Having a balanced and varied diet contributes to the fundamentals of a healthy life. September can be a challenging month but it's also a good moment to start fresh, and implement good eating practices for ourselves and our children. In this blog, we're going to explore how fermented foods can support our health during this time of the year and how they can easily become part of our diets.
Lacto-fermentation, what is it?
Lacto-fermentation is a traditional culinary process of transformation used to preserve food. The formation of lactic acid during the process of fermentation helps eliminate harmful bacteria, preventing putrefaction and, above all, making food more digestible and nutritious. With the help of beneficial bacteria present in the veggies, foods can develop a probiotic effect, which nourishes the microorganisms of the digestive tract, facilitating its functions.
Nutrition and digestion
Fermentation allows better digestion of food, especially gluten. During the fermentation process, certain toxic substances (cyanide, phytates, saponins) are destroyed and molecules like lactose are considerably reduced.
Beneficial micro-organisms that ferment food, transform complex compounds into simple compounds, making their nutrients more accessible and increasing their nutritional value: vitamin C, group B vitamins (especially B12), vitamin K, and certain trace essential elements for immunity, such as iron and zinc.
Not only fermented foods are richer in vitamins and minerals on their own but they can also help us better absorb and assimilate the vitamins and minerals of other foods when eaten together.
Strengthen the immune system: adults, children and teenagers
With the start of the school year and the onset of winter, it seems essential to strengthen our immune system and our intestinal flora, especially the one of our children.
Our immune system is mainly concentrated within our intestines, this is where the work begins. A strong immune system will protect us and reduce the chances of developing colds and flu that accompany the cold months, especially in children who are exposed to more viruses and diseases at school. Last but not least, having a strong immune system can help both adults and children to better manage stress and anxiety in these back-to-school times.
The intestinal ecosystem is the seat of a formidable army, which can be ready for combat at the slightest attack. But to be able to better defend ourselves it's important to take good care of it. The probiotics found in fermented foods provide our bodies with microorganisms that can help grow good bacteria. These good microorganisms help strengthen the work of the intestinal ecosystem, which concentrates 60% of our immune cells.
There are many ways to naturally strengthen our intestinal flora, that of our children, and one of them is to consume fermented foods: kimchi, kefir, tempeh…
Here are some ideas to incorporate fermented foods into your diet:
Add kefir to your smoothies.
Decorate your wraps/sandwiches/bowls/salads with kimchi
Use kimchi as a condiment for omelets
Replace ketchup or hot sauce with kimchi.
For sauces, dressings, or cold soup, consider including kimchi juice, sauerkraut juice or miso.
Replace meat with tempeh, which you can eat hot in your gratins, curries, or stews, or have it cold in sandwiches, wraps, salads, and bowls.
Replace your sugary drinks with Kombucha or water kefir
Article written by certified nutritionist Aurelia Corbaz