Do you want to cultivate good gut health? Eat these fermented foods



Do you want to cultivate good gut health? Eat these fermented foods

|Devi Poojari

March 15, 2023

Not all bacteria are bad, as proven with this list of probiotic foods to include in your diet for a healthy and happy tummy.

Fermentation, a process related to transforming food using bacteria or yeast, has incredible health benefits that we often overlook. The technique of fermentation is used to produce more foods and drinks than we care to acknowledge – from alcohol to kombucha to dill pickles and even idlis, closer to home, are all by-products of this method. Not only is fermentation a culinary benefit, but it is also known to be extremely beneficial for health. While it rightly increases the nutritional value of food, fermentation also encourages the development of healthy gut bacteria and digestive enzymes in the body. Here is a list of fermented foods that everyone should include in their diet.

Almost every Indian household makes a pot of fresh yogurt to eat with parathas, rice or even spoon into bowls and sprinkle with sugar. Yogurt, a rich source of folic acid, riboflavin and lactic acid bacteria, is a probiotic food that is beneficial for people of all ages. It can also be diluted with water and a pinch of salt and consumed as buttermilk or whipped to a thinner consistency with natural sweeteners and drunk as kefir.

If you’re familiar with tofu, a mild-flavored soy product, chances are you’ve come across the fermented variety tempeh. Made with fermented soybeans pressed into a dense cake-like shape, the presence of amino acids makes it easier for our bodies to absorb. This nutritional powerhouse is easy to find in supermarkets and can be grilled, stir-fried and even braised for recipes.

What was the Internet’s favorite drink until a few years ago is being debated for its nutritional value. However, kombucha – a fermented drink made from sugar and tea – has many health benefits thanks to the polyphenols present in the black or green tea brewed to make the drink. Now available in many flavors in supermarkets, you can buy a bottle of this fermented drink to drink on its own or even add a fun twist by making cocktails with it.

Image credit: The Kathmandu Post

Gundruk, a dish made by fermenting edible leafy vegetables such as mustard, cauliflower and radish, is a side dish commonly eaten in the northeastern states of India. Once the leaves have wilted, they are pounded with a little water and packed in airtight jars to ferment for a few days, then sun dried and consumed. It is said that the origins of these fermented vegetables date all the way back to Nepal and are known to be rich in calcium and sodium.

Korea’s national dish, this superfood made with Chinese cabbage coated in a mixture of fermented rice and chili paste is now popular all over the world. Eaten as an accompaniment to cocktails or mixed with fried rice and stews, kimchi is spicy on its own, but it’s also packed with flavor. While it may take you a while to get used to the taste of kimchi, it is known to stimulate appetite and revive taste buds after a bout of illness.