Cultured Foods and Fermented Foods: What are they and why are they so good for us?
What are cultured and fermented foods?
Cultured foods and fermented foods are natural ways humans have consumed probiotics for thousands of years. They don’t just provide a greater range of bacteria than the commercial yogurts, they also deliver more nutrition. There is a whole range, catering for all tastes – vegetables, dairy products, cereals, fish, just about everything. You can make them yourself, or you can buy the read made. I’ve put some resources at the end.
Why are cultured food and fermented foods so good for us?
To understand just why cultured or fermented foods are so important to our health, an introduction to the ‘microbiome’ is needed.
Dr.Martin Blaser, the director of NYU’s Human Microbiome Program has written an important book on a subject all health care providers should be aware of. The subject is the microbiome. The book is called “Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues”.
Dr Blaser points out that since World War II there has been a huge rise in a number of diseases, especially allergies, autoimmunity and obesity. Instead of going down the usual route of looking for individual causes for individual conditions, the world’s collective microbiome projects are pointing to just one major cause of many different problems – the upsetting of the natural order of things in the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes that SHOULD be living inside of us, that have a purpose, and a vested interest in keeping us all healthy and well.
We are full of so many of these microscopic bugs that up to 90 percent of all the cells in the human body aren’t human at all — they’re micro-organisms.
The major reasons our microbiome is in such big trouble?
There are a number of factors. One is to do with our previous attempts of staying healthy: Antibiotics, antibacterial soaps, or even just too much washing
Another is the over medicalisation of natural processes – C-sections at birth (far higher than ever before).
Another is agricultural chemicals and industrial pollution.
Even chlorinated water is harmful to good bacteria.
You can read more in Dr Blaser’s book: “Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues”
It’s About DNA too
It’s not just the microbes that are important, it’s actually their genes, Professor Jeroen Raes has this to say:
“We have about 100 times more microbial genes than human genes in the body.”
And there’s more … proteins made from fungus and bacteria called micro RNA circulate in our blood stream. It’s estimated that about 25% of the microRNA circulating in our blood is not human (and nor should it be).
This means that what is living within us actually makes up our genetics. Which also means a lot of our ‘genetics’ is not just what our parents gave us, it is a choice too. This gives us power over our health.
What are the benefits of healthy gut bacteria?
what kind of roles to healthy gut bacteria play for us?
A healthy ratio of good to bad gut bacteria is also essential for:
- Proper development and function of your immune system
- Protection against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease
- Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
The probiotics in your gut also play a role in helping numerous bodily functions, such as:
- Digesting and absorbing certain carbohydrates
- Producing vitamins, absorbing minerals and eliminating toxins
- Keeping bad bacteria under control
- Preventing allergies
We also know that certain gut bacteria have an effect on brain function, so not only are there probiotics, there are now psychobiotics!
Don’t forget your mouth
It’s not just your gut that needs to be filled with happy bacteria. Your mouth is now emerging as another place we have killed off what makes us healthy.
The best place to learn about the mouth microbiome is from dentist Dr Gerry (this is an affiliate link so if you do buy his toothpaste I’ll make a few cents) – http://shrsl.com/?fbx8
Before we get to the cultured and fermented foods themselves there is one more BIG concept to get. This is something very new, and you may well be one of the first people in the UK (or anywhere) to learn about this.
Cutting edge research has found that even more fundamental to the microbiome then the actual microbes is there communication system. I won’t go into details, I’ll let you watch this interview between one of my mentors, Dr Dan Pompa, and the discoverer of the microbe communication system.
To cut a long story short, if you have gut health issues – leaky gut, irritable bowel, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or you were born by C-section or have a child born by C-section, then you need to try Restore before you spend any money on probiotics.
You can learn more about Restore here – http://restore4life.com/about-good-gut-health/
We do not yet stock it in the clinic but you can get it from the Finchley Clinic (not to do with me, and service can be a bit slow at times, but it’s worth it):
Cultured Food and Fermented Food Recipes and Resources
For cultured foods, here’s some links to recipes to try, and places to buy them ready made.
These are places in the UK to purchase ready made fermented products
There are plenty more foods to explore on Google, here’s just a few:
Kimchi (Korean food, and as it gets more popular you’ll soon have a restaurant near you!)
Here’s Part 1 of my Permanent Perfect Eating Plan for Permanent Healthy Weight, and do call us if you have health issues as expert guidance can be a shortcut to good health