Fermented foods are gaining significant recognition due to their numerous health benefits. As part of the 7 Systems Plan, I recommend incorporating them into your daily diet. They contain abundant probiotics and nourish the Digestive System for a positive impact on the entire body. Today, we will explore the world of fermented products and uncover their transformative effects.
Hidden within these fermented wonders are compounds with antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, and antioxidant properties. Additionally, they contain bioactive peptides that exhibit effects such as opioid antagonists (which can decrease food addictions), anti-allergenic benefits, and blood pressure regulation. These remarkable elements fortify the body against pathogenic factors like salmonella and E.coli and nurture the protective intestinal lining.
Fermented foods shine as nutritional powerhouses, elevating food’s nutrient content and bioavailability. The bacteria in these creations produce essential vitamins and enzymes, promoting optimal digestion and gut health. Moreover, they strengthen the immune system, regulate appetite, and reduce cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates.
The Gut-Brain Connection
Scientific research has revealed a link between fermented foods and emotional well-being. A study by the University of Maryland School of Social Work spearheaded this exploration, highlighting the connection between gut health and social anxiety disorder. The intricate relationship between the gut and brain indicates that microbiota play a role in mood control, behavior, and communication. Furthermore, the consumption of probiotics has shown promising results in alleviating symptoms of depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The Digestive System and the brain are intricately connected. Although this is fascinating information, you will not experience transformation unless you know how to optimize this knowledge.
The gut and brain were created from identical tissue during your development. The brain doesn’t have this unique connection with any other System, and the gut is the only system with its own brain.
We often think of the brain as the control center of the body, but your gut sends far more information to your brain than your brain sends to your gut. Communication occurs through electrical impulses through billions of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones.
For years we’ve known that the brain sends signals to the gut. Terms like “butterflies in your stomach” or “instant diarrhea” reflect this understanding. However, in recent years, we’ve observed how the gut constantly communicates with the brain by the vagus nerve.
It is the longest nerve from the brain and has the widest distribution of any nerve in the body, branching out to the entire Digestive System. This conduit is one way the brain and Digestive System communicate, and it is pertinent that 90% of all the signals passing along this nerve travel from the gut to the brain, not vice versa.
It may surprise you that your gut bacteria are the largest source of these signals. Good bacteria produce vitamins, aid digestion, rebuild the protective mucin layer, turn off the hunger hormone, decrease inflammation, and signal the brain to make good food choices. Your brain depends upon this information to keep your body healthy. These bacteria tell your brain what food you should eat and when you should eat it. The bacteria in your gut inform and instruct your brain.
The idea that gut bacteria tremendously influence your health is not a new concept. In 1907, Élie Metchnikoff wrote in The Prolongation of Life that disease and aging come from the bacteria in your gut. The research supporting this has exploded in the last ten years, and now it is a proven fact.
We may compare your gut bacteria to a rainforest—an entire ecosystem of living organisms dwelling in a delicate balance. If a rainforest is healthy and strong, life thrives. The same is true for the human body.
The Bad News
Unfortunately, many things in our world today upset this balance. Taking one course of antibiotics can wipe out your entire “ecosystem” for two years. Imagine a fire destroying a rainforest—recovering takes a long time.
When we eliminate good bacteria, harmful bacteria, yeast, fungus, and mold take over. Remember, microbes tell the brain what food to consume. Unhealthful bacteria send signals through the bloodstream and the vagus nerve to your brain to eat more junk food, saturated fat, and sugar. They thrive on these substances and influence your food choices and weight negatively. You can have trillions of these harmful bacteria signaling your brain to eat the type of food that feeds them.
As they multiply, the invading bacteria begin spilling out of your gut and affecting other Systems. The result is inflammation, infections, skin problems, gas, bloating, indigestion, and (most significantly) weight gain.
Unfortunately, antibiotics aren’t the only problem. Chlorinated drinking water, processed meat containing antibiotics, statin drugs, antidepressants, pain pills, acid reflux medication, artificial sweeteners, lack of fiber, too much sugar, and bad fat can also devastate your internal rainforest.
A study at Duke University in 2008 showed that using artificial sweeteners kills off beneficial microbes in your gut. Artificial sweeteners used in diet soft drinks are most likely the reason diet soft drinks cause weight gain.
The Good News
Enough of the bad news. Remember that good bacteria produce vitamins, aid digestion, rebuild the protective mucin layer, turn off the hunger hormone, decrease inflammation, and signal the brain to make good food choices. Your brain depends upon this information to keep your body healthy.
Let’s explore the benefits of indulging in some of the most sought-after fermented delicacies:
- Yogurt: Yogurt enhances diet quality, supports metabolic profiles, and promotes healthy blood pressure.
2. Kombucha: Fermentation makes This drink rich in B vitamins, enzymes, and probiotics. It is a refreshing beverage with myriad health benefits.
3. Sauerkraut: Boosts digestive health, improves circulation, fights inflammation, strengthens bones, and reduces cholesterol levels.
4. Pickles: Abound in vitamin K and contribute to bone and heart health.
5. Kimchi: Having a distinctive flavor, it contains cardiovascular and digestive benefits. Packed with antioxidants, it may reduce the risk of severe health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and gastric ulcers.
6. Natto: A formidable ally to the immune system and cardiovascular health, natto boasts the powerful probiotic bacillus subtilis. Additionally, it contains the anti-inflammatory enzyme nattokinase, with potential cancer-fighting properties.
7. Miso: Miso has anti-aging properties, which contribute to healthy skin, boost immunity, reduce cancer risk, improve bone health, and promote a well-functioning nervous system.
8. Tempeh: This versatile food source, rich in vitamins B5, B6, B3, and B2, offers benefits such as cholesterol reduction, increased bone density, relief from menopausal symptoms, muscle recovery, and a protein content comparable to meat.
9. Kvass: Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage made from rye bread or beets. It is rich in beneficial enzymes, organic acids, and vitamins, offering a range of health benefits such as improved digestion, detoxification, and liver support.
10. Kefir: Kefir is a tangy, creamy, fermented milk drink packed with beneficial bacteria and yeast. It is known for its probiotic properties, aiding digestion, supporting immune function, and promoting gut health. Kefir can be made from cow or goat milk or non-dairy alternatives like coconut or almond milk.
Note: All fermented products must be refrigerated.
Now that we have explored the remarkable benefits of fermented foods, let’s look at the fascinating fermentation process. Fermentation entails allowing foods to undergo a transformative journey, as the sugars and carbs naturally present in these edibles interact with bacteria, yeast, and microbes. This interaction alters the chemical structure of the food, giving birth to a plethora of healthful probiotics.
These incredible probiotics develop in significant quantities during fermentation, with at least 28 million microbial cells per ounce being common. Fermentation increases the bioavailability of nutrients and acts as a preservation method, ensuring a prolonged shelf life.
Enjoy exploring these fermented foods and reaping their remarkable health benefits!
For your health,
Video of the Week
Recipe of the Week
Go to Thrive Market to order this to make your own Kombucha, and while you are there, check out other fermented products.
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