Fermented Foods Are Making a Comeback
Retro is in, and the trend has even permeated the foods we eating. Heirloom vegetables are prized, more and more families are growing their own food, and even fermented foods are making a comeback.
Traditionally, almost every civilization regularly produced and consumed at least one cultured food, most notably, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, chutneys, and kefir. Cultured foods have been fermented with lactic acid bacteria, commonly known as probiotics. While our generation has all but forgotten traditional fermentation practices, recent scientific research into the impact of lactic acid bacteria on health means probiotics are finding their way into kitchens everywhere--this time in the form of juices, nutrition bars, breakfast cereals, infant formulas and condiments.
Restaurants are catching on, too. The Korean dish kimchi (fermented vegetables) is appearing on menus across the country, and
Empirical research has now identified a long list of health conditions that can benefit from the regular consumption of fermented food, including colitis, constipation, diarrhea, gas, gastric reflux, and heartburn. Many experts believe that the benefits reach far beyond digestive disorders, however. Recent studies have indicated links between probiotics and autism, obesity, cancer, and other health concerns.
Of the more palatable fermented foods, humans have extolled the virtues of cultured milk products for thousands of years. Many different types of fermented milk products can be found globally, but yogurt is by far the favorite. Though the benefits of yogurt to digestive health were already recognized, Russian biologist Ilya Iliych Mechnikov popularized its use throughout
Kombucha tea is the latest big thing in fermented foods. Though it was traditionally brewed at home, commercial Kombucha products have recently found their way into supermarkets. The fermented drink's 2,000-year-old recipe can be traced back to
"There's no denying its distinct taste and appearance--vinegary, extremely effervescent, floaties--but natural fanatics, celebrities, and now mainstream consumers are jumping on board," says
Kombucha tea has quickly gained a following, says
Kombucha fans report craving the "Kombucha Buzz" the drink generates, describing it as a simultaneous increase in energy, clarity, and sense of calm.
Of the numerous health benefits attributed to Kombucha, the most noteworthy include improving digestion, detoxification, and fighting cancer.
You can make your own tea starting with SCOBY-cultures, which look like rubber pancakes, and are known as "Kombucha babies."
Whatever your pleasure, health experts recommend consuming probiotic bacteria every day for overall good health.
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