Fermented Foods-Health Benefits And How To Prepare

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Fermented Foods-Health Benefits And How To Prepare

fermented food  india

Devieka’s post on Yakult visit made me think about health benefits of fermented foods. Though undoubtedly the healthiest foods are the freshest of foods but with the amounts of pesticides and insecticides found in the available greenies scare me. In today’s world the safest food is the healthiest one and nothing can be better than fermented food. Raw yet eatable and risk free.

What is Fermented Food?

Fermented food in Indian words is ‘ Achar, Khamiri Roti, Murrabba etc.” In other words, it means ingredients like different vegetables and fruits preserved without preservatives and have been left to sit and steep until their sugars and carbs become bacteria-boosting agents. These come out to be pungent, probiotic powerhouses, which boost the good bacteria in your digestive tract, can help heal a multitude of health issues, like leaky gut and IBS, and can even lead to weight loss, better skin, and boosted immunity. Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause damage to the gut, while fermented foods heal.

How to make your own fermented food?

fermented food doesn’t mean something very costly and glamorous to eat. In fact, raw fermented vegetables are an amazing way to beautify and cleanse your body, from inside out. They are also a food that has been eaten by humans across many cultures for hundreds if not thousands of years, and eating them regularly is a really healthy practice to get into. And the good news is that you can make your own fermented food at home.

There are many fermented foods we have been consuming traditionally worldwide but the modern life and processed foods have made them almost extinct. Worst is that we buy these fermented foods from the market in the packaged form not realising that they are not going to help our gut anyway as they are full of artificial chemicals called class II preservatives. All the added chemicals in the processed packaged food kill most of these useful gut flora, making nutrient availability poorer. Now who hasn’t tasted curd and yogurt (Recipe here) well those are great examples of homemade fermented foods. you can make your intestinal health in a better condition by consuming home made yogurt regularly.

Fermented dough

Many of us also ferment our dosa/idli batters and make ‘Khamiri Roti” with sourdough. Sourdough is excellent as it has a good spectrum of microbes. Now let me tell you how I use my fermented Atta dough. I make Tandoori Rotis for the family at home. (Naah, I don’t have a tandoor , I use one of my old discarded pressure cookers.)
Heat an old cooker on gas. When real hot start baking fermented Khamiri Roti like in the pics.
tandoori_roti_2[1]
Stick rolled Roti on the sides of hot cooker sprinkling some water on the Roti. when cooked one side in the cooker turned tandoor bake on an open flame.

tandoori_roti_3

Fermented Vegetables

 Seasonal pickles are one of the tastiest ways to get more varied microbes for the tummy. I make one very easy fermented drink called Kanji in the month of march during Holi. That is ‘Kanji’ a fermented drink made with purple/black /red carrots. This is damn easy to make. You just have to scrape a few  purple/ red/ black carrots/ beets/turnips/ around 500 gms. Add yellow mustard powered 4 tbsp, red chilly powder 1 tbsp, pink salt or Himalayan salt (sendha namak) according to taste / black salt or rock salt (kala namak) 1 tbsp in a non reactive big jar (preferably glass) full of filtered water approximately 5 Ltrs.
Mix all ingredients well and keep in sun daily for about 5 days or till you get a tangy taste of mustard in ‘Kanji’.
We al have fermented drink indian kanji
We have heard of Sauerkraut and Kimchee. These are examples of fermented foods, but when we buy these from the market they don’t actually serve the purpose of giving benefits of fermented foods. As store bought fermented foods are often laden with salt. They also tend to be completely over processed and are also usually pasteurized, which means they have been prepared at high temperatures that kill all the goodness that properly fermented foods provide.
Fermented foods should be had only as raw, unpasteurized and unprocessed like this jar of red and green Jalapeno (known in India as Achari Mirch) fermented in vinegar and mountain salt (Sendha namak)
fermented pickles in venegar
Or even this traditional Indian Lime pickle made without oil. Limes in traditional pickles ferment in their own juices which makes them a powerhouse of health and nutrition.
fermented lemon pickle

Benefits of Fermented Foods

When vegetables have been fermented, they become even more nutritious. The healthy enzymes which are present in the vegetables flourish when fermented, and create an environment that is full of probiotics, enzymes and minerals which are important for a healthy body. The probiotic good bacteria and enzymes in fermented foods help to populate our gut and intestines with Lactobacilli which are really important for healthy digestion. They are also wonderful in helping  to eliminate toxins from our body, so eating them allows your intestines to detox, leading you towards a strong digestive system.
Eating fermented vegetables will also help with weight loss and lead to more energy, as well as balance out the pH levels of your body. When the complete human machine works as it should then the immunity is boosted from having a healthy gut making you feel really clean from inside.

The other hidden benefit of eating fermented foods is that they can help to control cravings that you might have for sweets. This is because they help us to feel full, so your appetite is reduced. It is important to eat fermented foods regularly to actually experience all their amazing health benefits. What you need to do is get into the habit of adding them to your salads or even just having them as a side to other dishes you eat. They are particularly good to eat paired with proteins, Oh! I love red baby onions and garlic pods pickled in lime juice and mountain salt.

Are you going to try these fermented foods?

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