20 Reasons You Can’t Live Without Fermented Foods!

You maybe new or very familiar with lacto-fermented vegetables or as some call them fermented vegetables but, have you ever looked at all the great reasons for eating fermented foods? I bet you will find out something you did not know by the time your are finished reading this collection.

Lets start with an understanding of What is this lacto-fermentation and where can I get some of these foods?” It is very simple! In nature all organic fruits and vegetables, our soils and all plants are populated with lactobacilli. So your organic vegetables at your market are covered in lactobacilli all you have to do is culture it. As the lactobacillus grows in number it produces lactic acid, the most powerful preservative found in nature. This lactic acid is also one of the most powerful antiseptics. All this combines to result in foods that last a long time. Sauerkraut can keep easily for over a year without spoiling or rotting, as long as it is covered by its own juice.

We have heard the saying “If you want something done right you will have to do it yourself.” This is true with lacto-fermenting. You really can’t buy these foods. Making them is easy. You just need to gather some know how. I would suggest starting to read more about lacto-fermenting here on our site. We also offer all the tools you need to get started here.

Lactose Intolerance VS. Lacto-fermentation

Lacto In Lacto-fermentation?

This methodGroup of Fermenting Jars of fermentation is called lacto-fermentation, because of the name of the microbe, lactobacillus, that converts sugars in the food causing it to ferment and produce lactic acid. Lactobacillus is naturally found on most raw vegetables and has nothing to do with lactose that is found in milk. What is even more exciting is that the lactobacillus bacteria that occur in lacto-fermenting help create lactic acid which inhibit or kill undesirable bacteria in food and in the human body. So in truth lactobacillus bacteria are “good-guys”.

What is really special about lactobacillus bacteria is that they grow in an enviroment that does not contain oxygen. This is beneficial because most harmful food bacteria requires oxygen to grow. When vegetables are fermented they are submerged in a brine solution (salt water). The salt helps to preserve the food until the lactic acid is produced in large enough qualities to preserve the food and eliminate the “bad bacteria” that could be on the food.

Yogurt and cheeses do have lactose and casein in them and people tend to call them lacto foods. This can create some confusion as lactobacillus bacteria are what makes milk form dairy ferments like yogurt and cheese. The thing to pay attention to is that the lactose and casein that can cause lactose intolerance is in cheese and yogurt because it is in the milk, not the lactobacillus bacteria that causes them to ferment. So lacto-fermentation does not impart lactose and casein into a food.

Hooray, lacto-fermented foods don’t contain lactose and casein unless it is there to begin with or you add it?

Whey In Lacto-fermenting? – Some fermenting recipes out there call for a starter to be used. A starter is only necessary if the food being fermented is cooked, such as chickpeas when making hummus. If a salt water brine is used in the fermenting no starter is needed.

*Fermenting Fact: Cooked vegetables that are lacto-fermented, (hummus, bean paste, salsas, etc…) will have to use a starter and often this can be whey. These type of ferments have to use a starter since the cooking of the vegetables killed the lactobacillus bacteria that was naturally on them. This is the nature of the food item, since hummus is just cooked chick peas, which you can’t eat raw.

If you are lactose intolerant you do not want to eat a ferment made with whey, so steer clear of the recipes that call for a whey starter.

The Original Veggie Fermenter (starter kit).
Just add the food and a jar

Raw vs. Cooked vs. Fermented Vegetables

We have heard that it is healthy to eat your vegetables raw? Many experts push raw vegetables as being anti-cancer along with aiding to long life. The reasoning is that raw vegetables lose their vitamins and enzymes during the cooking process. What if I told you I found facts that are different from what the experts say?!

Raw Vegetables – One of the big issues with eating a diet high in raw vegetables is the volume you have to eat. On the average we only absorb about 50 calories per pound of raw vegetables. To exist on a diet high in raw vegetables one would have to add large amounts of fruits, avocado, nuts, and seeds to keep up calorie requirements. Also, your body will find it hard to gain a balanced spread of nutrients. People who lives on these types of diets tend to have skin issues, thin hair, and muscular wasting.

