How does fermentation improve food?Fermentation works as bacteria or yeast are added to foods to stabilise or nutritionally enhance their qualities. In fact, in some cases, the fermentation of foods leads to the development of new, healthy antioxidants and phytonutrients not found in their fresh counterparts. When you ferment rockmelon (also known as cantaloupe) for example, enzymes develop that encourage the building of a strong, biologically active enzyme known as Superoxide dismutase (or SOD). This SOD is extremely important as it helps the liver to rid the body some very poisonous toxins, including some heavy metals. Another example of nutritional enhancement caused by fermentation, is the role traditionally fermented foods such as miso, tempeh and sauerkraut play in helping to keep the digestive system healthy. They do this by supplying not only healthy probiotic bacteria to the gut, but by enhancing the digestibility of the ingredients found in these products, such as soy beans and cabbage.
Newly created biochemicals change the ecology of the gutWith a beneficial effect on the health of the gut as well as gut microflora (those being the good bacteria or ‘probiotics’ you hear so much about), the newly formed nutritional compounds found in fermented foods work by providing easy to digest and assimilate nutrients, not found in fresh or dry products. These nutrients are easy to absorb, help you digest difficult to digest plant matter, and for the most part, higin in strong, healing antioxidants.
What is fermentation?Ancient cultures used fermentation methods to store fresh milk for days in ceramic jars. The resulting yoghurt was then consumed within days without the need for daily milking. Other ancient methods lead to the development of alcoholic beverages, as the fermentation of grapes in bacteria and yeast rich cellars lead to the development of wine, whereas other fermentation processes such as the addition of yeast to grains, lead to the development of modern foods such as bread.
Nutritional advantages of fermentation
- Promote healthy bacteriain the intestinal tract, to encourage or restore intestinal balance
- Fermentation unlocks nutrients otherwise unavailablein unfermented formulations.
- Fermentation also increases bioavailability of nutrientsin some foods, leading to more efficient nutrient absorption Antioxidants develop that are not present in fresh, raw plants
- Fermentation removes of anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid and lectin, thus improving bioavailability of raw food nutrients