Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said disease begins in the gut. So, it only stands to reason that health and beauty begin there, too. The importance of good bacteria in the gut is central to this. We want to increase this friendly bacteria, and one of the very best ways to do this is through fermented foods. As a yoga therapist that uses nutrition, I noticed a profound positive shift in my students’ health when I began prescribing regular fermented foods as part of their daily diet.
There are many kinds of fermented foods. Most can be easily made in your home by placing some starter culture in a jar with a food base. Alternatively, you can purchase them from most health food stores. Some of the healthiest fermented foods are: kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar (with “mother”), kombucha, mixed pickles, and tempeh. Fermentation occurs naturally when bacteria is given an opportunity to transform the carbohydrates into more complex substances.
Here are twelve fantastic ways taking one meal a day that includes some quality fermented food will heal your body and mind:
1. Increase gut flora. This will strengthen digestion for better elimination of toxic waste through the bowels. Get clean from the inside out, and cleanse yourself of the old!
2. Clearer, smarter, sharper thinking mind. Any dysfunction of the brain is usually connected to what's going on in the digestive system. Many highly-regarded healers have cured mental problems through addressing the gut. It is well established that the gut serves as our second brain. Hence the phrases, “What's your gut feeling?,” “Have you got the guts?” and “Trust your gut instincts.”
3. Massively boost and heal your immune system. If the bad bacteria overwhelms the friendly bacteria, the maldigested food particles and fungus start to spread around the body. This is often called leaky gut syndrome. This sets off a firestorm of inflammation, which can lead to autoimmune disorders - including Addison's disease, Celiac, Multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Type I diabetes, Lupus, etc.
4. Detox. Fermented foods are some of the most potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of heavy metals. The beneficial bacteria grab hold of mercury, lead, aluminum, arsenate, and anything else toxic, holding on to them until they're removed through stool.
5. Beautiful skin. Every day you will see your skin improve. When you decrease the toxic load, and the bad bacterial load, this alleviates pressure on the body to do other things. Connective tissue is able to repair and heal. I have seen my student's beauty shine through. Acne, psoriasis, eczema, and other chronic skin conditions can clear, and the beautiful subtle coloring in their face radiates from their inner health.
6. Essential for nutrition. If you eat one meal with fermented foods every day, your gut will be dominated by beneficial probiotic species of microbes, and they will start to build and make all kinds of essential nutrients like B12, vitamin B6, vitamin K2, and biotin.
7. Biological enrichment of protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins. As we ferment the vegetables, we break down their cellulose structure, and they become more nourishing and mineral dense. The protein structure of foods is unraveled through fermentation, and becomes much easier to digest.
8. Food lasts longer. Fermenting has been a way of preserving foods since ancient times. Fermented foods generally do not need refrigeration, and certainly don't require artificial chemicals for preservation. Quite on the contrary: time actually assists the fermentation process.
9. Promote weight loss. Fermented foods are stabilizing for blood sugar, which means two things. First, they will balance appetite, leaving you feeling more satiated and less hungry. And secondly, they create a more even and steady release of insulin so the body doesn't store fat.
10. pH balance. Acetic acid and alkaline fermentations bring the blood and vital fluids back to a correct hydrogen level of pH7.35. In a very acidic world, this is very important.
11. Elimination of antinutrients. Foods that would normally be unhealthy because of phytic acid get transformed (like soy).
12. Great taste! You can enrich your diet through a more diverse range of flavors, aromas, and textures in food substrates. Expanding your cuisine into new foods goes against the health trend of denying and cutting out. Delicious and nutritious.
Feel free to check out the blog on my website for how to create your own goji berry sauerkraut.