Fermentation of foods like pickles, yogurt and olives might not be the first examples that come to mind when you think of healthy foods, but a growing body of research shows that a diet that includes a regular intake of fermented foods can bring valuable benefits to the body.
Fermented foods are a process that the ancients use to increase shelf life
Fermenteed foods are preserved using an ancient process that not only increases the shelf life and nutritional value of food, but can give your body a dose of healthy probiotics, the microorganisms essential for good digestion.
Dr. David S. Ludwig, professor of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan Public Health USA: “The digestive system is teeming with about 100 trillion bacteria and other microorganisms, and the presence of a diverse and healthy intestinal microbiome in the body plays a role in controlling the immune system and ward off harmful infections within the body, which may lead to conditions ranging from obesity and diabetes to neurodegenerative diseases.
“Most societies around the world have all along included fermented foods as part of their diet,” added Ludwig, according to the Harvard College website. “In cold northern climates, fermented foods allowed people to eat vegetables throughout the long winter months when they wouldn’t otherwise be available.” .
He continued: “Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of food preservation, and it can prolong the usability of food for months, for example, if you put cabbage on the shelf for a few weeks, it will spoil, but if you ferment it into sauerkraut, it will last for months, it is the same concept. With dairy products and fermented proteins.
Fermented foods alter the composition of billions of bacteria in our gut
And scientists have discovered, according to the American newspaper The New York Times, that fermented foods may have interesting effects on our gut, and eating those foods may change the composition of the billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in our gut, known as “gut microbes.”
It may also lead to decreased levels of inflammation throughout the body, which scientists link to a range of diseases associated with aging.
Effect of fermented foods on the gut and immune system
The latest results came from a study published in the scientific journal Cell conducted by researchers from Stanford University in mid-2021, in which he wanted to see the effect of fermented foods on the gut and the immune system, and compare it with the effect of eating relatively healthy foods from fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and other foods rich in fiber.
For the purposes of the study, researchers recruited 36 healthy adult volunteers and randomly divided them into two groups; One group eats high-fiber plant foods, Fermentation of foods and another group starts by not eating fermented foods and then moves on to eating a lot of them, such as yogurt, pickled vegetables, and some fermented foods from other cultures such as kimchi and kombucha.
Participants adhered to their prescribed diets for 10 weeks, as researchers monitored for signs of inflammation in the blood and looked for changes in their gut microbiome.
During the study, the first group doubled the amount of fiber it consumed, from about 22 grams per day to 45 grams per day, which is about 3 times the amount that the average citizen eats.
The second group went from eating almost no fermented foods to eating about 6 servings per day.
After 10 weeks, neither group showed significant changes in overall immune measures.
But the group of fermented foods had a significant reduction in 19 compounds responsible for inflammation, including interleukin-6, a protein linked to inflammation and whose levels are elevated in diseases such as type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
In the high-fiber group, there was no reduction in levels of the same compounds responsible for inflammation.
The emergence of new microbes in the intestine due to fermented foods
The researchers discovered that increasing the amount of fermented foods eaten by an individual leads to an increase in the number of microbial species that appear and live in his gut.
Surprisingly, however, only about 5% of the new microbes that appeared in the gut came directly from the fermented foods eaten by the group.
The amazing benefits of fermented foods
“The modern Western diet full of processed foods can upset the balance of the gut microbiome, which can lead to unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms,” says Gael Kreishi, a physician who specializes in the study of gut bacteria. Fermented foods are good for your health.
Doctor Krishi summarizes these benefits as follows:
1 – You can’t digest food on your own
The good bacteria help break down the complex carbohydrates you eat.
so this process of fermentation and metabolism produces other substances that are good Fermentation of foods for your body as well.
To have diverse gut bacteria, you need plenty of soluble fiber from foods like beans, oats, and oranges. Insoluble fiber, which is found in many whole grains, is good for you.
but it isn’t easy to ferment, so it doesn’t really contribute to the diversity of bacteria. Intestine.
2- The good bacteria fight the bad and win
Every day, we swallow disease-causing bacteria, however, and we don’t always get sick.
because the little microscopes take care of you.
The good bacteria create byproducts Fermentation of foods of acidic fermentation that lower the pH of the gut.
reducing the chance of bad bacteria surviving.
They also compete for the food supply on the intestinal lining.
Fermentation of foods plus they secrete antimicrobial proteins that kill bad bacteria.
3- Your body needs help making certain vitamins
We should thank the good bacteria for making or producing many of the vitamins your body needs. This list includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, and K.
4- A healthy body needs balance
The small bacteria in the gut have effects on the whole body.
Less diverse gut microbes are associated with many chronic diseases.
such as obesity, asthma, and chronic inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.
so the diversity of these microbes helps prevent these diseases.
5- Helps restore gut health after taking antibiotics
Have you ever had diarrhea or other digestive problems after taking antibiotics?
This is because these antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria.
so eating fermente foods helps bring your gut bacteria back to normal.