Fermented foods have provided beneficial bacteria and good health to humans for thousands of years

Fermented foods have provided beneficial bacteria and good health to humans for thousands of years.

Fermentation of food dates back at least 6,000 years BC. Scientists and historians say that fermented foods were probably discovered by accident as ancient people sought ways to preserve fresh food for later use.

They were adapted and perfected through generations of traditions and cultures throughout the world.

Fermenting and culturing mean the same thing—a method of pre-digestion that takes place when there are beneficial bacteria (lactobacillus or biffidus strains) NATURALLY present, or a yeast strain which breaks down the starch and sugar in foods.

As these bacteria divide, the process forms lactic acid, described as lacto-fermentation….


Nearly every civilization down through history has had its own favorite fermented foods in its traditional diet.

A few examples include Asian countries that utilized the koji making process, a steamed rice that has mould spores cultivated onto it—used for preparation of fermented foods such as miso, soy sauce, the spirit sake and rice vinegar.

The Japanese enjoy natto, a sticky dish which is high in protein, vitamin K2 and antioxidants, and they also ferment different types of vegetables, fish and plums.

Kimchi is a traditional basic of Koreans (fermented cabbage, garlic, chilli and other spices).

Kombucha is a sweet, black fermented tea historically made by many cultures throughout the world.

Kefir (yeast fermented drinkable yogurt) comes from Russia and Turkey.

Fermented leavened bread was made by the ancient Egyptians, and a basic for Roman soldiers was long fermented sourdough bread.

Europeans have long made sauerkraut and cultured dairy such as sour cream, butter and certain cheeses.

The U.S has lagged behind other cultures in its use of fermented food (other than sauerkraut), but interest is growing among Americans every day, many of whom are now doing their own fermenting.

Doing your own fermenting is a good idea, as store-bought sauerkraut, pickles and yogurt are produced for mass consumption, plus are pasteurized, which robs the food of nutrients and minerals.

While doing your own fermentation is the best choice (and there are many simple ‘how-to’s online. In order to reap the benefits of commercial fermented foods, READ THE LABEL. See if it includes added live and active cultures.

Today good fermented foods are available in some supermarkets and most reputable health food stores.

Fermented foods that include live and active cultures (probiotics) are key to good health. They are rich in B and K2 vitamins. They boost immunity, increase digestibility of even unhealthy foods, increase overall vitamin and mineral levels and fight candida, bad pathogens and harmful bacteria.

In addition, fermented foods are instrumental in removing toxins from the body, improving bowel health and regularity,  and curbing carbohydrate and sugar cravings.

For those who love cheese and are aware of the vitamin K2 deficiency in the Standard American Diet, the best (fermented) cheeses for a K2 source are Gouda, Brie and Edam. Lesser sources of K2 include Gruyere, strong cheddar, original Swiss and hard goat cheese.

Those who are not lovers of sauerkraut, yogurt,  kimchi, etc., but prefer supplements, be sure to choose only whole food supplements and probiotics that have added beneficial bacteria strains.

Primary source: Changinghabits.com.au