Sauerkraut, blue cheese and pickles hardly sound like the route to wellbeing. But fermented foods – left to age for anything from a few days to weeks before they’re eaten – are the new health craze. It comes from the U.S. of course, where it’s become fashionable to ferment vegetables and drink kombucha – a fizzy, fermented tea drunk for centuries in China.
Now the science appears to back it up. Last week Cambridge University researchers reported that regular consumption of fermented low-fat dairy foods, such as yoghurt, fromage frais and cottage cheese, could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25 per cent over 11 years. When certain foods are left to ferment, they are ‘pre-digested’ by good bacteria and yeast found naturally on the surface of the food. These microbes eat the food before you do, breaking down the sugars and starches and making the nutrients easier for the body to absorb. Some also release lactic acid, a natural preservative, which acidifies the environment in the gut, stimulating the growth of good bacteria. The fermented food effectively becomes a natural probiotic supplement.
Article from the Daily Mail, February 10, 2014, by Chloe Lambert.