10 years since my last colonconscopy. That one came out fine. I am 70 years old. Do you recommend doing one or should I do something like cologuard on an annual basis?

  22. E.S. Harrison Avatar
    E.S. Harrison

    If you are taking an MAO inhibitor for depression, be very careful of fermented, cured or smoked foods. They can cause stroke and possible death…

  23. Elsie D Angelo Avatar
    Elsie D Angelo

    I’ve read so much about things I shouldn’t eat.I don’t my teeth any more.I’m way over weight.if I quit eating and drinking what very body said. I would starve. I drink lots of water now. I was drinking milk for bones because i can’t chew or swallow calcium pills. People are saying that what I thought was good for you is not good.I’m a confuse person.It would cheaper if didn’t eat.I read your articles and still don’t know what I can and can not have..

  24. Ash Fresna Avatar
    Ash Fresna

    Yay! Time for more Gut Shot!!! I think everyone should try the amazing products from Farmhouse Culture! I started out trying a product called Gut Shot- a sauerkraut juice, ginger and beet juice drink. I found it to be a great friend for those that have slow moving bowels. (That would be my problem unfortunately…) I love this product!!! The taste was something to acquire but after a while my body started craving its pickle like flavor. The newest product that I tried was their Kraut Krisps. The flavor I tried was smoked jalapenos. Super tasty! My advice, don’t be afraid of fermented foods especially if you are experiencing digestive issues like chronic constipation!

  25. Victoriae Pennington Avatar
    Victoriae Pennington

    I have lived with a bloated belly all my 65 yrs. Seems i bloat at everything i eat…obviously eating the wrong things. I do love sauerkraut but cannot get by without brown sugar in it. I never knew ketchup was good for us..always thought it was fattening. What kind of pickle? Dill or which one? How can i find out more about this subject? I live on SS abd cannot afford the products you advertise. It would be wonderful to get healthy food advice without having to pay for it.

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