We all known the importance of stocking our diets full of veggies, but is there more that we can be doing to boost our immune systems? Experts say yes - adding fermented cultured vegetables to our daily meals can supercharge our health and keep our digestive tract nice and squeaky-clean! So whether you are making your own fermented veggies or purchasing them at your nearest store, take a look at the information below to learn more about why you and your family need to load up this summer!
What are fermented cultured veggies? Almost any vegetable out there can be fermented in a method called lacto-fermentation. The process consists of enhancing the nutrient content of the veggies by exposing them to lactic bacteria, or Lactobacillus, a species of bacteria that occurs naturally within the human body, especially in the mouth and stomach. As a preservative, this bacteria helps promote vitamin and enzyme levels, digestion, and the body's ability to break down sugars into lactic acid. In short, they make the minerals commonly found in our favorite veggies more easily accessible to us!
>>Read More: What's The Healthiest Way to Prep Your Veggies?
What can they do for us? Fermented cultured veggie are revolutionary when it comes to promoting and sustaining our gut health. Our GI tract is home to about 85 percent of our immune system, and contains about 100 trillion bacteria that interacts with our immune responses. Keeping our gut healthy and happy is absolutely essential to maintaining our wellbeing, and the fermenting process can go a long way in promoting a healthy metabolism and reducing inflammation caused by unwanted bacteria. Experts insist that fermented foods are loaded with probiotics that help break down and eliminate harmful toxins and heavy metals from your body. They can also provide a surprising array of functions such as: (via Mercola.com)
- Enhancing mineral absorption
- Producing nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin K2, which are powerful sources of calcium, and can actually reduce your risk of coronary artery disease and stroke.
- Preventing obesity and diabetes
- Regulating dietary fat absorption
- Lowering your risk for cancer
- Improving your mood and mental health
- Preventing acne
>> Learn more about the healthy benefits of fermented foods here!
How can you incorporate fermented vegetables into your diet? Luckily for you, fermentation is a process that has been around forever. Not only is the food preservation method fairly simple and straightforward, these superfoods are available for purchase at nearly every store. Take a look at the list below for some great options to add to your diet!
- Tempeh: tempeh is made from naturally fermented soybeans and is a fantastic, nutty source of vegetarian protein. (via Eating Well)
- Kimchi: bring on the heat with this Korean dish that can really spice things up! It is known to boost your digestion and give you nice, clear skin. (via Well and Good)
- Sauerkraut: these fermented veggies really pack a punch with a heathy dose of fiber and probiotics! (via Eating Well)
- Pickles: Slap these on your next sandwich or burger, or pack them in your lunch for a tangy, crunchy side that is overflowing with benefits! Learn more about the power of pickles here! (via Well and Good)
- Yogurt: yes, we know this isn't a veggie, but you should still be reaping the benefits of this powerful probiotic-packed snack. Check out these 10 ways to liven up your yogurt by clicking here!
- Miso: this paste is made from soybeans and heart-healthy grains, and is overflowing with microorganisms that give us an added boost of strength! (via Well and Good).
>>Read More: How to Pickle Vegetables & What to Do With Them
For more ideas on how to incorporate fermented cultured foods into your meals, check out our sources here: Cultures for Health, Cultured Food Life, Mercola.com, Well and Good, Eating Well.