Kombucha, kimchi and kefir are just a few stars of the ‘so hot right now’ fermented food
resurgence. Long a staple of traditional diets fermented foods had until recent times become rare
in most Western diets. Now, they’re back in favour, and getting serious kudos for their ability to
promote healthy digestion and boost wellbeing.
What are fermented foods?
Fermented foods are foods that have gone through a process of lactofermentation, in which natural bacteria break down sugars and starches to produce lactic acid. In the process, the foods become nutrient powerhouses: easier to digest and dense with beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids.
What’s all the buzz all about?
Having a healthy balance of gut flora is re-emerging as a vital core of wellbeing and fermented foods are the ultimate food based source of these essential probiotics. To get the most benefit, it’s recommended you eat a variety of types of fermented foods to ensure you’re getting a broad
spectrum of bacteria your gut needs.
Heathy Gut, Healthy Mind
The more we understand the link between the gut and the brain the more links between mental
illness and gut health are being established. Whilst still an emerging area of medicine theresearch is very promising and could lead to gut health being a standard treatment for anxiety, depression and mood disorders.
With around 70% of your immune system being found in the gut, it makes sense that a healthy
digestion is the key to a vibrant immune system. What you may not have realised is that allergies,
arthritis, autoimmune conditions, autism, cancer and may other diseases can be linked to gut
So where can you get your hands on these magical fermented foods? Pop down to your local
health food store or organic vegie shop for the best quality products. Alternatively, you can make
Easy Sauerkraut Recipe:
Home made sauerkraut is a great source of beneficial bacteria and is really easy to make.
Remove the outer leaves from one medium cabbage (1.5kg is roughly the equivalent of one green
or two red cabbages). Shred the cabbage and then rub in one tbs of fine sea salt by hand until the cabbage starts to wilt and release its juices (around 5 minutes)
Pack the cabbage (including juices) as tightly as possible into a large jar to squeeze out all the air
bubbles, leaving a layer of juices on top. Finish by inserting a smaller jar filed with weights to create a steady downward pressure which will continue to squeeze the liquid out of the cabbage.
Cover with a piece of cloth secured by string or an elastic band and store in a cool place (not the
fridge and away from direct sunlight)
Sauerkraut will be ready to eat in 3 -10 days, with the flavour getting stronger the longer you leave it. Once you’re happy with the flavour pop it in the fridge where it can be stored for up to 2 months.
Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stress, anxiety and depression.
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupuncture, herbal medicine and meditation.