Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fermentation: The Nutritional Benefits

Humans have been fermenting their food and drink since the beginning of time. Jars containing wine dating back 7,000 years in present Iran, leavened bread in ancient Egypt, fermented milk in Ancient Babylon; the list goes on and on. We can’t know if these people understood the health benefits of consuming fermented food and drink, but it’s pretty obvious they liked it.

Fermentation Today
Contemporary humans have taken a liking to it as well. Beer, wine, ketchup, Tabasco, chocolate, cheeses and many other favorites are all based in traditional fermentation processes. Unfortunately, commercial interests are causing the foods most accessible to us to be fermented in manners that lower the nutritional benefits of fermentation. Pickles, onions and sauerkraut are being fermented in acidic vinegar as opposed to natural salt; bread is leavened with commercial yeast as opposed to wild yeast; and wine, beer, yogurt, milk and cheeses are heavily pasteurized in high heats. Contrary to lacto-fermented processes, all these methods kill of the good bacteria and enzymes that fermentation naturally provides.

What’s So Great About Fermentation?
The fermentation process involves the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins by microgranisms such as bacteria and yeast. This creates great advantages in health and food preparation.

Food Preservation
The primary goal of fermentation in ancient times which holds functionality today is food preservation. Fermented food lasts weeks and sometimes months longer than fresh food. Consider how much longer a pickle stays fresh than a cucumber.

Digestion and Immunity
By fermenting food and allowing it to break down on its own, it naturally processes our food even before we eat it. Traditionally fermented foods are also rich in enzymes which allow food to be digested easier. Fermenting food also allows your body to take in and process the nutrients and vitamins in your food.

Taste
Naturally fermenting food creates full, fresh and rich tastes in food and drinks.

Easy and Inexpensive
Fermenting your own foods and using them in healthy and tasty recipes is easy. With a few products, like E-1 Microbial Inoculant, fermenting your own food was never so easy or cheap!

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