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The benefits of fermented foods for gut health, weight loss and more. Learn how to add fermented foods to your diets and what to look for when buying store bought fermented foods

Are you on the Sauerkraut, kombucha, probiotic yogurt train right now to try and lose weight, heal your gut or get any of the other health benefits of fermented foods?

You’re not alone. Fermented foods and gut health are trending right now but this is one fad we hope will stick around for a good while because these foods are actually really good for you. 

But what are fermented foods to begin with?

What are Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are foods that have been preserved in a process knows as lactofermentation where natural bacteria feed on sugar and starch to create lactic acid. Probiotics, B Vitamins and other enzymes beneficial to our health are formed during this fermentation process, making these foods incredibly healthy for our gut health. 

If you’re having problems with a leaky gut, these are the foods you want to be consuming. Read our full kombucha breakdown here and learn how to make this delicious fermented tea at home. 

With all the hype currently surrounding fermented foods, you may be wondering what the real benefits of fermented foods are exactly and how they may benefit you in your daily life. Here are a just a few of the benefits of eating fermented foods that may enhance your overall health and wellbeing.

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Gut Health

One of the biggest benefits of eating fermented foods deals directly with your gut health. The fermentation process requires live cultures. These live cultures and probiotics help break down food and send good bacteria back into your system.

This good or healthy bacteria helps to clear your digestive tract and helps to move food through your system. As this breakdown and clearing occurs, you will notice a reduced amount of irregularity and reduced toxins remaining in your system causing other issues.

Fermented Foods and Weight Loss

If you are trying to drop a large amount of weight and are having problems, the issue could be related to a buildup of toxins in your systems. This buildup can lead to a digestive issue that makes it difficult to move food through the system causing it to be retained and adding to your weight. 

Fermented foods help with this by assisting your body in breaking down foods and moving them through your system. They also help with fatigue and with issues of a sluggish feeling during or after a workout.

Fermented foods can also boost your metabolism, thereby helping further with weight loss.

Fermented Foods May Reduce Autism Symptoms

There are many parents of autistic children that may have been told of the benefits related to fermented foods. There have been studies that have shown how fermented foods can help reduce autism-related symptoms and issues.

In fact, some parents have claimed that their children with autism, who have had fermented foods introduced into their diets have shown more attentiveness and less stimming and anxiety.

Fermented Foods Reduce Tension and Anxiety

If you experience symptoms of anxiety and stress, you may find relief from adding fermented foods to your diet. There is a direct relation to your gut health and your anxiety or tension.

If you have poor gut health then you likely will experience an irritable stomach that can cause discomfort throughout the day. This discomfort may also lead to inflammation that causes more discomfort.

These issues combined can lead to tension in the body and anxiety. Fermented foods can reduce this chain of events by assisting in digestion and cutting down on inflammation that leads to the tension your body may be feeling.

All of these benefits can be combined and do not have to be stand-alone benefits. These are not benefits that are specific to one type of lifestyle, person, or situation. They are the basic core benefits of eating fermented foods and just the tip of the benefits iceberg.

Are you wondering where to begin with fermented foods in your diet? Try any of the below. 

List of fermented foods for beginners: Try these store bought fermented foods to get all the health benefits of fermented foods in your diet

4 Fermented Foods for Beginners

When you start off with any diet routine or adding foods to your diet, you may be cautious about what you add. You don’t want to have allergic reactions, but you also don’t want to have an issue of spending a lot of money on a food item that you actually don’t like.

Before you waste money on kits, fermented foods you have never tried or trying to jump into fermentation of your own foods, consider these fermented foods instead.

These four foods are easy to find, easy to add to your diet, and have familiar flavors and textures that make them easier to add into your daily routine.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is probably the easiest food to find and to add to your diet as a beginner to fermented foods. You can add it to sandwiches like Reubens. You can also add it to hot dogs and sausage dishes.

