Monday, September 21, 2009

Health Benefits from Cultured Foods

Did you know that you can preserve vegetables without freezing or canning them? Cultures all over the world use the process of lacto-fermentation to preserve foods and aid digestion. German sauerkraut, Russian pickled tomatoes and peppers, Korean kimchi, and Indian chutneys are just a few examples of foods traditionally made by converting sugars and starches into lactic acid, which is a natural preservative and inhibits putrefaction.

When traditional fermented foods entered the mass market, food producers typically left lacto-fermentation behind in favor of cheaper and faster methods of preservation, using vinegar for brine and then pasteurizing the product which eliminates all the beneficial effects on digestion. This is unfortunate, because lacto-fermentation offers a wealth of health benefits in addition to being a preservative.

The process of breaking down starches and sugars in lacto-fermentation renders the food highly digestible, and increases the amount of bio-available vitamins and enzymes in the food. Lacto-fermentation also provides the food with several antibiotic and anticarcinogenic properties, and promotes intestinal health.

The good news is that making your own fermented foods and condiments is quite simple! Stay tuned for most posts this week on how you can make your own sauerkraut!

Note: Information for this post was taken from Nourishing Traditions and the Weston A. Price Foundation website.

No comments:

Post a Comment