Fermented foods are everywhere. From sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha–even Boochcraft, an alcoholic kombucha–fermented foods are all the rage.
Fermented foods are food or drinks that have gone through controlled micro biotic growth with the help of enzymes. It’s what makes kombucha fizzy, and yogurt have a tangy taste.
Besides being trendy, fermented foods have potent health benefits. Learn the top 12 benefits of adding fermented foods to your diet.
Top 12 Benefits of Eating Fermented Foods
1. Promotes Good Bacteria in Your Gut
Your gut, sometimes called a microbiome, is home to thousands of good bacteria and plays a vital role in your health. Bacteria break down food and help your body absorb vitamins.
Good bacteria also ensure there aren’t too many harmful bacteria in your body, which can lead to various illnesses. Fermented foods high in probiotics help the healthy bacteria in your gut multiply, so grab a bottle of kombucha next time you’re at the store.
2. Help Restore Your Gut After Taking Antibiotics
Sometimes certain medications like antibiotics can wreak havoc on your stomach. Many health professionals suggest adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet to get the good bacteria back in your gut and get your digestive system working again.
3. Regular Bowel Movements
A healthy gut helps regulate your bowel movements which is an integral part of your health. Constipation can lead to painful hemorrhoids and impacted fecal matter in your bowel—a healthy microbiome results in regular, healthy digestion and bowel movements.
4. Help Your Body Make Vitamins
Fermented foods in your gut help the good bacteria make vitamins that are essential to your health, such as vitamins B, C, and vitamin K. Fermented foods can also help minimize toxic substances that make their way to your gut.
5. Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
Studies have shown that eating fermented foods like probiotic yogurt helps keep blood sugar low. Maintaining healthy blood sugar is essential to avoid developing type 2 diabetes, a serious metabolic condition that can lead to more grave medical complications.
6. Control Blood Pressure
Soy-based fermented foods like miso and natto are superfoods for lowering blood pressure. The probiotic bacteria and yeast in these foods help block enzymes known to raise blood pressure. Adding soy snacks to your diet can improve your overall blood pressure readings.
7. Lower Heart Disease
Lowering your blood pressure helps control heart disease, another plus of fermented foods. Additionally, a Finnish study found that people who eat low-fat fermented dairy foods have a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease in their lifetime.
8. Can Help Prevent Certain Types of Cancer
While nothing can, unfortunately, guarantee preventing cancer, living a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk, and fermented foods can help. Fermented foods manage weight, cultivate good bacteria, and promote healthy digestion. These are just a few examples of positive lifestyle factors doctors recommend to lower your lifetime cancer risk.
9. Reduce Inflammation
Good bacteria in your gut help control enzymes that cause inflammation and can help control chronic inflammatory conditions. In a study reported by Everyday Health, people who ate a diet rich in fermented foods had fewer inflammatory proteins in their blood and a decrease in the immune cells that secrete inflammatory enzymes.
10. Support a Healthy Mood
Probiotics and fermented foods not only boost your physical health but your mental health as well. Studies have shown that probiotics can alleviate anxiety and depression. There is also evidence that eating fermented foods increases the production of tryptophan, a critical amino acid in serotonin, aka the hormone.
11. Promote Brain Health and Cognitive Function
In addition to boosting your mood, fermented foods can help boost your brain’s overall health and function. Studies have shown that fermented foods increase neurotransmitters in your brain, resulting in better brain function and a healthier nervous system.
12. Promote Healthy Skin
Fermented skin products have been stable in the Korean beauty scene for years. Probiotics promote a healthy gut, and fermented skincare can help create a healthy skin biome. Due to the healthy bacteria, fermented products can increase hydration and clear acne. Additionally, skincare containing probiotics has a longer and more stable shelf life without preservatives.
Fermented Foods for All
There are many health benefits of adding fermented foods to your diet. Try adding something new to your diet and see how fermented foods can add to your active lifestyle.