7 recipes for great gut health

From kom­bucha to kim­chi, sauer­kraut to sour­dough, ke­fir to kashk, the fer­men­ta­tion bug is catch­ing be­cause it’s tasty, easy and good for you.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents -

If you want to catch the fer­men­ta­tion bug, start in your gar­den, then get a lit­tle salty.

There is no doubt that fer­mented food is good for you. The good bac­te­ria that live in your gut and show up in fer­mented foods im­prove di­ges­tion, boost im­mu­nity and – ac­cord­ing to some pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies – may even help us lose weight.

Re­search is still emerg­ing on just how im­por­tant these mighty mi­crobes might be for our health, but there is no doubt we need them. The best thing you can do to en­cour­age their growth is to eat fer­mented foods.

The fer­men­ta­tion process en­cour­ages es­sen­tial bac­te­ria such as Lac­to­bacilli and Bi­fi­dobac­te­ria to flour­ish. This makes fer­men­ta­tion a good source of pro­bi­otics. When fer­ment­ing some­thing like veg­eta­bles, they are sub­merged in a salty brine dur­ing prepa­ra­tion to kill off dan­ger­ous, path­o­genic bac­te­ria. The good bac­te­ria break down lac­tose and other sug­ars and starches in the food, mak­ing di­ges­tion eas­ier. Once these reach your gut, they con­tinue to help break down food and keep out bad guys like E. coli and C. dif­fi­cile.

In­cor­po­rat­ing healthy foods into your diet can get ex­pen­sive, but not so with fer­mented foods. How­ever, some fer­mented foods like kom­bucha, ke­fir or sour­dough bread do re­quire daily main­te­nance and lots of fridge space. For these nu­tri­tious fer­mented prod­ucts you need to keep alive their fer­men­ta­tion starter by feed­ing it reg­u­larly and this can be a bit off-putting for those start­ing out in fer­mented foods. Why not start off eas­ily and cheaply with­out a re­quire­ment for lots of fridge space and care?

You can grow your own veg­eta­bles at home for a cou­ple of dol­lars, then use sea salt to fer­ment them, a very in­ex­pen­sive way to get started. For those new to fer­mented foods like re­luc­tant spouses and picky chil­dren, it’s of­ten best to be­gin their in­tro­duc­tion by fer­ment­ing foods the fam­ily al­ready en­joy – homemade tomato sauce and homemade yo­ghurt are good choices. But many veg­eta­bles from the gar­den can be eas­ily fer­mented and then used in dishes the fam­ily al­ready like to eat.

When mak­ing any of these fer­mented foods you can use whey if you have any, in­stead of salt, to kill off the bad bac­te­ria and in­tro­duce the good bac­te­ria to the food.

If your fam­ily refuse to eat any of these, you can con­sole your­self with the fact that beer and cheese are also fer­mented foods!

In­cor­po­rat­ing healthy foods into your diet can be ex­pen­sive, but not so with fer­mented foods.


Fer­ment­ing radishes.

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