by Nicole Lana Lee
The Miraculous Wrinkle Saver that Helps You Detox Easily without Breaking Your Wallet
Ever wondered why Japanese, Chinese and Korean women and men age so well?
If there’s anything that’s even more desirable than your pricey anti-aging potion, it just might be kimchi (a.k.a. fermented vegetables), our long-time Korean friend, which helps us detoxify from toxins, eliminates waste, prevents cancer and wrinkles!
As I was eating my fermented burdock root (gobo shoyuzuke) with my chili garlic (yakuyou kimchi ninniku) yesterday, I thought I should dedicate an entire post on fermented food. Fermented foods have been around for centuries and these guys not only represent cultures passed down from our previous generations, they are vital to our health!
Today we’re going to explore:
- Why Fermentation Food Prevents You From Sagging and Regenerates Your Skin
- Why Fermented Food is the Best Way to Detoxify if you can’t afford to hide out in the Himalayas
- Why A Little Bit of Bacteria Goes A Long Way and Boosts Our Immune System
- Simple Easy Way to Incorporate Fermented Food in your diet, even if you aren’t a fan of P.S.Y.
Fermentation is a metabolic process converting food content from sugar to acids, gases and/or alcohol using yeast or bacteria, and has been used by humans for the production of food and beverages since the Neolithic.
Your favorite foods – bread, cheese, wine, chocolate, coffee, beer – are made by fermentation. From cheese in the West to kimchi in the East, cultures around the world enjoy exotic fermented delicacies.
Fermented food is the delicacy between fresh and rotten food…
Why Fermentation Food Prevents You From Sagging and Regenerates Your Skin:
Lactobacilli used in the fermentation process is shown to be antioxidative, fighting free radicals and preventing aging. According to research paper “Immunonutrition: Role of Biosurfactants, Fiber, and Probiotic Bacteria”, lactobacilli also creates omega-3 fatty acids, essential for cell membrane and immune system function.
Fermentation also increases glutathione, an anti-aging amino acid, which is most critical for defense against free radicals. Glutathione prevents wrinkles and scars, enables body to eliminate toxins, regenerates our immune cells, helps synthesize protein and assist other antioxidants such Vitamin C in protecting our cells! As we age, glutathione levels decline, which leads to lower energy levels, thin, papery skin and other visible signs of aging. This is why we need to replenish our levels of glutathione, and a great way to do that is through incorporating fermented foods in your diet.
The Best Way to Detoxify Other than Retreating to the Himalayas?
Since we live in cities which are polluted with toxins, we can’t really avoid them anywhere we go. A lot of us may not necessarily be able to afford the time to go on a “detox” fast and the Himalayas for a retreat, so a great way to detoxify is to eat kimchi (seriously!)
Fermentation removes toxins such as nitrites, prussic acid, nitrosamines, and oxalic acid from foods. As you all know, toxins accelerate aging. As fermented foods helps our body eliminate waste and neutralize toxic substances, they help our body better absorb nutrients from food. Fermentation eliminates the cyanide, present in certain varieties of cassava, a tropical plant, rendering the cassava edible and nutritious.
Pickles & Sausages Anyone?
Fermentation makes food more digestible and nutritious: Live, unpasteurized, fermented foods carry beneficial bacteria directly into our digestive systems, where they exist symbiotically, aiding digestion. This is probably why people pair pickles with sausages, sauerkraut with pork, because pickles & sauerkraut breaks down the otherwise harder-to-digest animal protein.
I’m not suggesting that you go eat sausages or pork, given the highly acidic nature of animal proteins, which accelerate aging. However, if you are a meat eater, you may want to consider having kimchi with your meal to aid digestion.
Fermentation also preserves nutrients. Fermentation organisms produce bio-preservatives such as alcohol, lactic acid, and acetic acid that retain nutrients and prevent spoilage.
Research has also shown that nutritional values of foods, especially B vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and biotin, are enhanced by fermentation. For instance, both tempeh and natto (another cultured soy food) showed significant increases in vitamin B12. Any fermentable carbohydrate could all help our own intestinal bacteria synthesize B12.
Fermentation can also neutralize phytic acids, which makes absorption of zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, and other minerals from grains faster.
Germ-a-phobic? Why A Little Bit of Bacteria Goes A Long Way and Boosts Our Immune System
Given our culture’s focus on hygiene, we need a bit of microorganisms to protect us by competing with potentially dangerous organisms and teaching our immune system how to function.
According to Wild Fermentation, “a growing number of researchers are finding evidence to support what is known as “the hygiene hypothesis,” which attributes the dramatic rise in prevalence of asthma and other allergies to lack of exposure to diverse microorganisms found in soil and untreated water.”
A bit of good bacteria can boost our defense system and increase vitality.
We’ve established why fermented foods are good for us, so what are some good high fibre fermented foods you can incorporate in your diet?
- We’ve talked about this. But I’m going to repeat – Kimchi: Fermented Cabbage, Carrots and my all time favorite, *Burdock*
Word of Caution:
Not all fermented foods are still alive when you eat them. Many commercially available fermented foods are pasteurized, heated to a point where organisms die. The most nutritious way to eat fermented foods is to eat them when the bacteria are alive. Other than reading your labels, you may want to consider making your own fermented food. For a great book on this topic, I’d suggest reading Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
Remember, vegetables ferment best under brine, which is water with salt dissolved in it, because it fosters growth of Lactobacilli, the good bacteria. The more salt you use, the slower the process is and the sourer the product becomes, vice versa.
A very simple and easy way to incorporate a healthy fermented drink in your life is drinking water with honey (remember our great friends – bees), a bit of yeast and lemon juice.
According to Katz, when honey is mixed with water, fermentation starts. When honey is pure, it prevents microscopic life. When honey is diluted with water, airborn yeast feasts on the honey and produces mead, converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
I’ve added a bit of yeast to recipe to spice up the fermentation process and lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the honey and add a bit of vitamin C to your drink. This is a great way to start the day and eliminate waste from the previous day!
Any fermented food recipes to share?
Leave a comment or question below!
*Featured image courtesy of mukeunjikimchi.com