Because of the lifestyles we lead today, consuming fermented foods aren’t as much a part of our diets as they should be. The bacteria and yeasts that are a part of fermentation make our digestive system work much more efficiently by neutralizing plant toxins and making vegetables easy to digest.
The absence of fermented foods can cause our digestive system to become weak and be subject to all sorts of health problems, including the following:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Gerd (acid reflux)
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Chronic skin conditions
- Kidney problems
- Urinary conditions
- Allergic and atopic conditions
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) Inflammatory bowel diseases
There are also mental and emotional problems that are connected to an unhealthy digestive system. They include:
- Obsessive compulsive disorders
- Link to autism
In many cases, these illnesses are related to nutritional voids in our fast-food, processed lifestyles. Changing to a healthier diet of whole foods (unprocessed foods) augmented with fermented foods can reverse the causes of nutritional deficient diseases.
After looking through these long lists of health and mental problems which can occur when you consume a diet that’s absent of fermented foods, it’s easy to see why more people are now making it a point to add them to their diets.
Bad Bacteria Versus Beneficial Bacteria
Beneficial bacteria flora is found in our digestive systems and can help to kill the bad bacteria that can cause many of the health problems that we discussed in the last section.
Beneficial bacteria can be found in fermented foods, and can shield us from the bad bacteria that can make us ill.
Bad bacteria is often caused by compromised digestive systems. That means that you may have been taking drugs, going through surgical procedures and being exposed to neurotoxins such as arsenic, lead and mercury.
Many laxatives contain neurotoxins such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) can cause serious complications to your digestive system such as kidney damage, allergic reactions such as hives, esophageal perforations and encopresis (the involuntary passage of stools).
PEG is found in products used to clean toilets, detergents, wood treatments and paint, rubber and some textiles. They’re the products that we’re exposed to every day and can ruin the good bacteria in our systems that help us maintain good health.
The presence of good bacteria in our digestive systems can help to synthesize vitamins such as B-7 (Biotin), B-12 and the essential vitamin, K. The absence of these vitamins can lead to hair loss, eczema and a host of other health problems – and the more serious degenerative problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Good bacteria in the gut perform many functions that humans need for cell growth, energy and digestions. In the absence of good bacteria, the gut cannot utilize some of the carbohydrates we consume. It prevents the absorption of water which increases the bad bacteria in our bodies.
H. Pylori Bacteria – Particularly Harmful and Infectious Bacteria
One of the worst conditions that can happen in the absence of healthy intestinal flora (good bacteria) in our guts is a condition called H.Pylori (Helicobacter Pylori) infection.
This type of harmful bacteria infects about two-thirds of the world’s population and typically begins to infect the stomach during childhood.
The reason that this harmful bacterium is so intense and far-reaching is that they can protect themselves within your stomach so that they can survive and be protected from the immune cells that would otherwise destroy them.
They can actually reduce the acidity in your stomach so that they can survive nicely. And, their shape (spiral) enables the H. Pylori bacteria to break through the lining of your stomach and protect themselves with mucus. No immune cells can reach them in that protective cover.
Another reason the H. Pylori bacteria are so devastating is that it causes gastric and intestinal problems such as ulcers in your stomach and duodenum (the area of the gut that goes into your stomach). Other problems may also appear from the effects of this bacterium, such as cancer and an inflammation known as gastritis.
H. Pylori bacteria can erode and ulcerate the stomach and make it easier to contract a number of devastating diseases. An effective way to combat the possibility of contracting this bacterium is to consume healing probiotics which help to restore the body’s shields.
Fermented foods bring the probiotics you need to combat bacteria such as the H. Pylori and to keep the gut healthy and free from other problems. Fermented foods can be a powerful ally in providing the nutrition you need to prevent the deadliest of diseases.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms that offer some form of health benefit to the host – they can be found in various different foods. Probiotics are believed to play very important roles in regulating proper intestinal function and digestion. – source Medical News Today [http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/].
The Nutritional Benefits of Fermented Foods
The nutritional value of the modern diet has declined immensely compared to the rich and nutrient-filled foods that our ancestors ate. Now, our diets are laden with sugar, chemicals from processing and other so-called, “empty” foods.
We absolutely cannot maintain health without the bacteria and yeasts that are prevalent in fermented foods. They keep pathogens from forming that could cause infections and make us ill – especially the feared, H. Pylori infection. In pregnant women, these probiotics can help prevent neonatal infections.
For many, the idea of eating so-called, fermented foods is off-putting. But, fermentation occurs in many of the foods we normally eat today – aged cheese, yogurt and sauerkraut to name only a few.
These precious foods are chock full of vitamins and minerals, probiotics, enzymes and natural immune system boosters. The process of fermenting certain foods (lacto-fermentation) is where the natural bacteria in the food consume the sugar and starch in the food, which creates lactic acid.
The process not only preserves the food, but also creates good enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy nutrients so that they are in a form that’s more digestible. Unfortunately, the modern world has found ways to process food with technology rather than naturally, so many of the benefits have been lost.
Here are some ways that consuming fermented foods can boost your health and help keep you disease-free:
- Food absorption
The balance of gut bacteria (good bacteria) and enzymes help you absorb more of the nutrients from the food you’re eating. Real, fermented foods can help you absorb many more of the valuable nutrients contained in your food and you won’t need to worry about whether you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.
- Preserves food for future use
Foods that aren’t fermented will last a few days, at most, in the refrigerator. The lacto-fermentation process lets you store foods such as beets, pickles, sauerkraut and other types of vegetables for longer lengths of time without losing the precious nutrients.
- Provides valuable probiotics, vitamins and enzymes
Probiotics are essential for the well-being of your digestive system and it’s been scientifically proven that they can also help improve intestinal health, aid the digestive process, improve your immune system and either slow or reverse a variety of diseases.
Fermenting foods is a good way to help your food budget. Healthy foods can be more expensive than processed foods. If you don’t have access to fresh produce that makes it very difficult to change to a clean diet. However, making your own fermented foods is very simple and affordable. You will also discover that fermented foods have a long shelf life, too.