Lacto-Fermentation: Good Health in a Jar


Jar of Homemade Sauerkraut

Lacto-fermentation is the process that produces sauerkraut, yogurt, cheese, and other delicious foods.  The interesting thing about lacto-fermentation is that it produces pro-biotic foods, chock full of healthy bacteria, that actually taste amazing.  Fermented foods add a level of flavor that the original ingredients can't match.  It is a level of flavor that pickled foods can't match, either.  On top of that, they are very easy to make.

Pro-biotic foods are useful for so many reasons.  As research studies reveal just how much our gut bacteria reflect our lifestyles, more interest is being generated into how manipulating these bacteria can help weight loss.  Simple truth is, whatever these studies reveal, probiotics are useful because they are healthful.  They help restore and rejuvenate natural gut conditions after stress, illness, and even onslaught by antibiotics or pain medications.  They help a relatively healthy individual maintain good pH and digestion, and add a layer of pH defense to keep the gut healthy and give it opportunity to heal when damaged. 

Thus, they are certainly a good addition to the diet of people who want a healthier lifestyle.  There is a catch, however, they don't just instantaneously appear in one's kitchen, they take some time to make, not in actual prep time, but in resting time.  Fermented foods are made on your kitchen counter, at regular room temperature, and take days to months to make, depending on the type. In addition, some of these foods, such as yogurt or kefir (keh-feer') require a starting culture to make, although other (bread, sauerkraut, kimchee) simply need the time at room temperature, and use the bacteria that are naturally found on the foods as a “starter”. 

Either way, lacto-fermentation offers a way to add probiotics and a great deal of interest to foods that normally would be run-of-the-mill or lackluster. 

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