Fermented Foods: Why You Should Eat Them And Making Yummy Sauerkraut

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probiotics-fermented foods

Fermented foods have been part of the human diet in virtually every culture throughout recordable history.  Obviously, the main reason was to preserve food.  I’d argue that our ancestors knew full well what the incredible health benefits eating fermented food provided as well.

Fermented foods need to be eaten every day for optimal health.

As an aside, there are 2 main types of fermentation.  Lacto-fermentation (sauerkraut, kimchi, charcuterie, etc.) and alcohol fermentation (beer, wine, vinegar, kombucha, bread, etc.).  For the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing on the health benefits of lacto-fermentation.

In Part 1 of this 2 part series on fermented foods, I’ll be covering 3 of the 4 main benefits:

  1. Pre-digestion
  2. Nutritional enhancement & bioavailability
  3. Detoxification
  4. Probiotics – *needs an entire article*

Finally, we’ll wrap up with a “how to guide” to making your own sauerkraut at home.  Sauerkraut is informally known as the “gateway drug” into the fermentation world.  The first one’s always free!  So without further ado…

Pre-digestion?  Sounds disgusting.

Maybe it’s just me but when I hear pre-digestion I think of a mama bird gagging up some goodies for her baby chicks.  Not the ideal mental picture I quite wanted when I began to research fermented foods a while back.  So what exactly does pre-digestion mean in the context of fermented foods?

The easiest and probably most well-known examples would be gluten in bread or lactose in milk.  Gluten-free is everywhere but fortunately, smart folks are starting to figure out that gluten-free isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  There are actually several problematic proteins present in grains that wreak havoc on our digestion.  Traditionally fermented sourdough bread actually breaks down 4 of the gluten forming proteins.  It also pre-digests the starches.  There’s a third component for bread (and grain in general) we’ll get to in the detoxification section as well.  In the case of milk, lactose is pre-digested by healthy bacteria.  This is why most people with lactose intolerance can drink raw milk kefir because there’s virtually no lactose left in it.  Raw milk kefir is the greatest thing ever.

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About Kyle Erickson

Kyle Erickson has an extensive nutrition and fitness coaching background. He owns and operates www.foodfitnessfamily.com, a functional health coaching, traditional foods and wise traditions focused website that educates the public and offers healthy lifestyle information for the whole person. This includes diet, exercise, sleep, detoxification & stress management. His background also includes CrossFit coaching, producing the CrossFit radio show and giving nutrition lectures at local gyms. He is currently in the practicum portion of the Kresser Institute's ADAPT Health Coaching Certification program and graduates in June. He also makes and sells traditional foods like sauerkraut, chicken liver pate & bone broth to his local community in North Bend, WA.

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