Here’s why Fermented Foods are so great for your health

Here’s why Fermented Foods are so great for your health

Fermented foods have long been a staple of many traditional diets around the world. Known for their distinct taste, fermented foods have made a comeback in recent years and are now recommended as part of a healthy modern diet thanks to their wealth of health benefits.

According to research, the practice of fermenting foods can be traced as far back as 10,000 BCE to what is now known as the Middle East. This region was once called the Fertile Crescent and consist of modern-day southern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Egypt and parts of Turkey and Iran. [1]

With its rich soils and abundance of water sources, the Fertile Crescent is considered by historians to be the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of irrigation and agriculture. Two of the earliest civilizations to produce fermented foods in this region were the Egyptians and Sumerians, who mainly used fermentation as a means of preserving foods that spoil easily. [2] 

For the better part of history, fermentation was used by various cultures to extend the shelf life of foods. Thanks to modern research, we now understand that fermentation introduces changes to the physical and chemical properties of foods that not only make them last longer, but also increase their palatability, nutrient content and health-supporting properties. [3]

This is how well-known fermented foods like kimchi, natto, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha and yogurt catapulted to the top of the list of modern superfoods that offer considerable health benefits. [4][5] 

How fermentation transforms foods for the better 

There are two types of fermentation used to produce wholesome fermented foods. Lactic acid fermentation, said to be one of the oldest food preservation methods in existence, is facilitated by lactic acid bacteria, which use the lactose in foods to obtain energy. In return, these bacteria produce a chemical called lactic acid, which is what inhibits the growth of microorganisms that cause food spoilage. Lactic acid is also responsible for the sourness of fermented foods. [6]

In addition to lactic acid, lactic acid bacteria from the genus Lactobacillus are known to produce hydrogen peroxide, another compound that can stop the growth of food-spoiling microbes. Fermented foods you may be familiar with that are produced using lactic acid fermentation include sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, yogurt, miso, salami and sourdough bread. [7]

Alcoholic or ethanol fermentation, on the other hand, occurs with the active participation of yeasts, fungi or some select bacteria. But instead of lactose, these microorganisms convert sugars like fructose and glucose to alcohol (ethanol), carbon dioxide and heat. The compounds generated by this process, including carbon dioxide, are capable of protecting foods from molds and other microbes that can cause them to spoil. [8][9]

During ethanol fermentation, certain enzymes in yeast also help increase the levels of phytonutrients that are beneficial to human health. One example of this is caffeic acid, a powerful antioxidant found in fruits, vegetables, edible herbs and spices. [10] Caffeic acid is said to be released during fermentation from caftaric acid, a phenolic compound naturally present in grape juice. Red and white wine contain high levels of caffeic acid because of this. [11]

Aside from preventing food spoilage and increasing the phytonutrient content of foods, fermentation also helps destroy non-nutritive food components that can disrupt the activity of digestive enzymes. [12] At the same time, studies show that fermentation conveniently gets rid of toxins, particularly those present in plant-based foods, that can cause harm to your body. [13]

But what truly makes fermented foods such great foods for supporting optimal health is the fact that fermentation increases the bioavailability of their nutrient content. [14] According to research, the organic acids produced by fermentative microbes can bind to proteins and minerals to form soluble, easy-to-absorb products.

A study published in the journal Fermentation also reports that during fermentation, an enzyme capable of degrading the anti-nutrient, phytic acid, is formed. [15] This enzyme further helps you reap the nutritional benefits of fermented foods by preventing the binding of phytic acid to minerals, which greatly reduces their bioavailability in your gastrointestinal tract. [16] 

8 Health benefits of eating Fermented Foods* 

Aside from the valuable fermentation byproducts they contain, the health benefits of fermented foods are also linked to the good microbes found in them. Often referred to as probiotics, these beneficial microorganisms also live naturally inside your body, where they perform several functions that are necessary for the maintenance of your overall health and wellness. [17]

Here’s what increasing your intake of probiotic-rich fermented foods can do for your health: 

They provide high amounts of bioavailable nutrients

As discussed earlier, the fermentation process has unique ways of increasing the bioavailability of nutrients, which is why the nutritional value of foods drastically increases after fermentation. [18] But more impressively, studies show that fermentative microbes like lactic acid bacteria are also capable of synthesizing some essential vitamins as well as bioactive compounds with beneficial activities. [19]

According to research, probiotic bacteria and their counterparts in your gut can produce vitamin K and most of the water-soluble B-vitamins, such as biotin (B7), cobalamin (B12), folate (B9), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), riboflavin (B2) and thiamine (B1). [20] Probiotic bacteria can also produce conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and conjugated linolenic acid (CLNA), isomers of the healthy fats, linoleic acid and linolenic acid, respectively. [21]

