Food trends are funny. Sure, the foods that gain the spotlight aren't "new." Take kale or açai, for example—they’ve been consumed for centuries. But as we learn more about the multitude of health benefits they provide, they're suddenly what every blogger, nutritionist, and celebrity is eating. Next, restaurants follow suit, and these latest “it” ingredients end up on the menu at every hotspot in town, prepared every which way from Sunday. In social media terms, the foods basically go viral.
As editors, it's our job to report on the foods that are "so hot right now,” before they reach peak popularity. So today we're introducing you to something you're going to see a lot of in the months ahead: fermented food. This category of gut-friendly, tangy, delicious items are ever on the rise (including in skincare), but still remain unfamiliar to many. So keep scrolling to learn what fermented food is and what it can do for you! Trust us, you'll be way ahead of the curve on this one
Foods like kraut, kimchi (a special kind of pickled cabbage that’s a staple in Korean cuisine, pictured above), kombucha, kefir, miso, and pickled vegetables are all examples of fermented foods. During the process of fermentation, these foods essentially self-preserve thanks to proliferating good bacteria. The multiplying “good guys” convert sugars and starches that the foods contain into lactic acid, which is a natural preservative—hence the reason canned fermented food can stay unspoiled without refrigeration. Now for why that’s such a good thing for your body…
The same strains of beneficial bacteria (aka probiotics) that exist in fermented food are phenomenal for your gut and overall health. Not only are fermented foods easily digestible themselves, they release enzymes that aid in the digestion of other foods, and colonize your intestinal tract with live cultures of healthy bacteria for improved immunity. Additionally, the fermentation process actually increases your body’s ability to obtain nutrients from other foods.
One of the celebrity nutritionists we interviewed recently said she puts a pile of probiotic kraut on a bed of mixed greens with vegetables as her daily lunch. And celebrity nutritionist and integrative medicine doctor Frank Lipmann advocates adding kraut and kimchi to wraps and quinoa bowls, as well as using it as a condiment over meat.
As anyone who’s ever put sauerkraut on a sausage or had a Korean taco with kimchi knows, the ascerbic taste of fermented foods make them oddly addicting and flavorful.
Though you’ll no doubt be seeing more fermented vegetables and dishes on menus, fermenting your own at home is both incredibly easy and cost-effective.
Are you a fan of fermented food already? Do you have any favorites? Share in the comments below!