6 Fermented Foods That Are Helpful With Digestion

by Jenna Crawford November 01, 2017

6 Fermented Foods That Are Helpful With Digestion

Fermentation is a process that involves the breakdown of sugars by bacteria and yeast. Not only does this help enhance the preservation of foods, but eating fermented foods can also boost the number of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, found in your gut. Probiotics have been associated with a variety of health benefits, including improved digestion, better immunity and even increased weight loss. 

The trillions of tiny creatures living in our bodies have been making headlines lately—and for good reasons. These good bacteria—particularly those in our gut—may improve digestion, boost immunity and they may even help us get leaner. Research is still emerging on just how important these mighty microbes might be for our health, but the early results are promising. There’s plenty you can do now to encourage their growth. The most effective way is by eating foods packed with probiotics—good bacteria that live in your gut and show up in fermented foods.

Add these 6 fermented foods that are helpful with digestion:

1. Kimchi

This spicy Asian fermented cabbage, similar to sauerkraut, provides you with loads of probiotics. Extensive research indicates it contributes to colon health, lower cholesterol, better thinking, a stronger immune system, healthy skin, and weight loss. Additional research also shows it has anti-oxidative, anti-aging, and immune-supporting properties.

2. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans that have been pressed into a compact cake. This high-protein meat substitute is firm but chewy and can be baked, steamed or sautéed before being added to dishes.

In addition to its impressive probiotic content, tempeh is rich in many nutrients that may better your health. Tempeh is perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Use it for anything from sandwiches to stir-fries to take advantage of its many health benefits.

3. Kombucha

There are many reasons to consume kombucha, a fermented beverage of black tea and sugar (from various sources like cane sugar, fruit or honey). It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar.

After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic). There are reasons to drink kombucha every day because it improves digestion, helps with weight loss, increases energy, detoxes the body, supports the immune system, reduces joint pain and prevents cancer.

4. Lassi

Yogurt and fermented dairy play an important role in Indian cuisine. Lassi is made by combining yogurt and milk (or water) and sometimes fruit and spices to create a great probiotic-rich drink. It digests quickly, helps restore friendly gut bacteria, and soothes irritation in the colon. Again, I don’t recommend consuming conventional dairy, especially from cows. If you are going to drink lassi, it’s best to find a product using grass-fed, free-range goat milk. Goat milk tends to digest more easily. If you’re vegan, try finding or making lassi with organic coconut or almond milk yogurt.

5. Probiotic Yogurt

Yogurt is produced from milk that has been fermented, most commonly with lactic acid bacteria. It is high in many important nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Yogurt has also been associated with a wide variety of health benefits.

One review showed that fermented milk products like probiotic yogurt could help reduce blood pressure, especially in those with high blood pressure. Another study found that a higher intake of yogurt was linked to improvements in bone mineral density and physical function in older adults. It may also help keep your waistline in check. A recent review showed that eating yogurt was associated with a lower body weight, less body fat and a smaller waist circumference.

Remember that not all yogurt varieties contain probiotics, as these beneficial bacteria are often killed during processing. Look for yogurts that contain live cultures to make sure you’re getting your dose of probiotics. Additionally, make sure to opt for yogurts with minimal added sugar.

6. Miso

Miso is created by fermenting soybean, barley or brown rice with koji, a fungus. Miso has anti-aging properties and helps to maintain healthy skin. It also boosts the immune system, lowers the risk cancer, improves bone health and promotes a healthy nervous system.

Conclusion

Fermentation can help increase both the shelf life and health benefits of many different foods. The probiotics found in fermented foods have been associated with improvements in digestion, immunity, weight loss and more. In addition to containing these beneficial probiotics, fermented foods can positively impact many other aspects of health and are an excellent addition to your diet. In this post, I shared with you 6 fermented foods that are helpful with digestion.




Jenna Crawford

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