Healthy Eating

How to Make Fermented Foods at Home

Fermentation promotes the health of your entire digestive system.

How to Make Fermented Foods at Home
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Extracted from every traditional culture in the world, the healthy bacterium found in fermented foods is served up in fruit smoothies, yogurts and cultured cabbage everywhere. Even once-exotic “kefir” and sizzle-in-the-jar “kimchee” are now headlining supermarket aisles on both coasts. These healthy bacterium are (figuratively and literally) absolutely everywhere; the primary benefit of fermentation derives from nutrients created by live bacteria.

“Fermentation promotes the health of your entire digestive system,” says Richard Sarnat, M.D., author of The Life Bridge: The Way to Longevity With Probiotic Nutrients. The process breaks down the fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the food before we eat, and while not all fermented foods are “probiotic” (which means the ability to colonize the intestine), they all contain enzymes that boost efficient digestion.

What’s amazing about fermentation is how natural a process it can be, Sarnat says. Good-for-you yeast and lactic-acid bacteria are already on the surface of your vegetables, and washing them in water doesn’t destroy the good stuff. Here's how to get started: