This weekend, Dearbhla Reynolds visited the IINH kitchen to introduce us to the benefits of cooking class page for other upcoming sessions. In the spirit of talking all things , we thought it appropriate to open up the conversation and discuss this ‘niche’ area in a bit more detail.! It was an action-packed day full of and tasting! Be sure to keep an eye on our
The Benefits of Fermented Foods
When you hear the term , it tends to set off alarm bells. In fact, we associate it with something to stay well clear of to avoid illness and infection. Despite our best efforts, overall, is quite hard to avoid since it is absolutely everywhere! And while of course, can be harmful to humans, it can also be incredibly beneficial! So how do we leverage this beneficial side and why exactly? What are the benefits of ? Read on to find out.
Do we need more exposure to bacteria?
Well, interestingly enough, scientists now suspect our obsession with sterilisation is not really doing us any favours! All this frequent washing ends up stripping our skin of healthy oils that actually serve as an external barrier and defence against pathogens and scientists now suspect that it has introduced a whole host of other issues, including rising levels of allergies. Collectively, this is called the hygiene hypothesis!
It’s important to understand that exposure to is not inherently a bad thing! As a species, we have evolved alongside many types of . In fact, it is thought that for every one human cell in the , there are ten cells to go with it! This means we are outnumbered 10:1!! The good mostly resides in the but can also be found in other parts of the like on the skin.
What role do bacteria play?
These microbes interact with our DNA and help us regulate our appetite, facilitate in the of , control our weight, and keep our immune system running. Specifically, over 70% of our immune system is actually found in the so it makes sense that a healthy (or flora) is an important component of a healthy . Other things our contribute to include breaking down starches (prebiotics), manufacturing vitamins (like vitamin K & the B family) and they fight against pathogens.
But there is an even more interesting fact worth noting. Our flora is now being referred to as the second brain! Our is surrounded and connected to our brain via something called the vagus nerve. This collection of nerves is called the enteric nervous system (ENS) and maintains the biochemical environment within different sections of the , keeping them at the correct pH and chemical composition needed for enzymes to do their job. This system also has more neurons than the spinal column or central nervous system! In fact, our produces over 95% of serotonin and over ½ of our dopamine so there is a massive link to our mental mood! This is why scientists are now noting that people who suffer from disorders “of the mind,” like , obsessive-compulsive disorder, and autism, tend to also have gastrointestinal issues.
What is fermentation?
is one of the oldest forms of food preservation in the world! In Eastern Europe, staples like borscht and sauerkraut, in Korea there is kimchi, Japan and it’s love of miso and tempeh…it’s global! The process of fermenting is an integral part of every tradition and culture, some more than others. At it’s basic, the process relies on little more than vegetables and salt or sugar to creates a controlled environment where grows to act as a natural preservative to prolong the life of the . This process essentially pre-digests your and breaks it down to a more form for the . These are also teeming with good that have multiple benefits for the .
The Benefits of Fermented Foods
Aside from just preserving the and enhancing the flavour of your meal, fermented carry many benefits.
- When you , your produces enzymes to help to the carbs, proteins and fats as they travel through your . creates an abundance of enzymes that contribute to both better and of in the . Aid:
- Immune system boost: 70% + of your immune system actually resides in the . Did you know that? It’s true! Because your digestive tract is where you take in and foreign bodies from outside, process them and assimilate some of the product into your cells, it is vitally important that there is a strong barrier in place to protect any ‘bad guys’ getting in. Eating helps to provide some more ‘good guys’ to join the immune army! This can in turn help with reducing inflammation in the , lessen incidences of infection and even helping to mitigate allergies and sensitivities.
- Builds gut health: You is a home for millions of ! In fact, studies show that these cells outnumber human cells at 10:1! So the question is really about who is living on who? We have a symbiotic relationship with these , referred to as flora or the . Eating helps to provide your with free probiotics to help sustain a diverse and healthy !
- Better Mood: As mentioned above, the of your can contribute to your mood and has even been connected to conditions like . So it makes sense that if can support the flora environment, it can also support a better mood, mental clarity and general feeling of wellbeing.
- Reduces sugar cravings: What do love? SUGAR! If you’ve made before, you will know that require sugar! As the food ferments, the thrive and eat up all the sugar in the jar so are by nature very low in sugar. Not only that but adding more beneficial to the helps to crowd out the sugar-loving microbes thereby reducing cravings.
Fermented Foods To Try Yourself!
If you want to get started with, we highly recommend Dearbhla’s cookbook, The Cultured Club. Below are some common alongside some others we tried during the cooking class!
- Kefir: You’ve likely seen many variations on the market made from milk, water, coconut water.
- Kombucha: Another popular drink you will see on store shelves
- Yogurt & Cheese: These are too, don’t forget!
- Ginger & Bugs: A refreshing probiotic drink combining fresh ginger and !
- Brining Cauliflower
- Kimchi – a Korean staple, there are many versions you can make using kale, , , and more
- Lacto-Fermented mayonnaise
- Miso eggs
- Master Tonic: the ultimate immune system boost
We have become so scared of and so concerned with the pathogenic kind that will make us sick. Of course, that can happen, but there are billions of bacterial strains out there! Also, the ones you can take advantage of have so much benefit to offer! We shouldn’t be intimidated by the fermenting process! The benefits of are still an untapped resource for health and wellness. We hope this blog post encourages you to try it!
Find out more about Dearbhla & the benefits of here: http://theculturedclub.com
Find out more about our https://www.iinh.net/taste-health-cooking-classes/classes here: