Fermented foods have a long history in many cultures. Our ancestor fermented food to preserve it for the later consumptions. We have benefitted from the introduction of the fermentation process. The main benefit is it creates a probiotic that improves our immune system.
Probiotics, which we usually term as good bacteria, provide all sorts of benefits to our immune system. The live microorganisms found in fermented food have various benefits. It may improve digestive health, reduce depression and promote a healthy heart.
Although probiotics supplements is popular, you can get them naturally from fermented foods. Here is a list of probiotic foods that are super healthy.
Yoghurt is one of the best sources of probiotics, which contains friendly bacteria that improve our overall health. The fermentation process from milk creates lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.
It is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, indigestion. Additionally, yoghurt may be suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
However, keep in mind that not all yoghurt contains live probiotics. So make sure your yoghurt comes with active or live cultures.
Miso is a Japanese seasoning paste. Traditionally made by fermenting soybeans with salt and Koji, a type of fungus. However other ingredients like rice, barley, and rye are also mixed with soybeans to create the paste.
Most often used in Miso Soup, the main breakfast item and Miso Ramen. Miso is typically salty. It is a good source of protein and fibre. It is high in various vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, including vitamin K, manganese and copper as well.
Kefir, a fermented probiotic milk drink, usually made by adding kefir grains into cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk. The Kefir grains are not cereal grains, but rather cultures of lactic acid bacteria or yeast.
The drink is known to improve bone health, digestive system and protect against infections.
The drink contains several major strains of friendly bacteria and yeast, making it a diverse and potent probiotic.
Sauerkraut, a finely shredded cabbage, fermented with lactic acid bacteria. It is one of the oldest traditional foods. Often served as a side dish, it has a sour, salty taste and stores well.
In addition, it is rich in fibre as well as vitamins C, B and K. It is also high in sodium and contains iron and manganese.
Sauerkraut also contains the antioxidants which are important for eye health.
Kombucha, a drink, made from fermented black or green tea. The tea fermentation process uses a friendly colony of bacteria and yeast.
The internet claims about the potential health effects of kombucha. However, the evidence is still lacking. The available studies are only animal studies, so it may or may not apply to humans.
It is fermented with bacteria or yeast, it probably has health benefits. Additionally, it must have a benefit related to its probiotic properties.
Kimchi is a fermented, spicy side dish from Korean Cuisine. Nappa Cabbage is usually the main ingredient, but it is a versatile dish.
Kimchi is often mixed with red chilli pepper flakes, garlic-ginger paste, and salt. Kimchi contains the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus, as well as other lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria benefits our digestive system.
Cabbage Kimchi is high in some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and iron.
Tempeh is a fermented product made from soybean. The flavour usually described as nutty, earthy or similar to a mushroom.
Tempeh, originally from Indonesia, is becoming popular worldwide as a high-protein meat substitute.
Soybeans are typically high in phytic acid. This helps in the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc. Fermentation also produces vitamin B12, a nutrient that soybeans do not have.
Gherkins, a pickle in which cucumbers are fermented in a saltwater solution. The fermentation process turns them sour.
Pickled cucumbers are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria which may improve digestive health. They are low in calories and a good source of vitamin K. Different culture have different types of gherkins.
9. Traditional Buttermilk
The term buttermilk actually refers to a range of fermented dairy drinks. However, there are two main types of buttermilk: traditional and cultured.
Traditional buttermilk is simply the leftover liquid while making butter. Only this version contains probiotics. Widely consumend in India, Nepal and Pakistan.
Buttermilk is low in calories and fat but contains several important vitamins and minerals, like vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorus.
Natto, like tempeh and miso, is another fermented product of soybean. Like miso, it is a staple in Japanese kitchens.
It contains a bacterial strain called Bacillus subtilis. Natto has a distinctive smell, slimy texture and strong flavour. Natto is rich in protein and vitamin K2.