Am I saying raw vegetables are a waste of time to eat? No, we have to find balance and understand that, yes, some vegetables are great raw such as; lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions to name a few. A good rule of thumb I use is, “if it would work in a salad, then eat it raw.” But there are some very good reasons to cook some of your vegetables!

Cooked Vegetables – Cooking vegetables before eating them is what the vast majority of people do in this country. About 50% of the nutrients in the vegetables are destroyed by cooking, along with most of the enzymes. Don’t fool yourself, high temperature cooking, especially frying or barbecuing destroys large amounts of nutrients and can create toxic compounds. Steaming vegetables can be a lot better than frying and it can help to bread down the tough cellular walls of vegetables making them easier for the body to digest. Cooking vegetables at low heat for longer periods of time, such as in a soup, dramatically increases digestibility of many beneficial nutritious compounds.

Here is a neat fact! Cooking can destroy some of the harmful anti-nutrients that interfere with the bodies ability to absorb nutrients. You will get more nutrients than if you just ate the vegetables raw, along with great disease fighting compounds only released during cooking. So we see cooking can at times be better than raw. Again balance is needed, “don’t eat all your vegetables cooked.

Fermented Vegetables – Lacto-fermented vegetables have the great benefits of both raw and cooked vegetables. Most lacto-fermented foods are made from raw vegetables, without heat. These raw vegetables are allowed to culture over a few days in an anaerobic enviroment with a salt-water brine, during which the lacto-bacilli grow and culture the food. Some of the first original lacto-fermented foods were sauerkraut and pickles. Even though no heat was used in the fermenting process the foods often taste cooked because of the enzymatic process of fermentation. Vitamins in fermented foods are made more bio-available along with very high counts of pro-biotics. Studies show that eating one serving of fermented foods is greater in pro-biotic counts than a whole bottle of probiotic pills.

Keep in mind these fermented foods are best if homemade since many producers heat process their products for longer shelf life. Yes, the heat processing kills most of the great probiotics, enzymes, and nutrition in the fermented foods. So make them yourself it is easy. Do read the complete article for yourself.

Top Health Benefits Of Fermented Foods

Nutrition is Boosted – The fermenting process enzyme and vitamin levels boosted of the vegetables are unlocked. Sauerkraut has 20 times more bio-available vitamin C than raw cabbage. This same benefit happens with all vegetables when they are lacto-fermented.

Increase Digestion of Cooked Foods – lacto-fermented foods attract digestive juices in the digestive tract so foods are more completely broken down. Add to this that the enzymes aiding in digestion are increased by fermentation and you have a one-two punch. Of the many people I work with nutritionally, it is very common to see them eat less food but yet feel full with lots of energy.

Builds The Immune System – 80% of our immune system is housed in the digestive tract. These great lacto-fermented foods help to supply lactobacilli and bifidobacteria to the gut in great supply. Studies show these fermented foods can contain more than 100 times more helpful organisms per serving than probiotic pills.

Keeps Colon Clean – Constipation Away – True fermented foods aid in the production of acetycholine, which helps your nerves to send the correct signals to the bowels so they can operate correctly, helping to keep constipation out of your life.

Balances Blood Sugar – the increase in digestion of fermented foods and cooked foods when eaten together reduces the load on the pancreas allowing for less blood sugar spikes. Sourdough bread is a fermented grain, which has the same blood sugar aiding factor that lacto-fermented vegetables give. Studies have shown that sourdough baked items can lower the normal blood sugar spike of traditionally prepared grains by more than 30 to 40%.

Protects Our Gut During Stress – Fermented foods help increase the acidity of gastric juices when stomach acids are low and protect when high volumes of stomach acids are present.

