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Health and Nutrition: 7 Ways to Harness the Benefits of Fermented Foods

cultured veggiesIn my last post I shared my favorite ways to use apple cider vinegar (and there are many!). Well I would like to share a bit about the benefits of consuming cultured and fermented foods. Most people are familiar with yogurt or kefir and even with sauerkraut and pickles. But what you find in the supermarket in most cases is far from truly beneficial fermented foods.

Traditionally cultured and fermented foods are loaded with beneficial probiotics. Truthfully our bodies are made up of more bacteria than DNA! Keeping the balance of those bugs tipped in favor of the good bacteria (probiotics) will keep your digestion, skin and immune system healthy. Disease happens when there is an imbalance in the body’s inner terrain. That’s when the dangerous or pathogenic bacteria take over. This makes keeping your inner terrain healthy and balanced of critical importance.

Happily for us there are some delicious and easy ways to do just that. Fermentation, which is also called culturing, is a process that actually predigests the foods and makes them so much easier for our bodies to use. The fermentation process actually breaks the food down into its simpler components, which then creates new beneficial compounds like probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants and organic acids, which all support a healthy inner terrain.

So if you make fermented veggies, you increase and enhance the digestibility and nutrient levels of those foods. While recent studies show that drinking milk, particularly pasteurized milk from conventionally raised cattle, not only increases risk of osteoporosis, but also of early death, fermented dairy like yogurt, kefir, cheese and Amasai have the opposite effect!

Fermentation is a powerful process that we can include in our meals in a variety of ways. Here are 7 ways to make fermented foods part of your diet plan:

1. You can include yogurt or a delicious smoothie made from Amasai, a cultured dairy beverage similar to kefir, but from cows that do not produce A1 beta casein, which is as damaging to the gut as gluten. If you are choosing yogurt be sure to buy organic, plain, full fat if you are able to as you will get the most benefit from the proper form.

2. Regularly including apple cider vinegar in some of the ways mentioned in the last post is a very simple way to reap the benefits. There is great health power in sour!

3. There are some very refreshing beverages you can find in your supermarket like Kombucha or Kvass. These fermented drinks are bubbly, slightly sour but loaded with amino acids, B vitamins, enzymes and probiotics.

4. A unique way to cleanse and hydrate at the cellular level balancing potassium and sodium levels and providing probiotics, B vitamins and enzymes is to do a 3 Day Suero Cleanse. Suero Viv is a cultured whey beverage that is made from organic juices, honey, essential oils, cultured whey and Reign Supreme Mountain Spring Water. It’s a wonderful replacement for those artificially flavored electrolyte replacement and sports drinks. The name, Suero Viv, means “whey of life.”

5. If you have access to cheese made from high quality raw milk you have another wonderful fermented food that will provide the good bacteria to your digestive system. Beyond Organic Green Fed cheeses use only unpasteurized and untreated, true whole milk and are a great source of omega 3s, CLA, protein, calcium, probiotics and enzymes.

[tweetthis]7 ways to make fermented foods part of your diet plan[/tweetthis]

6. Fermented veggies like Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and other fermented vegetables are a wonderful way to include probiotic rich foods in your meals. As I mentioned at the beginning, the typical sauerkraut or pickles you find in the supermarket are “pickled” not fermented and that’s very different. They are preserved in an acidic medium like vinegar and even though vinegar is fermented, the pickles and sauerkraut are not. Therefore, they lack the probiotic and enzyme benefits of truly fermented veggies.

The good news is they are not terribly difficult to make at home. Here are two easy recipes – I shared a link to this one in a post on my 3D Nutrition blog, and this one is on my website. Both are super easy to make and well worth the effort.

If you have a favorite recipe – please share!

7. A unique way to harness the benefits of fermented foods is in these fermented herbal extracts called Terrain Sacred Herbs. They contain vitamins, probiotics, enzymes and antioxidants to replenish and rebuild your inner ecosystem. They unlock the power of herbs like garlic, ginger, milk thistle and oregano, which have powerful health benefits and make them even more bioavailable to you.  I typically just start my day with a tablespoon or two in a glass of water.

How do you include cultured/fermented foods in your family’s meals?