Found only in animal-based foods, CLA and CLNA are linked to significant health benefits. CLA has been found to support healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. [22] Meanwhile, CLNA has been shown to have antioxidant properties and can also support healthy lipid metabolism. [23] 

They support healthy digestive function

Fermented foods are good for your gut because they provide a wide variety of good bacteria, which can help you keep a balanced composition of gut microflora. According to Dr. David Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, maintaining this balance is important because having an unhealthy mix of microorganisms in your digestive tract can weaken the walls of your intestines, which can lead to a leaky gut. [24]

Having a leaky gut means that the contents of your gut leak unregulated into your bloodstream, which can lead to serious health problems in the long run. Fortunately, you can easily maintain a healthy and balanced intestinal microflora by incorporating probiotic-rich fermented foods into your regular diet. Doing so also support your body’s natural defenses as studies show that good gut microbes use an essential amino acid to support healthy immune function. [25] 

They support healthy immune function

Recent studies suggest that having a diverse gut microflora is not only better for your digestive system, but also helpful to your immune system. [26] This means that introducing more probiotics to your gut by eating fermented foods is a great way to support healthy immune function.

This is corroborated by the results of a clinical trial conducted by Stanford School of Medicine researchers, which found that a diet of fermented foods not only helped increase gut microbial diversity in participants, but also supported more controlled immune responses. [27] These findings suggest that fermented foods can help you maintain a healthy and optimally functioning immune system by supporting healthy immune regulation. 

They support healthy brain function

Including fermented foods in your diet is also beneficial to your brain. According to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, supplementing with probiotics can support healthy brain function. [28]

BDNF is a key molecule involved in brain changes related to learning and memory. [29] Reports suggest that gut microbial imbalance decreases BDNF levels significantly. But as shown in the study, you can support healthy BDNF levels and optimal brain function by maintaining a balanced gut microflora with the help of fermented foods. 

They support healthy heart function

Fermented foods are more than just brain and gut foods; they are also heart-healthy foods. According to an article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the essential nutrients and phytonutrients in various fermented foods benefit the heart by supporting healthy blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. [30]

What’s more, studies show that despite some fermented foods (e.g., kimchi) containing high amounts of sodium, they have no adverse effects on the health of those who eat them regularly. Researchers believe that this lack of effect may be due to the presence of other nutrients like potassium in kimchi, which blunts the negative effects of sodium. [31]  

They support your body’s natural ability to eliminate toxins

Lactic acid bacteria have been found to bind with metal ions and reduce their toxicity. [32] This is why fermentation is said to be able to support your body’s natural ability to detox. [33]

In addition, many fermented foods, like beet kvass, contain biologically active components that can support the healthy functions of your liver. [34] As your body’s main detoxification organ, your liver’s health is crucial to your ability to eliminate harmful substances from your system. [35] 

They support sensible weight management plans

According to studies, the gut microbial composition of people with healthy weights are different from that of people who are overweight or obese. This implies that your gut microflora exerts a certain influence on metabolic factors that affect your body mass. [36] [37] These changes, when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercises, can help support sensible weight management goals. 

They support a positive mood

Fermented foods also exert a positive influence on your mood. As reported by a study published in the journal Nutrition, one of the benefits of consuming foods rich in probiotics is that it can naturally uplift mood. [38] Because your brain interacts directly with your gut via bidirectional signaling, changes in your gut microflora can also affect your brain function and mood. [39] 

Where to get lab-verified Fermented Superfoods in convenient powder form 

Fermented foods are some of the best sources of essential nutrients that you can add to your diet. Thanks to the changes introduced by fermentative bacteria during fermentation, the nutrients in fermented foods are also more bioavailable than those found in their fresh counterparts. On top of that, the fermentation process increases the levels of beneficial phytonutrients in fermented foods, which is why they can do wonders for your health. 

To let you experience the wholesome goodness of fermented foods, the Health Ranger Store is offering Groovy Bee® Fermented Super30+ with Organic Apple Peel Powder. Made with more than 30 of the best fermented fruits, vegetables, wild herbs and more, this premium superfood powder is a nutritious addition to your diet that can help keep your body functioning optimally.

Each ingredient in our Groovy Bee® Fermented Super30+ with Organic Apple Peel Powder is carefully chosen according to macrobiotic principles to ensure that you receive a highly potent combination of essential vitamins and minerals, beneficial probiotics and bioactive enzymes. We’ve also infused this one-of-a-kind superfood formula with Organic Apple Peel Powder for an additional dose of antioxidants, potent phytonutrients and dietary fiber.

Groovy Bee® Fermented Super30+ with Organic Apple Peel Powder is specially formulated to help you meet your nutritional needs and to support healthy digestive and immune functions. It contains no gluten, GMOs or pesticides and is vegan, non-China and certified Kosher. As with all products at the Health Ranger Store, it is also extensively lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology.

Support a healthy gut and optimize your nutrition with some of the best fermented foods for optimal health! 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.