Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process called lactofermentation, which preserves the food and creates enzymes, B vitamins, essential fatty acids, and different strains of probiotics. This also helps preserve nutrients and make them more digestible. Some popular fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, plain yogurt, kefir, and high-quality aged cheese.
The Case for Yay
The best reason to eat fermented foods is that they’re a great source of probiotics. Probiotics are responsible for healthy digestion and the prevention of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and can also help with eczema, preventing allergies and colds, and boosting mood when you’re feeling down or experiencing hormonal shifts. Having more “good’ bacteria in your gut also means you can absorb the nutrients in all your food better, so you’re truly getting the most nutritional bang for your buck.
The Case for Nay
Contrary to the popular saying, you can have too much of a good thing. Overdoing it on fermented foods can cause diarrhea, constipation, gas, or bloating. Many people are turned off by the power of fermented foods because they eat too many, too soon.
Go for it, just don’t overdo it! Start small: ¼ cup of sauerkraut to your salad or sandwich, a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt a day. See how your body reacts after two weeks, then go from there.