ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) –Fermented food is popping up on menus across the country and on supermarket shelves too. This is one food trend that’s worth checking out. Researchers around the world are finding significant health benefits from making fermented food and drinks part of your everyday diet.
Chef William Pauley serves up plenty of fermented food at his restaurant Confluence Kombucha.
Pauley told Ivanhoe, “We do sauerkraut. We do kimchi. We do pickles.”
He also brews more than 100 flavors of kombucha, a fermented tea trending in the U.S.
“I would say every day, you need to have something cultured, pickled and fermented,” said Pauley.
Pauley’s love for fermented food was born during a two-year stint in South Korea. He had painful stomach ulcers growing up. They disappeared in Korea, where fermented food is king.
Pauley explained, “There, I got a little bit more balanced. The cuisine, fermented foods, it really balanced me out.”
Dan Brewer is a licensed dietitian who agrees fermented foods are great for your gut.
“The healthier your gut is, the healthier overall well-being will be,” detailed Brewer.
Fermented foods are also thought to reduce heart disease, type two diabetes and even social anxiety.
“I think there are a lot of health benefits to consuming and making fermented foods,” Brewer told Ivanhoe.
Another popular fermented food is the South Korean dish kimchi, which Brewer said also has anti-cancer, anti-obesity and anti-aging properties.
“It should just be part of your diet like everything else,” said Brewer.
Tasty as well as healthy. Brewer’s honey-fermented peaches and apples, fermented butter, and acorn squash kimchi all pack intense flavor. Pauley’s ulcers are now gone for good, which he credits to drinking kombucha every day.
“When I started feeling better, it really changed the way that I interacted with the world,” said Pauley.
Most supermarkets now carry kombucha tea as well as a handful of ready-made fermented foods. But Brewer said you don’t have to rely on grocery stores. He said it’s easy to ferment food yourself at home. You just need fruits and vegetables, salt, the right temperature and time.
Contributors to this news report include: Stacie Overton, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer.
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FERMENTED FOOD BOOSTS HEALTH
BACKGROUND: According to Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation, fermented foods are “the flavorful space between fresh and rotten.” Most highly-prized gourmet foods are fermented ones because the process of fermentation creates very strong flavors. Evidence indicates that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago, and bread even before that. If you think about it, most cultures have their own version of fermented cabbage or sauerkraut — European sauerkraut, Korean Kimchi, Latin Cortido and the list goes on. These people developed these techniques out of necessity to preserve their foods for long periods of time without the use of refrigeration or canning methods. This process is actually called ‘lacto-fermentation’. According to the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, “lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. Starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted to lactic acid by the many species of lactic-acid-producing bacteria or lactobacilli.”
FERMENTATION HEALTH FACTS: Probiotics can be found in foods such as fermented dairy or vegetable products as well as in supplements. Recent studies have shown fermented foods provide numerous health benefits. These foods often have a sour or tangy flavor due to the presence of lactic acid which is one of the main products of the fermentation process. Probiotics have been shown to improve the function of the immune system, support blood pressure levels, alleviate diarrhea, enhance nutrient absorption, relieve irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease, support urinary tract health and discourage urinary tract infections, and improve digestion of lactose for those with lactose intolerance. A recent study published in Psychiatry Research suggests that a higher consumption of fermented foods may be associated with lower rates of social anxiety in young adults. Additional studies are continuing to show the close relationship between cognitive function and gut health.
MICROBIAL MODEL SYSTEM RESEARCH: Scientists have a lot to learn from sauerkraut and from other fermented foods like kombucha and cheese. By studying how these microbial communities form and how their member species interact, researchers can gain insight into the dynamics that shape much more complex communities, such as those found on the human body. Understanding how individuals in such communities interact and affect each other could point to efficient ways of manipulating the human microbiome, which a growing body of research suggests, has a big influence on myriad aspects of health and well-being. “Nobody has ever tried to test these kinds of questions, yet they are very important for things, like fecal transplants, where doctors are trying to replace entire microbial communities,” explained Benjamin Wolfe, researcher at Tufts University. “I just find it fascinating,” says Jeffrey Dangl, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator studying plant pathogen interactions at the University of North Carolina. “You can do repeated experiments perturbing the system, and then glean generalities about more complex microbial interactions,” he explains. These communities are relatively reproducible as well as experimentally manipulable. After all, they have been optimized by humans over thousands of years to produce specific flavors and textures, which make them a powerful model system.
* For More Information, Contact:
Nancy Solomon, Public Relations and Communications Director
Saint Louis University