Touted as the latest way to boost digestion, fermented foods are rising in popularity.
Whilst kimchi and sauerkraut are all good options, plain yogurt is often a forgotten, yet easily accessible and cheap fermented food.
Here is some information about fermented foods and a super little yogurt recipe:
What are fermented foods?
Fermented foods are foods which have been fermented on purpose.
Before fridges were invented, fermentation was a way to preserve food. For example, milk turns into yogurt under the correct conditions.
Fermentation is done by friendly bacteria turning the sugars in food into lactic acid. This lactic acid is sour, hence the taste of plain yogurt and sauerkraut.
The great thing about lactic acid is that not much else can survive in it aside from the friendly bacteria that did the fermentation in the first place, so it is safe to eat for humans.
Moulds and other disease-causing organisms are kept out.
Fermented food examples
Kimchi - a Korean condiment
Sauerkraut - fermented cabbage
Yogurt - this one doesn't need an explanation
Kefir - fermented milk that tastes a little like thin yogurt
Kombucha - a fermented tea drink
Why should I eat fermented foods?
They are a good source of friendly bacteria.
Friendly bacteria naturally reside in our large intestine where they make short chain fatty acids and certain vitamins for us. Vitamins include biotin, Vitamin K and some folate whilst short chain fatty acids serve as a direct fuel source for the gut lining.
Basically, these friendly bacteria do a lot for us.
Sadly, their numbers are affected by medications, especially antibiotics, and lifestyle choices such as drinking too much alcohol and not eating enough fiber.
Eating fermented foods is a good way to boost their numbers.
A super yogurt recipe:
Yogurt is a good way to get some friendly bacteria, just ensure it is a plain, organic yogurt.
Flavored yogurts are often full of unnecessary ingredients that won't do your health much good.
I added chia seeds, baobab and coconut nectar to a small pot of yogurt to upgrade it. The resulting snack is thick, creamy and comforting whilst being full of goodness.
Chia seeds are a source of fiber and Omega 3s, baobab is full of Vitamin C and coconut nectar tastes good (something had to balance it all out).
Ingredients for 1:
150g of organic, natural yogurt (I used a full fat Yeo Valley yogurt)
2 teaspoons of baobab powder (this tastes of lemon sherbert)
1 Chia shot or 7g chia seeds
1 teaspoon of coconut blossom nectar (maple syrup or honey will also do)
Mix everything together and allow it to stand for half an hour. By this time, the chia seeds should absorb some of the liquid to produce a thick, creamy texture.