Cultured foods are any dietary item that has undergone the fermentation process. Yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are a few examples of the most popular cultured foods.
Historically, fermentation was a tool to help preserve the shelf life of food and change the flavors and texture. Today, fermentation still does these things, but we also now understand that cultured foods are an ideal source of probiotic bacteria.
There are many potential benefits to adding probiotics from cultured foods to your diet, and opening your taste profile to cultured foods is a great way to try new things while also supporting the gut, immune system, and much more.
How Food Becomes Cultured
The fermentation process takes a food with a low-acidity (higher pH) and introduces an acid-producing organism that, over time, will lower the pH (increasing the acidity) of that food to at least 4.6 pH. For example, pickles are fermented from cucumbers. To make pickles, simply add cucumber spears to a jar of brine and let this sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.
If you want to learn more about fermenting food, these recipes are worth checking out if you have a free weekend afternoon.
One important note, there are many regulations regarding the production and sale of fermented foods. This is because of the health risks associated with improper fermentation. Doing things the wrong way can lead to dangerous bacterial growth. Follow these safety tips to learn more.
Benefits Of Eating Fermented Food
Probiotics do a lot of good for the body. These include supporting the immune system against “bad bacteria,” and the breakdown of food and the absorptions of nutrients.
When the body is healthy, there are trillions of “good” bacteria that help us to feel in a state of balance. But sometimes the body gets out of balance. This can happen when antibiotics, stress, alcohol, or illness harm the quality and number of good bacteria. The result? Gas, cramping, diarrhea, and even migraines.
So, fermented foods work to help feed the good bacteria in the body, increasing the diversity of bacteria, and helping to restore the balance of the body.
Probiotic Support With Supplements
Not everyone enjoys fermented food. Especially if you live in a country like America, where fermented foods don’t seem to be widely available in stores or restaurants. Whether it is the acidity, softer texture, or even the flavor, getting enough cultured food in your diet can be hard.
But there are alternatives that let you avoid food you don’t enjoy eating. Body Ecology is a dietary supplement brand that specializes in gut health. Body Ecology formulates capsules, liquids, and even starter kits to help you make cultured foods (for kefir or vegetables) at home.
Body Ecology also offers a range of other products that make it easier to support your gut. If you prefer capsules, Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes contains a full range of enzymes that work to help you break down and digest protein, carbs, fats, sugar, and fiber. Coco Biotic Probiotic Drink is a liquid probiotic that seeks to help recolonize the walls of the intestines with healthy bacteria. Probiotic Protein Shake contains a fermented protein blend with 18.6 grams of protein, herbs, and green vegetables to support digestion and the health of bacteria in the gut.
Along with supplements, you might consider giving fermented foods a try. However, be wary that not all fermented foods are made the same.
Buying “Fake” Fermented Foods
All fermented foods are not all created equal. “Real” fermentation requires compounds that help start the growth of live cultures. For example, some pickles found at your local store may have been fermented using vinegar, meaning it doesn’t contain probiotics.
How do you know if food contains live cultures? Either look at the label for the phrase “naturally fermented,” or when you open the jar for the first time check if tiny bubbles appear; these signal that live organisms are likely present and ready to support gut health.
Also keep in mind that there are a lot of ways to support the health of your gut. Getting enough fiber, eating one or more servings of vegetables each day, and even exercise can support the good bacteria in the gut. If cultured food and changes in your diet aren’t enough, then Body Ecology supplements or other probiotic formulas may be right for you.