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Bacteria aren’t all bad. They can be put to good use too. And nature shows us the way via fermented foods, which besides paving way to a healthier gut and intestines by restoring the proper balance of bacteria in the gut, also help us absorb the nutrients we’re consuming better.
Plus they are easy to digest, and are teeming with enhanced micronutrients. Besides spicing up our taste buds with their rather exciting sour taste. Small wonder then that all cultures worldwide have their own stock of fermented foods: Bonny Clabber (Scotland), Filmjölk (Sweden), Villi (Finland), Matsoni (Russia and Georgia), Doenjang (Korea) and Blaand, a traditional Scottish drink are some popular names. While all these are not available in India yet, there are many others that you can definitely indulge in. In fact you must! Here are a few options...
Yoghurt: Common fermented food, yogurt is milk that has been cultured with two very specific strains of bacteria: streptoccus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus and must be part of our main meals, both lunch and dinner ideally.
Buttermilk: A by-product of butter churning, in this lactose is converted by bacteria into lactic acid, so it is better digested even by those who are lactose intolerant compared to regular milk. Most of us are already familiar with it.
Kefir: Fermented from whole milk it has a strikingly tart taste and originated in Russia. Drink it up!
Tempeh: Originally from Indonesia tempeh is made by a natural culturing process that binds soybeans into a cake form. It contains even more protein and fiber than the more popular tofu, and is great added crumbled to salads, soups, casseroles.
Miso: This salty paste used in Japanese cooking is made with a special koji culture, rice or barley, and soybeans, and is full of essential minerals, like potassium, and multiple microorganisms that boost health substantially. Incorporate miso soup in your diet.
Kimchi or Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is made by culturing chopped or shredded cabbage in its own juice or brine solution. Studies show that it has a powerful impact on brain health, including depression and anxiety. It’s popular Korean version is known as kimchi. Try these out for sure.
You can also read on all you need to know about fermented foods.