Fermentation is a natural process of consuming the raw sugar in foods and creating a host of beneficial outcomes along the way. First, these bacteria and yeast cells preserve the foods by removing the sugars. The foods are always left more nutritious and healthy for you to consume after the probiotic bacteria have been boosted during fermentation. Probiotic bacteria are the kind of guys that make yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, Kimchi, and kombucha. If you are not up to speed on these fermented foods, here's a quick primer.
Yogurt- Yogurt is made from cream or milk; this can be animal or plant milk cultured with a bacteria that produces lactic acid. These bacteria improve our gut health when we consume them. Why improve gut health? More on that in a minute.
Kefir- Kefir is milk that has been introduced to grains with beneficial bacteria and yeast. The bacteria produces a tangy, thick beverage that tastes like yogurt. Kefir has less lactose than milk because the bacteria break down these sugars.
Sauerkraut- Sauerkraut is cabbage that is salted and fermented in its juices. Again, these probiotic bacteria create antioxidants in abundance as they populate. Sauerkrauts' heavy antioxidant properties make them excellent at fighting the occurrence of cancer.
Miso: Miso is made for seasoning foods, and miso is made by fermenting salted soybeans.
Salting is a standard method used during fermentation because it draws out the excess water in food and concentrates the carbohydrates so they can break down quickly. This breakdown of the simple sugar in foods creates enzymes that reduce cholesterol and may prevent heart disease and other ailments.
Kimchi- Kimchi is a Korean condiment made with salted Napa cabbage leaves and garlic, chilies, radish, and assorted vegetables may be used. Often salted dried shrimp or fish sauce is added. Kimchi starts its tasty fermentation from a paste that includes rice flour or potato, or another starch to feed the bacteria. Kimchi is highly seasoned and usually spicy from the addition of Korean chili flakes. These give Kimchi a bright red color, a warm tone, and a mild fiery flavor.
Kombucha- Kombucha is a quick fermented tea. It is usually made from black tea and sugar with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, otherwise known as a SCOBY. This is similar to the mother that makes vinegar. Kombucha is easy to make at home, but it is becoming so popular that many brands are coming on the market now. Making your own can reduce any additives and processing. Drin