The Fermenting Revolution: The Latest Food Trend You Have to Try
It seems like every five minutes someone, somewhere is discovering the latest superfood that promises everything from preventing cancer to combatting the signs of aging. But the latest healthy eating food trend to sweep the country — fermenting — isn't actually a trend at all, it's an age-old process that's been around for almost 1000 years. And while fermented foods won't cure all of your ailments (no one food will — it's all about finding the right balance of diet and lifestyle), they have been proven to help improve digestive health, which according to the Tufts University School of Nutrition and Science Policy, has a big effect on staving off illness, as the digestive system is a key component to the immune system.
So what is it exactly? The word fermenting doesn't exactly conjure up the most pleasant of images. What might come to mind is rotting food. And you're right. Fermentation is a kind of controlled rotting, for lack of a better term, and uses live bacteria and yeast to transform the sugars found in food into alcohol. So why would you intentionally do this to your food? The process has a number of benefits, which include increasing the nutritional quality of some foods, helping in preservation, building flavor and making foods more easily digestible.
And you might be surprised to know that you've probably eaten fermented food a few times (and liked it) in your life without ever realizing it. Do sauerkraut, kimchi, cheese, beer and yogurt ring a bell? Yup, they're all examples of fermenting.
Why eat fermented foods? While flavor is definitely the number one reason, the health benefits aren't bad either. Fermented foods work like probiotics. They're chock full of good bacteria that can increase/improve intestinal flora (aka the naturally occurring bacteria in your stomach) and can even help address issues like IBS and some autoimmune disorders.
Where can you get your hands on some? The supermarket is one way, you'll shelves full of the stuff, but fermented foods are also easy enough to make at home. Two of the easiest ways to start? Sauerkraut and kombucha tea. Here are a few other recipes to dive in:
- Pickled Jalapeños via The Nourished Kitchen
- Crunchy Fermented Pickle Slices via Girl Meets Nourishment
- Lacto-Fermented Kimchi via Nourishing Minimalism
- Apple and Beetroot Relish via The Nourished Kitchen
- Fermented Grape Soda via Bon Appetit