More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, quipped that all disease begins in the gut. Recent studies suggest that many chronic disorders including obesity, depression, metabolic syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis may be triggered by unfavorable changes to the gut microbiome. So…it sounds like he was right!
We Are Not Alone…
A normal gut microbiome houses trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, all living harmoniously together. However, when disease-causing organisms take over the system, they divert nutrition away from the beneficial bacteria, and the symbiosis is lost. This is called Dysbiosis. Fermented foods may replenish good bacteria and their beneficial byproducts back into the gut microbiome.
Fermented Foods-Good Bacteria and Good Edibles.
Fermentation is a time-tested and delicious method for preserving food. It is a natural process through which bacteria and yeast convert carbohydrates into alcohol and short chain fatty acids. Both the bacteria and their byproducts are beneficial. These bacteria may help populate the microbiome with more beneficial species. Their short chain fatty acids nourish the intestinal lining, and increase the production of glutathione, a powerful anti-oxidant.
Here’s a List of Some of our Favorite Fermented Foods:
Salt-pickled veggies like cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower and beets
Dairy Products like Kefir, Yogurt, and aged Alpine Cheese
Disease Specific Benefits from Fermentation:
Beneficial bacteria reduce inflammation by blocking the production of TNF alpha, an inflammatory chemical correlated to Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohns, and Ulcerative Colitis.
Lactobacillus, often found in fermented foods, helps to remove heavy metals.
Acetobacter, may help break down glyphosate( Roundup).
Bifidobacterium and lactobacilli produce short chain fatty acids ( acetate, butyrate, propionate) which block NFKb, an inflammatory pathway. They also promote the formation of T regulatory cells which inhibit cytokine production.
- Liu Y, Alookarann JJ, Rhoads JM. Probiotics in Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disorders. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 18;10 (10): 1537.
- Chen J, Wright K, Davis JM, Jeraldo P, Marietta EV, Murray J, Nelson H, Mattteson EL, Taneja V. An Expansion of rare lineage intestinal microbes characterizes Rheumatoid Arthritis. Genome Med. 2016 Apr 21;8(1) 43.
This recipe highlights yogurt, a readily available fermented food. The fermentation process removes most of the lactose, transforming it into a more easily-digested, and delicious dairy product.
Greek Yogurt with Berry Compote
Full fat, organic, plain, unsweetened Greek Yogurt
Two 12 ounce packages of your choice of frozen, organic berries-We like blackberries and raspberries
One Cinnamon Stick
Two tablespoons of dark, raw, organic honey
One spring of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds-optional
Combine the frozen berries, cinnamon stick, and fresh thyme or fennel seeds, if using, in a heavy-based medium-size saucepan. Cook over low heat, and stir frequently, until a thick sauce forms, about 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and fresh thyme. Stir in the honey to taste. Cool, and serve spoonfuls of the compote over dollops of Greek Yogurt. Top with nuts, granola, and fresh fruit as desired.
The dominant strain of bacteria in Kombucha is Acetobacter which helps to break down glyphosate.
Start slowly with fermented foods. You may initially experience bloating and gas but it usually subsides over time.
Look for “active cultures”. Pickled foods are not always fermented, and some fermented foods may have been heated or pasturized during production which will kill the beneficial bacteria.