What is Fermented Food?

fermented food

 

Kombucha, kimchi… fermented food is nothing more than a new food trend for you? We show you why you can find more and more fermented vegetables in the supermarket. And that fermented food has been part of your diet for much longer than you think.

Fermentation: what is it?

Fermentation is a process that previously was used to feed longer tenable to. With the invention of the refrigerator, this function has become less and less important. Today, fermentation is used, among other things, to change the taste and texture .

Did you know that coffee and chocolate are also the result of fermentation ? This ensures that the typical aroma is formed during the production process .

Yogurt is also fermented during the production process. This changes the consistency of the liquid milk.

The most important in the fermentation are bacteria and fungi. Without them, the process cannot take place. The best-known bacteria are the lactic acid bacteria . They are not only in fermented food, but also in your intestines.

In total, about 100 trillion beneficial bacteria live in your intestines. Here they take over important tasks of your digestion: breaking down food and making the nutrients accessible to your body .

How does fermentation work?

Bacteria or fungi that are added during the production process, or that are on the food, convert substances in the food. The best-known breakdown products are lactic acid acetic acid and alcohol .

Depending on the environmental conditions of the food, certain bacteria work better than others. Lactic acid bacteria, for example, are normally active without oxygen . They convert monosaccharides , which are simple sugars, into lactic acid.

Fermentation lowers the pH of the food.

Because rotting substances do not survive long in an acidic environment, fermented foods have a  longer shelf life.
Today, fermentation is especially popular for its many health benefits.

Fermented Foods: Are They Really That Healthy?

Of fermented dairy products are said to be the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes type II decrease. Several studies  also show that fermented milk products are easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance .

There is also some evidence that eating kimchi can aid in weight loss and has a positive effect on fat metabolism and inflammatory processes.

In general, fermented foods are associated with a positive effect on the intestinal flora . And because most of your immune system is in your gut, it has a positive effect on your immune system .

Although many different studies on fermentation have been done, research on this topic has not yet been completed .

What remains unclear is how often you should eat fermented foods so that the beneficial bacteria actually reach your intestines.

It is also relevant which steps follow the fermentation. Strong post-fermentation heating often kills beneficial bacteria before they are consumed.

So you do not automatically eat healthy by eating fermented foods . A balanced diet always consists of a balanced ratio of macronutrients , sufficient fiber and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you combine this with an active lifestyle , you will automatically feel a lot healthier and feel better about yourself.

Food fermentation process

Yogurt
When milk is fermented, its consistency changes and it becomes “thicker”. This step is also essential in cheese making. The cause is the acidic environment that is created. The acid causes the milk protein casein to solidify.

Kefir
Milk is also fermented to make kefir. Not only lactic acid bacteria, but also certain types of yeast are involved. Valuable by-products are, for example, vitamins B and C.

Sauerkraut
The classic fermentation product. Since there are naturally lactic acid bacteria on the cabbage, it only needs to be crushed and a little salt added. Fermentation starts immediately when no more oxygen is added.

Kombucha
Fermented green or black tea is currently the absolute trend drink. To ferment the kombucha, it works in tandem with yeast and bacteria. This alcoholic fermentation only takes place if sugar is added beforehand.

Kimchi
To ferment Chinese cabbage, it is preferably soaked in salted water. The lactic acid bacteria ferment the sugar in the vegetables.

Tempeh
After the soybeans have been prepared by, among other things, pre-cooking them, they are fermented by means of a fungal culture.

Miso
Steamed soybeans are fermented with, for example, steamed rice or barley using a certain type of fungus.

Fermenting vegetables – instructions

Step 1 : Choose a suitable vegetable, clean it thoroughly and cut it into small pieces. A basic rule in choosing the right vegetable is that the firmer the vegetable, the more suitable it is. Softer vegetables quickly turn mushy when fermented.

Step 2 : To allow the juice to escape, you need to puree the vegetables as best you can. This works well with a mortar, for example. If not enough liquid comes out, you can also add some water. At least enough to just cover the vegetables.

Step 3 : Salt is not a must and you can add it to your own taste. You can also add other spices such as chili, pepper, etc. as you like.

Step 4 : Seal the vegetables airtight in a glass jar. Since gases are created during the fermentation process, there must be enough space between the vegetables and the lid.

Step 5 : Leave the pot for one to several weeks at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

Step 6 : Take the taste test. We recommend trying it for the first time after 6-8 days. Once it has the optimal taste for you, you can eat it or store it in the refrigerator.

Conclusion

  • Fermentation is a food preservation process.
  • It changes the texture, aroma, color and taste of the foods.
  • Beneficial bacteria convert nutrients.
  • Lactic acid, acetic acid or alcohol are the main products of this process.
  • Fermented foods are associated with health benefits.
  • However, they are not a substitute for a balanced diet.

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