Eat More Fermented, Bacteria-Rich Raw Foods
Our guts are incredibly sensitive and complex ecosystems. In fact, If you’ve ever felt that pit in your stomach and chalked it up to nerves, you might be surprised to discover that you’re absolutely right! New research has shown that our guts are our “secondary brains”! It’s for this reason that we feel those “butterflies” and when we experience high levels of upset or stress we need multiple (and inconvenient) trips to the bathroom.
Our gastrointestinal system is filled with gut bacteria- forming what is described as a symbiotic relationship. Our bodies aren’t capable of digesting all the food we eat on their own, which is where the important role of the gut bacteria comes in, breaking down the indigestible carbohydrates we can’t process, allowing us to absorb more nutrients from the food we eat.
Given this close relationship, when our gut bacteria isn’t at optimal healthy levels, both our emotional and physical wellbeing suffers- leading to mood swings, deficiencies in severe cases and overall reduced wellbeing. This is often exacerbated by cravings (frequently for unhealthy, processed foods)- which damages the bacterial colonies further, given the absence of nutritional value and content.
Fermented, pro and prebiotic rich foods can help to restore and stabilise an unhealthy gut. Through introducing these to the body, we are fuelling our own internal ecosystem with improved function and in turn, better digestion and overall health.
So what kinds of foods are those?
These fermented foods revolve around the ancient practices of food preservation. The kind of bacteria found in fermented raw vegetables is full of probiotics which are essential for good gut health. These probiotics add more good bacteria into our gut which in turn, makes it easier for us to digest the food we eat.
Fun fact: the micro bacteria in our bodies can account for more than 2 kg of our weight!
Why isn’t society eating enough of these preserved fermented raw foods? Quite simply, freezing and canning practices have largely replaced these ancient preservation methods. With recent scientific research and more attention being placed on the importance of gut health, we’re seeing a popularity shift back to the old-school ways of fermented raw food preservation of wholegrain plant based foods.
Kimchi, one of the most popular fermented raw foods in the world comes from Korea - which originated thousands of years ago. In both North and South Korea, families enjoy kimchi daily- with extraordinary health benefits. Kimchi is a fermented cabbage, loaded with pre and probiotics and nutritious fibre. Traditional practices originally involved combining raw cabbage with spices, then sealing them in pottery containers, buried underground. Although traditionally made using cabbage, kimchi can also be made using cucumbers, garlic radishes, and other vegetables.
Over in Japan, miso soup has the same beneficial properties due to the fact that miso is made from fermented soybeans, a very healthful and cleansing ingredient. It’s customary in Japan to eat miso products and miso soup daily- a large contributor to the low levels of ill-health experienced as a culture.
Sauerkraut (popular in Germany) is a wonderful way to enjoy fermented raw foods with good bacteria and in India, they have lassi. Western cultures seem to be largely missing these nutritional elements, however this is slowly changing.
So what can we do to improve your gut health?
We can seek out our own fermented raw foods. Some supermarkets sell kimchi ready-made which is a good way to start, however kimchi can be too spicy for some. Experiment with making your own, or you could pickle fresh fruits and vegetables to preserve yourself. There are countless ways to do that and it’s so much fun to experiment to find what you and your family enjoy the most.
By enjoying preserved fermented raw foods daily, you’ll find that you’re feeling better, more energised and you’ll see a marked improvement in your digestion. In time, your cravings for junk food will ease and you’ll enjoy renewed health and wellbeing, including better quality of sleep and more stable moods.
Making fermented foods at home is very easy and they provide a cost-saving and readily available source of nutrition for the whole family. As with everything, regularity and consistency is key.
This article features information, tips and ideas around how to make your own fermented vegetables at home. There are some helpful hints for getting starting as well as details on the supplies needed. There are also links that will take you to various recipes for homemade sauerkraut, kimchi, and other delicious fermented raw vegetables.
Whether you make your own fermented raw vegetables or you opt for pre-prepared options, adding these wholefoods to your diet is going to make a huge difference in your health and wellbeing… with almost instantly noticeable results, too!
Rawries is passionately committed to making raw wholegrain plant-based food convenient, achievable and absolutely delicious... for everyone! Visit our blog for articles and evidence based research discussions around the healthful benefits of incorporating "more raw" into your diet, as well as tips on how to boost your nutrition and overall wellbeing. For raw vegan inspirations, head to our vibrant recipe selection of breakfasts, mains, salads and soups, sauces and dips, desserts and fresh juices and smoothies. We can't wait to hear what you think of them!