What do kefir, kimchi and kombucha have in common (aside from the fact that they all start with the letter k? You guessed right: they’re all fermented!

Fermentation is a process when bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms are used to convert carbohydrates in food or drink into alcohol or acid. It’s a huge part of cooking and food preservation for years, and recently has grown in popularity.

Here are just a few reasons why:

It preserves food

During fermentation, acetic acid, alcohol, and lactic acid are produced. They help foods retain the nutrients and slow down spoilage so that you can enjoy them long after their typical shelf life.

It improves digestion

Digestive enzymes are the key to good digestion, and fermentation ensures the production of these. It’s thanks to these enzymes that you can absorb nutrients, properly digest them, and make the most of them in the body.

It helps with the management and prevention of some common lifestyle diseases

First let us say, results are mixed; but there is some evidence to suggest that fermented foods help to prevent and reduce the symptoms of liver disease and lactose intolerance, among other things. 

So that’s why you should ferment, which fermented foods are best? These are a few of our top picks.

Miso

You know that soup you get when you eat out at sushi restaurants? That’s made with this stuff. Miso reportedly has antioxidant, antidiabetic, anticancer and antihypertensive properties. Not bad for a cup of soup!

Sauerkraut

Cabbage gets a whole new look! When these thin slivers of cabbage are fermented they increase the production of folate, manganese and vitamin C in the body, and provide great protection of your blood vessels.

Booch!

Kombucha is the health world’s latest obsession, but there are legitimate reasons for all the hype. It helps to detoxify the body, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol, and some say it helps the body to resist cancer.

If you want to take it a step further, do your own fermenting! It’s a fun way to get more proactive about your health. Have you tried any fermented foods? What are your favorites?

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams