In the past, food was fermented to preserve it for the cold season. Today, however, fermentation is also appreciated for its good tolerance and aromatic taste. Not only does this make the food keep longer, it also strengthens the intestines and the immune system.
Kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and Co: Fermented foods contain lactic acid bacteria that ensure a healthy intestinal flora and strengthen the immune system. And they are often well tolerated in the case of lactose intolerance.
For centuries, fermentation has been used to make foods longer-lasting, tastier and more digestible. As the South Tyrolean consumer advice center writes in a recent report, it is estimated that one third of all food consumed today is fermented: sourdough and yeast bread; yogurt and kefir; salami; vinegar; sauerkraut, kimchi and other lactic acid vegetables; beer and wine; soy sauce and miso to coffee, tea and cocoa.
Preserving food longer
All these foods undergo fermentation: the fermentation of plant or animal raw materials by bacteria, yeasts, molds or enzymes. According to the experts, nutrients are converted and broken down and acids, gases or alcohol as well as numerous flavors are formed.
If the microorganisms get “by chance” from the air into the fermentation material, this is called spontaneous fermentation. If, on the other hand, bacteria, yeasts, molds or enzymes are deliberately added to the starting materials, this is called controlled fermentation.
As further explained in the communication, during fermentation the microorganisms break down starch into sugar, fats into fatty acids, proteins into tasty protein building blocks and break down sugar into acids, alcohol and gases. “In the process, the products acquire completely new aromas and flavors. At the same time, the digestibility of many foods improves,” explains Silke Raffeiner, nutrition expert at the South Tyrolean consumer center.
In addition, food that still contains living lactic acid bacteria can have a positive effect on the bacterial flora in the intestine if consumed regularly. By strengthening the intestinal flora, the immune system is also strengthened.
“Fermented milk products such as yoghurt and kefir, for example, are often tolerated even in cases of lactose intolerance, as the lactose has been partially or almost completely broken down.
Some products can also be easily fermented in your own household. Instructions for this can be found in books on the subject and on the Internet, for example on the website of VerbraucherService Bayern im KDFB e.V. (ad)
Healthy fermented food
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.