Most of us are living fast-paced lives nowadays and we tend to neglect certain habits that can improve our health, one of them being our dietary habits. We tend to eat on the go, consuming something to make our bellies stop growling without thinking how it may influence our health and our digestive tract in particular. What are the good eating practices that we should adopt in order to avoid having digestive problems?
One of the types of food that can have a positive impact on our digestive system and overall health is fermented food. This type of food has gone through the fermentation process where it was exposed to natural bacteria resulting in the creation of beneficial bacteria (probiotics), enzymes, B vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
What are the benefits of fermented food?
During this process the natural bacteria change sugar into lactic acid. Thus, fermentation can be considered the beginning of digestion, as dietitian Sheah L. Rarback explains. Since it eases the digestion process, it is possible for people who are lactose intolerant to eat yogurt. In addition, fermented foods help us to better absorb all the nutrients from the food we are consuming. People who might dramatically feel the benefits of fermented foods are those with inflammatory intestine diseases or irritable bowel syndrome, and those who are on antibiotics.
Probiotics- the product of the fermentation reaction- are considered beneficial to our health as they help restore balance of our intestinal flora which can improve immunity. Yet, it cannot be certain if enough bacteria survive the journey through the digestive tract to help us feel the benefits. However, there can be no harm in consuming probiotic-rich food.
What should we eat?
Since fermented foods might taste a bit exotic to you, try gradually incorporating them into your nutrition plan to allow yourself to get used to the taste. There are plenty of fermented foods, so experiment and find the ones that you like and start feeling their benefits:
- Sauerkraut– easy-to-prepare fermented food made of cabbage; can be served as a side dish, salad, or soup
- Kimchi– traditional Korean dish based on cabbage and other vegetables, such as radish
- Miso– traditional Japanese paste made of fermented soybeans, used for sauces or soups
- Sourdough bread– made from ingredients that went through the fermentation process
- Kefir– a fermented milk drink with kefir grains, available in many flavors
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