Fermentation for SuperHealth
What is Food Fermentation?
A food-preparation technique dating back to ancient times, fermentation has been traditionally used to preserve fresh foods and improve their shelf life, increase nutrient density, and enhance flavour. Many well-known fermented foods and beverages (i.e. apple cider vinegar, olives, miso) have also been shown to contain health-promoting phytonutrients, especially polyphenol. These potent bioactive compounds have antioxidant properties which protect the body from free radical damage, build immunity, provide energy, and have anti-inflammatory properties. A diet high in fermented food has been linked to longevity and prolonged good health in many cultures worldwide, namely the Bulgarian, Hunza, Japanese, and more. Food fermentation processes can utilize a wide range of microbes (friendly yeast, molds and bacteria) to achieve the desired physical change to the food or beverage. Depending on the type of end product intended, a wide variety of microbes have been and still are successfully used by many different cultures around the world. Some common examples of these microbes include the mold used to make blue cheese, yeast used to make beer, bacteria for kefir or yogurt, and both bacteria and yeast to make soy sauce, just to name a few.
Fermentation of SuperFoods – A Great Idea!
In modern-day fermentation processes, fermented superfoods including beet, maca or turmeric powder (and many more) are produced by a host of similar, if not the same, friendly microbes used in ancient times. Enzymes produced by these beneficial microbes break down or predigest sugars, complex carbohydrate molecules and eliminate digestion-blocking factors found in many superfoods. This pre-digestion process significantly improves the body’s ability to assimilate the optimum nutritional value and promote gut health. Antioxidants and many other phytonutrients, naturally-occurring in these superfoods, are converted by friendly bacteria and other microbes into their “free” forms. This enhanced availability allows for more effective and efficient usage within the body.