The Benefits of Fermented Food and Drink

The Benefits of Fermented Food and Drink

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I’m a Doubting Thomas

Until I have physical proof that something works, I don’t believe it.

When I was advised to get to know about fermented food and drink to build my immune system 3 years ago, I researched it quietly.

I supported my research by making a handful of regular recipes and decided that I wouldn’t talk about it until I had walked myself through at least an entire winter without a cold, virus, flu or an infection (all of which I’d been prone to for over 20 years, with my lung condition Bronchiectasis).

My experiment ran from August 2013 to August 2014.  It worked.  Having enjoyed 12 months infection free, reins were off!

I wanted to shout from the rooftops about the benefits of fermented food and drink, but before I felt I could share that news on a blog, I wanted to know about the health and scientific studies around fermentation; to learn more about this intriguing subject.

Was my experience a fluke, or was there more to this than most of us in the Western world are aware? In essence, can everyone benefit? (Please see my home page for an outline of what you should do before embarking on adding fermented food and drink to your diet.)

The Findings as a Result of Scientific Studies on Fermented Food

There are endless stories worldwide of people who feel they have been healed or helped health-wise by introducing fermentation into their daily diets.

There is also scientific research, albeit experiments that have focused on animals, the results of which show promising results.

Fermented food and beverage directly influence our own gut flora.

  • Eliminates Toxins
  • Aid the Digestion of Vitamins and Minerals in the Body (fermented food is, by it’s very nature, pre-digested food, which is easier on the body and aids digestion of other foods you eat)
  • It can magnify mood-regulating B vitamins, having a positive effect on mental health
  • Helps to Prevent Colds and Flu
  • May also extend to Vitamin D levels when fermenting fruit and herbal smoothies
  • Offers strong Antioxidant Properties
  • Can help to restore the body’s natural gut flora balance after taking antibiotics
  • Produces Beneficial Immune, Glycemic and Anti-inflammatory activities in ferments such as soy, soy germ, wheat germ, rice bran and breads made via traditional fermentation techniques
  • Can improve the Metabolism and thereby assist in Normalising Body Weight
  • Improves Brain Health and the Health of the Digestive System
  • Provides the Body with K2 that helps Prevent Heart Disease (in foods such as sauerkraut, cheese and natto (a Japanese soy dish)
  • Is known to Significantly Increase the GABA content in traditional fermented foods such as rice bran, mung beans, buckwheat sprouts and lentils. Without sufficient GABA the body can suffer from anxiety, insomnia, depression and epilepsy

Fermented Dairy is another biggie, with Kefir – a powerful probiotic – seeming to currently pip the post as reigning King, although there are other rising stars that look set to peek above the parapet after more research in coming years.

Kefir

  • Has qualities that Improve Gut Health
  • Can help improve Lactose Digestion
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Can help lower cholesterol
  • Builds the Immune System
  • Fights Pathogens (the organisms that cause disease) and thereby helps to Prevent Disease
  • Inhibits the growth of Cancer Cells
  • Can help to reduce Blood Pressure
  • Has Anti-Diabetic properties (soy kefir milk was used for these tests)
  • Offers Protection against UV irradiation and has shown to have potential ability to repair damaged cells (from sun, cigarettes, x-rays, CT scans and other pollutants)
  • Has anti-Ageing (with it’s protective qualities against UV radiation that damages cells, this could prevent freckles, liver spots, skin cancer and wrinkles)
  • Has shown potential to lower the side effects of irradiation in patients with malignancy who are going through irradiation therapy
  • Has antibacterial Qualities – i.e. the killing action against food borne pathogens such as Listeria and Salmonella etc
  • Can Significantly Lower Blood Glucose (another soy milk study)
  • Inhibits Mucous Secretion (offering potential for treatment such as Asthma)

Enjoying fermented food doesn’t mean going crazy.

It offers powerful probiotic and therefore, the recommendation from leading culture starter suppliers is around 1/2 cup of vegetables or probiotic food and around 2 oz of your favourite drink daily.  As you feel comfortable with it, you can add an extra serving of each, so you’re doing the above, but at 2 meals a day.  And eventually at each meal.

Once you are accustomed, you can enjoy a full serving at every meal or perhaps as a snack.

Treat your body kindly and build up gently.  If you have any pre-existing conditions, always consult a professional medic/healer before going ahead with diet change.

Take a browse around this blog and find some simple starter recipes that will suit your own diet.

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PS If you like what you see then join the Fermented Foody Family!

 

Sources:

 

http://www.jphysiolanthropol.com/content/33/1/2

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833126

http://www.clinical-lymphoma-myeloma-leukemia.com/article/S1557-9190(11)70340-7/pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15909685

http://www.ijaaonline.com/article/S0924-8579(05)00054-3/fulltext

Antimicrobial and healing activity of kefir and kefiran extract. Kamila Leite Rodrigues, Lucelia Rita Gaudiona Caputo, Jose Carolos Tavares Carvalho, Joao Evangelista, Jose Mauricio Schneedorf.
Lab. Biologia e Fisiologia de Microoganismos, Ufineos, Alfenas, MG, Brazil; Lab. Patologia Experimental, Unifenas; Lab. Fitofarmacos, Unifenas, Alfenas, MG, Brazil Rec’d 27 May 2004; Accepted 17 Sept 2004

Kefir and Health: A Contemporary Perspective. http:/ / dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/ 10408398.2010.540360