Lower Cholesterol – Believe it or not probiotics can help lower cholesterol by blocking the production. Studies have shown 11.6% lower blood cholesterol LDL, in just nine weeks of consuming probiotics twice a day. The type of probiotics that are needed for this result are contained in lacto-fermented foods.

Do read more about these benefits for yourself.

Unknown Benefits Of Fermented Foods

Many people start eating fermented foods to help with digestive problems. Doctors even admit we need beneficial bacteria in the gut for good health. But, there are some neat not commonly shared benefits of fermented foods.

  1. Fermented foods help balance the production of stomach acid.
  2. Fermented foods are very high in enzymes that aid in the digestion of cooked foods when eaten together.
  3. Fermented foods help balance blood sugar levels.
  4. Fermented foods are contain lactic acid and other compounds that destroy and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

It is easy to get all these benefits by having regular daily servings of fermented foods. Do read the complete article for yourself.

Make Fermented Food At Home – Easily

Self Detoxifying Foods

The process of lacto-fermentation degrades many of the basic compounds of many common insecticides, herbicides, and nerve agents that are used in the spraying of vegetables before they are delivered to your local market. What I am saying is that a study showed that by day 3 of the fermentation process 80% of the toxins were removed and by day 9 they were completely degraded from the ferment. While this study was done with Kimchi the same can be expected with Sauerkraut. Do read the complete article for yourself.

Fermenting Foods Saves Money

Fermenting Food Is Very Inexpensive – Most fermenting involves common vegetables that don’t cost much. A couple of good sized heads of cabbage will run you just a few dollars and make around 1/2 gallon of sauerkraut. That sauerkraut will last months in the fridge, making it available as a side dish meal after meal. And this food is packed with vitamins and active enzymes, “Best Ever” Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut * How about a snack for the kids? We always have a jar of what we call Carrot Pickles in the fridge door ready for the kids. My Son has eaten this carrots for years and now he is 19 and still asks for them. He is eating these great foods today and what health costs saving will he see over his life because of these healthy choices.

Preserves The Food – Fermented foods can last much longer than un-fermented foods in the fridge. Sauerkraut will last 6 months or more stored in the fridge. This means you don’t have to make these foods every weekend. I have eaten fermented peppers that were close to a year old and they tasted fine. This longevity allows you to shop for vegetables when they are on sale and ferement them for the future.

Eat Less – You may find overtime that you eat less when having fermented foods as part of your regular diet. These foods are nutrient dense so you will eat less to get the nutrition your body needs. If you want to know a secret this is one of the concepts I use with my Clients when consulting them about weight-loss. Eat better nutritionally and you will lose weight naturally.

DIY Fermenting Systems

Using the right tool for the job makes things easy. Can you make your own fermenting lids? Sure you could! But be sure to find parts that are food safe. We get calls often from people that have made their own fermenting systems that complain the foods have a chemical taste. We find out they just used parts from the home-fix-it store that turn out to not be foods safe. Some people read websites that say just use a jar with a metal lid and they find their ferments are hit or miss. And often complain that their ferments turn out bad or moldy from using their own homemade kits. And they had to run all over town to find the parts wasting time and gas.

The fermenting kits we offer for fermenting foods are affordable and lasts for years. A few jars and some Lacto-fermentation Air-lock Kits are not a giant investment. Pennies when you look at how much food you can produce overtime.

We have heard the saying “If you want something done right you will have to do it yourself.” This is true with lacto-fermenting. You really can’t buy these foods. Making them is easy. You just need to gather some know how. I would suggest starting to read more about lacto-fermenting here on our site. We also offer all the tools you need to get started fermenting here.

Please Note: This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

About Jeff

Jeff Pearce is a board certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant and has coached hundreds of people in the Dallas/Fort Worth to help them achieve their health goals. If you would like more information about his services view the Health Consultations section. For those not in the physical area Distance Coaching is an option. A 15 minute "No Cost" informational consult is available, by phone, to chat and answer questions about services. To schedule your no cost informational consultation please contact us .

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