Before moving to Korea, I never ate fermented vegetables. They were never part of my childhood and I didn’t have many opportunities to try them.
Then I moved to Korea, tasted kimchi and fell in love. It’s sour, tangy, spicy and so healthy! Now that I’ve been studying nutrition, I have a little more information as to why fermented vegetables are a wonderful addition to any diet.
First, fermenting vegetables is the best way to preserve them. They can last up to one year in the refrigerator.
Secondly, they have more nutrients than canned or pickled vegetables. They aren’t cooked, so the nutrients are not leached out during the heating process.
Third, they are the best source of probiotics. The bacteria responsible for fermenting the vegetables are Lactobacillus sp. You will obtain more probiotics from one serving of fermented vegetables compared to both probiotics supplements and commercial yogurt.
Fourth, fermenting vegetables is easy, fun and safe.
So what are the health benefits to consuming fermented foods?
Fermented foods are filled with healthy, beneficial bacteria that can do wonders for our bodies. Everyone has bacteria in their gut. A balance of 85% good bacteria to 15% bad bacteria is ideal. Unfortunately, most people don’t have this balance due to consumption of sugar, refined grains and other unhealthy dietary habits. So, consuming fermented foods can help to restore this ideal ratio. While the bacteria ferment the food they produce enzymes which can protect us from pathogens as well as help us to digest other foods.
I have just touched on the topic of fermentation. There really is so much more to know. If you are curious about learning more about fermenting, this book came highly recommended. Sandor Katz is an expert in all things fermentation. I plan on purchasing a copy soon! He also has a website if you’re interested in taking a peek http://www.wildfermentation.com