This Is Why Fermented Foods Are Important For Your Health

Fermented foods have a positive effect on gut health. The fermentation process can also increase the nutritional value of food.

Long-lasting, rich in healthy nutrients and especially good for the intestinal flora: Fermented foods have been staple foods in many cultures for centuries - and for good reason. They have been proven to bring a number of health benefits, but more on that later.

It is hard to imagine traditional Swiss cuisine without fermented foods such as yoghurt, sourdough bread or sauerkraut. The fermentation used is a biological process. It converts carbohydrates with the help of microorganisms such as yeasts and bacteria into organic acids such as lactic acid, among other things.

Food is "predigested"

Before the refrigerator and freezer became the norm, our ancestors had to get inventive. Fermentation served as the ideal preservation method for perishable food. The relevant microorganisms are already naturally present in the food. You can think of it as "predigesting" the food in the broadest sense.

It's easy to ferment vegetables at home - you don't need any special ingredients or cooking talent.

This lowers the pH value. The acidic environment contributes to the food having a longer shelf life. But taste and texture can also be changed.

Intestinal flora becomes more diverse

Now the question remains: Why are fermented foods healthy? "The intestine is the father of all tribulations", the ancient Greeks already had this wisdom. It is the headquarters of our immune system and home to trillions of bacteria: both "good" and "bad". When the balance between these bacteria is disturbed, it can lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiome and make us more susceptible to disease.

Vegans do not have to do without the healthy lactic acid bacteria in yoghurt: Most plant-based alternatives are also enriched with them.

Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. These are the bacteria that contribute to a healthy microbiome. As a Stanford University study shows, eating fermented foods leads to greater diversity of gut flora and reduced inflammatory markers. Our gut flora is also closely linked to mental health, as further studies show.

Iron and zinc are better absorbed

Fermented foods can increase the availability of certain nutrients, making them easier for the body to absorb. This is because the fermentation process breaks down complex compounds into simpler forms that are more easily absorbed by the body. For example, studies have shown that iron and zinc are better absorbed through fermented vegetables.

Pickles are particularly healthy if they are made without added sugar, salt or artificial preservatives.

In addition, fermentation increases the nutritional value of food. The microorganisms contained in the food produce various nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamins of the B group and vitamin K.

Caution: Fermented foods are not all the same

These are just a few examples of the many health benefits associated with fermented foods. However, it is important to know that not all fermented foods are the same. Some have more health benefits than others.

Fermented foods are consumed in a wide variety of cultures around the world.

Flavoured kombucha or kefir with fructose, for example, may be high in sugar and contain additional flavours or sweeteners. In some circumstances, this can cancel out their potential health benefits.

On the other hand, if fermented foods are made with simple ingredients and no additives, they are a healthy and nutritious addition to the diet.