Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir. Strange and whacky names of foods that have hit the spotlight in the foodie world recently. They are being hailed for their proposed health benefits. Fermentation is not new, it’s a process that’s been around for years. In the olden days it was used as a preservation method. Nowadays many people have gone mental for kefir and are hitting the Japanese restaurants to fill up on kimchi.
Fermentation involves yeast, bacteria and other live microorganisms break down food into smaller components and produce alcohol and acids in the process. Sounds a bit dodgy? Not at all. The bacteria that grow are good bacteria and help our digestive systems stay healthy. Some of the benefits which have been discussed around these fermented foods include reduced inflammation and overall improved digestive health. The verdict is still out on whether fermented foods also have the potential to reduce the incidence of some cancers.
As with anything, overconsumption can be harmful and we must be mindful that fermented foods are high in salt which can be harmful in some individuals.