Fermented foods have many health benefits and are easy to make
Fermentation is an ancient technique of preserving food. A number of health benefits are associated with eating fermented food including improved digestive health, a stronger immune system, improved digestion, improved mental health, and increased weight loss.
Improves Digestive Health
The probiotics produced during fermentation can help restore the balance of “good” bacteria in your gut and may alleviate some digestive problems (1).
Evidence suggests that probiotics can reduce uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a widespread condition involving recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation. (2).
Boosts Your Immune System
Gut bacteria comprise more than 75% of the immune system. (5).
Due to their high probiotic content, fermented foods can enhance your immune system with more of the “good bacteria” and reduce your risk of infections like cold of flu. (6). Fermented foods can also help your gut recuperate after you’ve had courses of antibiotics
Fermentation helps break down nutrients in food, making them easier to digest than their unfermented counterparts. (7).
Improves Mental Health
A couple of studies have linked the probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum, commonly found in fermented foods, to a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety. (8, 9).
My favorite fermented vegetables
- chopped vegetables (anything will do, I really like cauliflower, celery, green pepper, onion, garlic, radishes and carrots)
- 6 cups water
- 4 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 3 quart wide mouth mason jar
- any spices or herbs you like (my favorites are peppercorns, dill, fennel seed, celery seed, and bay leaf)
- Place vegetables, herbs and spices in the mason to about 1 inch from the top.
- Stir the salt and water together in a separate bowl until dissolved.
- Pour the salt water over the vegetables until it reaches just below the top of the jars. There should be about 1/2 inch of space left from the top.
- Close the lid on the jar tightly and place the jars out of direct sunlight in a moderate temperature (68-75 degrees).
- You will start to see some bubbling around day 2 or so. After day 2, over a sink (in case it leaks/drips), gently loosen the lids to let some of the gas escape once a day. Tighten the lids back up after you’ve let the gas escape.
- The vegetables are ready anywhere from day 4-10. The longer they sit, the more tangy they’ll be. Taste them starting on day 4 to figure out your preference.
- Once you decide they’re ready, place the the jars in the refrigerator where they will keep for a couple of months.
***Note, don’t throw away the brine. You can drink it like a tonic. Drink a small amount (like a shot) to help energize you and improve your gut bacteria even further.
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