Fermented Foods: Healthy for the Intestinal Flora

A recent study shows that fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are good for your health. They increase the diversity of the intestinal flora and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Fermented foods are trendy, but the idea is not new: natural fermentation processes have been used to preserve foods for centuries. In Germany, the method is mainly used to make sauerkraut, but the Japanese miso paste and the Korean dish kimchi are also based on this type of fermentation.

Lactic acid fermentation: Important vitamins are preserved

In the so-called lactic acid fermentation, which is used to produce sauerkraut, for example, the relevant bacteria are naturally present in the vegetables. They pre-digest our food. A lack of oxygen, which is deliberately withdrawn from the food, and the addition of salt ensure that no “bad” bacteria that would spoil the food multiply.

The lactic acid bacteria, on the other hand, do not need oxygen. They eat the sugars and starches in cabbage and convert them into lactic acid. This lowers the pH value. The end product becomes sour and therefore remains edible for a long time. Healthy ingredients such as vitamins C, B2, B12, and folic acid are also retained.

Fermented foods improve gut health

In cultures in which a lot of fermentation takes place and these foods are regularly on the menu, scientists have been able to determine strikingly good intestinal health. And a recent study by Stanford University shows that fermented foods increase the diversity of the intestinal flora.

The risk of colon cancer is reduced

During fermentation, chemical substances are produced by the bacteria that are important for our intestines. According to scientific findings, the risk of colon cancer can be reduced in this way. Butyric acid, which stabilizes the DNA in the stem cells, seems to be an important component here. Inflammatory reactions, such as those that occur in rheumatic diseases, also seem to be regulated.

Experts recommend eating fermented foods every day. In addition to natural yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut is popular. Products from our own production are to be preferred because industrially produced food is usually pasteurized – i.e. made to last longer. The important bacteria are then no longer included. And: There are more bacteria on organic products that are important for fermentation.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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