Turns out farm fresh isn’t the only way to stay healthy. Fermented foods are the latest It group being touted by nutrition experts. Rich in probiotics — aka the healthy bacteria that gives yogurt its good reputation — fermented foods are great for digestion and immunity (80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut), both of which may help boost weight loss.
So, what exactly does fermentation entail? Fermentation occurs when whole foods (cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, celery, pineapple, etc.) are steeped in salt water or their own juice until bacteria starts to grow. This bacteria, in turn, turns the sugars and carbs found in these whole foods into compounds like lactic acid (the acid responsible for the sour taste you experience when eating fermented ingredients). The result is a treasure chest of good-for-your-gut bacteria because when the bacteria starts eating away at the carbs and sugar causing the pH levels to drop and the lactic acid levels to go up, the bad bacteria can’t survive. Better yet, promising new research is showing that having a healthy gut isn’t only great for digestion, but it can impact everything from your cravings and your mood to how you store fat.
Above, 16 easy-to-make fermented food recipes to help improve your diet.