What are the health benefits of fermented foods?
Fermented foods have been proven to have number of health benefits.
- Fermented food are full of good bacteria, healthy enzymes, vitamins, which stay in our digestive system. These probiotics have miraculous effects on our digestive system. Our stomach releases an acid called hydrochloric acid, Fermented foods balances the production on hydrocholoric acid. Probiotics also strengthen your immunity system.
- According to a Study from USDA’s Food Science Research Unit at North Carolina State University Eating fermented veggies are even healthier and safe than eating raw veggies. Reason is Fermented foods are made after the process of Lacto Fermentation. This process results in making the food full of lactic acid. Raw vegetables may contain E.Coli (a rod shaped bacteria which is may cause food poisonings ). Lactic Acid acts as an anti for E.coli.”Lactic acid is in a direct competition with E. Coli , causing E.Coli to die rather quickly”, study says.
- In the Lacto fermentation process the carbs (sugar) substance of the food products are broken, that the reason Fermented foods are healthy for diabetics as well. They ease the pancreas function.
What are the kinds of fermented foods one should include in his diet? How many times a week should it be consumed?
You can include fermented foods in your regular diet. You can consume fermented food twice or thrice daily along with your meals. It is suggested to go for homemade fermented food . You can include Curd or natural yogurt , pickled vegetables, fermented drinks. food items made of fermented rice and pulses can also be consumed. Fermented food will add extra flavor to your regular meal
Are there any bad / harmful types of fermented foods one should avoid?
Even with lots of health benefits it would not be fair to say that fermented food does not have any side effects on body. In the process of decomposing the food or fermenting the food (lacto fermentation) some waste products are generated as well. Alcohol is one of the byproduct, However, the amount of alcohol in fermented food is significantly very less(we are not referring to wine or beer). People, who are highly allergic to alcohol, can have certain side effects by eating fermented foods.
One more byproducts of lacto fermentation is Aldehydes. Although, Our digestive system contains enzymes which converts Aldehydes in to a less-harmful product. But if imbalanced, Acetaldehyde can have harmful effect on one’s body such as alteration on red blood cells. But if consumed in moderation, Fermented foods are not responsible for Acetaldehyde imbalance.
Anything else on must keep in mind while eating fermented foods?
Excess of everything is bad. As a nutrionist my suggestion is to go moderate with Fermented food. Think of them as a healthy medicine, which can be taken life long but quantity should be taken care of . You can definitely add fermented foods in small quantity in your regular diet for nutritional benefits
Write is Fitness Expert & Certified Nutritionist
Director: GFFI Fitness Academy (INDIA)