5 Gut Health-Boosting Benefits of Fermented Foods

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Recently, gut health topic has gained traction and more attention as researchers publish promising discoveries about it. The gut plays a major role in human health. It is even called as the second brain because the gut has intelligence of its own even without instructions from our brain.

Moreover, researchers discovered that large portion of the neurotransmitter serotonin is produce in the gut. It means a healthy gut is one of major player of keeping the body healthy. Even losing weight is possible when the gut is in its optimal health.

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods on Gut
Health Benefits of Fermented Foods on the Gut

But first, what is the gut? If this is your first time reading or hearing it, the gut simply means your gastrointestinal system with digestion as its primary role. It means, the better your gut digests the food you eat, the better it can deliver and absorb the essential nutrients from the foods you eat.

However, the gut can only be as efficient depending on the foods consumed. For example, there is nothing the gut or digestive can do with highly processed foods like hot dogs and high-sugar beverages. Instead of contributing to maintaining a healthy gut, it can harm the gut instead.

On the other hand, simple foods like whole foods and fermented foods are well-suited for the gut. It means it can process it well and deliver to the body the necessary essential nutrients for maintaining optimal health.

Let’s explore a few gut health-boosting benefits of fermented foods.

Gut Health-Boosting Benefits of Fermented Foods

It may seem a primitive food processing but fermentation produces enzymes the body needs to breakdown foods to let the body absorb the necessary essential nutrients.

Fermentation has been done for a very long time. Today, there are still cultures in remote areas who do fermentation as their primary means of preserving foods as they lack refrigeration.

In modern societies, fermentation is becoming more popular due to studies publish that shows the many health benefits it offers to the body, particularly, the gut. It has even its own journal by the British Society of Gastroenterology.

Here are a few reasons you should start eating fermented foods;

1. Produce Beneficial Enzymes

The entire gastrointestinal system functions efficiently when there is a balance of enzymes. In food fermentation, microorganisms produce liquids to breakdown complex compounds.

Among these enzymes include catalase, protienase and amylase. All these have important role to play to keep the intestinal walls well-maintained allowing a smooth digestion. 

2. Promotes Healthy and Beneficial Bacteria

The human body is composed of bacteria, a balance existence between beneficial and all other sorts of bacteria. It is essential that the beneficial bacteria is in control it keeps a healthy environment for optimal health.

One of the most beneficial to maintaining a healthy community of beneficial bacteria is eating fermented foods as it promotes healthy gastrointestinal flora.

The GI flora or microbiome has influence in moods as it produces most of the serotonin. Besides serotonin, researchers also found that other neurotransmitters like dopamine, norephedrine and GABA to name a few are also produced in the gut.

It is worth noting that these neurotransmitters are essential preventing anxiety and depression. Hence, nurturing gut health is essential and one of the effective way to boost gut health is to consume fermented foods.

3. Facilitates Proper Digestion

One of the obvious benefits of fermented foods is better digestion. Due to the enzymes produced during fermentation, it helps the gut digests food easily and absorb the necessary essential nutrients while feeding or nurturing the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract.

Fermented foods also helpful in easing digestive issues including bloating, gas and even heartburn.

For meat eaters who have digestive issues, eating meat along with fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut makes it easy for the digestive system to breakdown the meat. Protein-rich foods are known to take longer to digest.

Having kimchi or sauerkraut as side dishes is also a good way to increase vegetable intake eventually keeping the gut healthy.

4. Keeps Stool Solid But Not Constipated

It may sound funny and nonsense to be concern about the stool. For most people, it’s just a stool, a waste product the body releases.

Fermented foods keeps your stool easy to pass
Fermented Foods Makes Stool Easy To Pass

However, a well-formed stool is also an indication of a healthy gut, which in turn an indication of a healthy digestive system. Today, many people are keeping wet wipes in the commode due to coronavirus (COVID-19), but even before that, there are people who have been doing it due to watery and loose stools.

Moreover, although a water or loose stool is easy to pass, it can painful in the gut and anus. The feeling of contracting muscles pushing hard the stools is not funny.

Constipation, on the other hand, is not a funny experience, as well. It’s difficult to pass and when it happens very often, it could cause hemorrhoids.

While a perfectly formed stool due to proper digestion, stool is easy to pass and less messy. It does not even need a wipe as stool comes out in one piece. Plus the feeling of relief as the abdominal muscles contract to release the stool.

More importantly that that, a perfectly formed stool means the GI tract absorb nutrients for into the bloodstream efficiently. Plus, it cleans out the GI tract wall particularly, in the large intestine.

5. Boosts The Body’s Immune System

One of the effective ways to boosts the body’s immune system is through proper diet like eating fermented foods. Boosting the body’s immunity is one of the benefits of fermented foods.

Of course, some supplements like Immune Defence can boosts immunity but it would be a healthy idea to combine proper diet while taking supplementation.

When worry about a viral infection or getting protected against an infectious disease just like what has happened recently, it is worth maintaining a proper diet including fermented foods and taking immune-boosting supplement as a further support.

Of course, immune system weakening habits and lifestyle must be avoided including sugary foods and drinks. Doing regular exercise even light movements like walking along with occasional intermittent fasting all help in boosting the body’s immune system.

One study finds that the human body possess a receptor in cells to detect metabolites in fermented foods. When this happens, it makes the immune system active in scouring pathogens throughout the body.

The study also shows among the benefits of fermented foods is it helps in maintaining good levels of glucose, as well as improve insulin functions. Hence, fermented foods could even be more beneficial for people with glucose problems.

Studies also show that they can help maintain good levels of glucose and improve insulin functions in the body.

Claudia Staubert, author of the study says;

We believe this report comes with a number of benefits including anti-inflammatory effects that help the body fulfill its functions.

6 Ways To Enjoy The Benefits of Fermented Foods

Because of the many health benefits of fermented foods, it should be included as part of a proper diet. Here are a few ways fermented foods can be a part of one’s regular diet.

Fermentation process works for both solid foods and drinks. Hence, you can enjoy the benefits of fermented foods both in solid and liquid forms.

Sauerkraut
  1. Eat Sauerkraut
  2. Greek Yogurt as A Dressing for your salads 
  3. Drink Kefir or Kombucha 
  4. Eat Tempeh (fermented tofu)
  5. Make Miso Soup 
  6. Use ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) as dressings or drink it

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the known benefits of fermented foods. For sure, there are many more health benefits to it. But being aware of these few benefits, it is encouraging and hopefully, more people would start incorporating it in their regular diet.

Hence, it’s time to get fermentation recipe and start fermenting your own food at home with a particular food you have in mind.

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