I’m sure you have seen the ads for Inner Health Plus. The cute little bouncing blue bacteria guys singing their “yippee” praises over the benefits of good bacteria. Or the countless yogurt ads with the promotion of live cultures and how a tub of yoghurt is all we need to improve our gut balance.

But are they really all they are cracked up to be? And is the money we are spending really having the added benefits we need?

In short, our bodies are a warehouse of microorganisms and bacterial matters, living inside us and keeping our bodies in balance. When these are off, we feel off. Research has proven that our gut health is one of the key players in our immune systems’ ability to perform at its peak. When our gut health is out of balance, our immune system is weakened and we are more susceptible to illness and disease.

Our diets and lifestyles have resulted in good bacteria and microorganisms in our bodies becoming unbalanced. Some even non existent. In order to improve our overall health, we need to put these back. The best way to do it is naturally. Of course, you can take a “yippee” capsule, but the potency and strains will not be anywhere near that of our method we are about to share with you.

Welcome to the world of fermented foods.

You may remember fermented food being all the rage many years ago in the time of no refrigeration and no preservatives. In order to keep food for longer, it was fermented and preserved using unique methods. Now, we add preservatives and refrigerate or can foods in order to improve their shelf life. Whilst this has made life a lot more convenient and simpler, it has resulted in good bacteria and essential nutrients being lost in the process. Thus the benefits of fermented foods are being lost.

So, what are fermented foods?

Fermented foods are foods which have undergone a process in which natural good bacteria feeds on sugars and starches in foods creating lactic acid. This is called lacto-fermentation and, as well as naturally preserving the food, it creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics in the process.

What are the benefits of fermented foods?

As the food is naturally broken down to a more digestible state, it becomes easier for our bodies to digest and absorb the beneficial nutrients. In saying that, despite the food being broken down, the essential nutrients remain and are actually increased with the addition of probiotics making the food higher in nutrition than it previously was. It is the increase in probiotics and good bacteria that add the most benefit to our bodies and overall gut health.

Why aren’t there as many fermented foods now?

Modern food processing methods have removed the need for fermenting foods. Unpasteurised milk is now homogenised and pasteurised to remove the bacteria that is naturally found in the milk. Yogurt is pasteurised to make it more “safe” for everyday consumption and vinegar has replaced the need to ferment foods such as pickled onions and even sauerkraut. With these new processes comes reduced cultures and bacterias that our guts were meant to have.

How you can improve your gut health with easy at home fermenting remedies.

It’s actually easier than you may think to improve your gut health and overall body health through fermented foods. Companies such as Kultured Wellness, a natural health company established by Australian Mum Kirsty, have ready made fermenting kits that literally take the hard work out of enjoying fermented foods. Their Kultured Wellness Starter Kit contains Kefir and Yoghurt Starter Cultures together with a helpful guide suitable for even the most novice of cooks. It actually couldn’t get any easier or yummier!

Other ways you can add fermented foods to your diet is a healthy serve of sauerkraut. Most of the ones you can buy in the supermarket are not fermented in the traditional way. This means they don’t actually contain the right bacteria as they have been pasteurised. Here is a quick guide to choosing a good ready made Sauerkraut, Kombucha and Yoghurt.

It can definitely be more economical making your own ferments. Let’s face it, for a cabbage and some salt it is certainly going to be much cheaper to do it yourself. You can find a traditional Sauerkraut recipe here.

Improving your overall gut health through fermented foods is a great way to boost your overall wellness, energy levels and immune system. An easy step such as this can also save you money in the long run reducing your need for supplements and medications.

Please note – fermented foods contain varying amounts of biogenic amines which can cause mild allergic (histimine like) reactions for some people. If you haven’t tried fermented foods before start slowly and see how your physiology responds. The incredible benefits to your gut health are well worth it!