It is easy to add a little at a time and then add more later. You can find sauerkraut in jars, canned, and in bags in most produce sections. You can also find the canned version in the canned vegetable sections of most stores.

Keep in mind, the jar style would be the most ideal and the canned would be a last resort. This is due to the fact that canned foods tend to contain other preservatives that may cause the benefits of the sauerkraut to suffer. 

Try this organic and inexpensive jar from Whole Foods or delivered to you via Amazon Fresh. Get a free trial to Amazon Fresh here and $25 off your first order

Yogurt

Yogurt is super easy for beginners to find, add to, and enjoy in their daily diet routines. There are a few things to keep in mind when you are choosing a probiotic yogurt. Try to stick to a plain yogurt to which you can add your own fresh fruits.

You do not want one that already contains fruit as there may be preservatives used for the fruits that could diminish the probiotic benefits of the yogurt. You also want to stick to regular yogurt and not greek yogurt as traditional yogurt uses a traditional fermentation process.

Kombucha

Kombucha is ideal if you are more into a drink form of fermented food or if you just need something that is easy to digest on the go. If you are a cold tea or sweet tea fan, then this may be ideal as well.

Kombucha is made with tea, sugar, water and the yeast culture to add the probiotic. You can find kombucha at most stores that have health food or juice and smoothie sections. You can also make your own (learn how to make kombucha here) and find kombucha in a variety of flavors as well.

Miso

Miso can be found in powdered form in the Asian food section of most stores. You can also find block versions of miso or miso paste. This can be made into an easy to digest soup along with tofu and nori.

If you are out and about and want to get some fermented foods into your diet during the day, consider eating at a sushi restaurant or hibachi as they will offer miso soup as well as other fermented foods.

There are many more fermented foods that you can add to the mix over time. These are just the more common foods you can find at most any store and add to your daily routine.

Make sure when you are buying fermented foods or adding them to your diet that you are using a non-GMO labelled food product. This will cut down on chemicals and other preservatives that may detract from the natural benefits of fermentation.

What to Look for When Buying Fermented Foods

When you are buying fermented foods at the store, there are a few things you want to check for to ensure it’s of high quality. It’s easy to head into a store and grab and go, however, you need to make sure that what you are grabbing is fermented, has the benefits you need, and is not mislabeled as something that may not be what you need.

Here are a few things to look for when you are buying fermented foods.

Fermented Food Labeling

The first thing you need to do is look at the labeling of the fermented food you are buying. The labeling is vastly important for one simple stamp. Look for the non-GMO label.

You may not care if GMO’s are in your foods, and that is fine. However, when you are dealing with fermented foods, GMOs can add chemicals and additives that can cause the fermentation to be hindered. You may not receive the same benefits as you would if the GMOs were not there.

So, check for a non-GMO or GMO-Free level. Also, a vegan-friendly label helps as this means that the way the foods were harvested and processed is natural as well.

Always Check the Ingredients

You can tell if you are going to get the proper benefits of a store-bought fermented food by checking the ingredients. Look for things that should not be there.

Ideally , you should see the basic ingredients, vinegar, and salt. You should not see things like a high sugar count or fruits and vegetables that should not be there. For example, if you are buying a fermented apple product, you want to see apples and not a pear substitute (very common).

Check the Packaging

Try to stay away from any kind of fermented product that is in a can. There are several reasons for this. The first is the tin like taste that can seep into your food.

The second is that you have no idea what other preservatives were used after the fermented product was added to the can. You also don’t find many GMO free fermented items in canned varieties. Stick to jars or bags for your packaging.

These are only a few things to look for. However, by looking for these key points you will be able to ensure that you are getting a fermented food that actually has benefits and not just flavor.

If you are totally unsure about what you are getting, stick to the fermented foods you do know and research the rest for a later trip.

Fermented foods can be a great addition to a clean eating lifestyle. Check out our guide to eating clean here with all the amazing benefits this healthy lifestyle affords you. See even more and get an understanding of how to begin a clean eating diet in any of our dieting books above.

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