I don’t know about you all, but fermented foods like kimchi and pickles are my favorite. Their tangy, acidic flavors are just so delicious and unique. They’re sort of like pallet cleansers, if you know what I mean. And the best part? They’re real healthy…
Fermentation is basically this process in which a bunch of yeasts/bacteria convert the sugar/carbs in certain foods into acids/alcohol. You might recognize the look of diced vegetables just sitting in glass jars with a clear liquid. That’s an example of fermentation! Foods that undergo this process can have huge health benefits. The process of fermentation will create certain probiotics that help balance stomach acids. This leads to a smoother digestive system. In addition, these probiotics will boost your immune system and help defend against certain diseases. Have diarrhea problems? Have heart issues? Fermented foods are 100% for you.
You’re probably wondering, “Ok, if they’re so healthy. Where do I start?” Here are some common fermented food products that you might just want to check out:
- Pickles: These salty, sour vegetables fit right into sandwiches, burgers, and more! Though to be honest, consuming them whole isn’t so bad…
- Miso: It might just be the most common seasoning in all of Japan. Its diverse flavor has found a home in so many dishes (miso soup is by far the most popular) and restaurants around the world. Lately, with the rise of Asian Fusion businesses, miso is being found in more and more non-traditional products such as tofu.
- Kimchi: It’s the classic Korean appetizer/side dish. Plain old cabbage, both spicy and sour. Not an immediate fan of kimchi? Eating it with a little rice or noodles will certainly help assuage the fiery taste.
- Yogurt: Who knew that such a staple food in American breakfast was actually a result of fermentation? Obviously products like vanilla yogurt aren’t going to give you as much of a health benefit, but if you enjoy this stuff even a little, it’s still a win-win.
- Sauerkraut: A classic hot-dog topping, sauerkraut is excellent for providing a contrast to proteins, carbohydrates, or other vapid food items. You won’t even know it’s doing wonders for you body when you devour it by the scoop!
The bottom line is, fermented foods obviously aren’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to give them a shot in your diet, you’ll only receive positive results. I don’t want to encumber you with the task of trying a fermented food this week. However, if you do so happen to find an interest in anything from the list above (I’m betting that a lot of you already do), I do highly encourage you to try something new, as always. If approached right, fermented foods sort of fall into that “healthy-licious” category. With a little research, I’m sure that you’ll find that they’re more ubiquitous and abundant than you think. They’re probably not going to be your #1 choice when it comes down to eating, but I can say that it’s real nice to have so many healthy side options to supplement your daily meals. So, if you’re looking for a way to eat healthier and explore a new type of food? Go fermented all the way!