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Fermented foods

"Fermentation is at least as old a method of food preparation as cooking with heat.

Yeast and other 'friendly' bacteria are added to raw ingredients and set aside to ferment, during the process the microbes break down complex carbohydrates and proteins into more easily digestible elements.

Fermentation increases the vitamin and enzyme content of foods, aids digestion, and facilitates assimilation of nutrients.

Fermented foods also colonize the intestinal tract with friendly flora, which control putrefactive bacteria, maintain proper pH balance in the colon, and increase the bulk and frequency of bowel movements.

However, people with chronic yeast infections such as candida and those who are sensitive to salt should abstain from fermented foods.

Almost all culinary traditions include some form of fermented food in the diet. Western cultures make yogurt, houmus, and kefir (a yogurt-type drink) from milk, beer from barley and hops, and wine from grapes.

In the East, Koreans eat fermented cabbage (Kimchee) three times a day, China has various fermented soya-bean products such as tofu and Soya sauce, the Japanese make soups and sauces with fermented miso paste, Thai cuisine is laced with a pungent ferment fish sauce called nam-pla, and Indians drink a delicious beverage called lassi made with yogurt that is freshly fermented every day.

It is a good idea to include a moderate amount of fermented food in meals that are rich in animal protein and fat, in order to aid digestion.

That's one of the reasons why wine and beer are such popular accompaniments to the meat-heavy meals of classical Western cuisine's.

Even the Bible advises one to 'take a little wine for the stomach's sake'."

Source: Daniel Reid.  

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