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Fermented foods and probiotics: how do they help the body?

Surely you have heard about the importance of the microbiota in intestinal health. But do you know how fermented foods and probiotics can help the body?

The microbiota or intestinal flora, made up of a set of living microorganisms or bacteria, influences not only digestion but also our state of mind.

Some practices such as physical activity can improve our intestinal health. However, at Epixlife today we want to mention the consumption of fermented foods and the enormous benefits it has for the proper functioning of the body.

What are fermented foods and how can we consume them?

Fermented foods are obtained through the action of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, mycelial fungi and their enzymes , in a process called fermentation. Microorganisms can be indigenously present in the food, added as a starter culture , present on ingredients or utensils, or in the environment.

Fermented foods have been produced for a long time , based on knowledge passed down from generation to generation and without understanding the potential role of microorganisms involved in the process .

Today it is known that fermentation is an anaerobic process (without the need for oxygen) or partially anaerobic, where carbohydrates or related compounds are oxidized to produce energy. This process provides favorable conditions for the growth of certain microorganisms in food, producing changes in the flavor, aroma and texture of the product.

The different fermentations (lactic-acid, yeast, filamentous and alkaline fungi) will provide us with a wide variety of foods, some of which are: yogurt ; kefir , which is a dairy product similar to liquid yogurt; the lassi , is a traditional drink from India, the cheese, the garri , is a typical food from Nigeria; the nham , is sour pork and is consumed in Thailand; the injera , is a very thin flat bread; kimchi is a fermented preparation whose main ingredient is Chinese cabbage, it is typical of Korea ; soy sauce; miso , is a condiment consisting of a flavoring paste; hetempeh , is a product derived from soybeans; sufu , is a traditional Chinese food that resembles cheese, and natto , which is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans.

It has been estimated that thousands of different fermented foods and beverages are produced globally, using a wide range of different raw materials, microorganisms, and manufacturing techniques.

Benefits of consuming fermented foods

Fermented foods are the largest source of probiotics , so they promote good gut health. They help our intestinal balance due to the large amount of prebiotics and probiotics they contain. It must be remembered that an imbalance in the intestinal flora can trigger problems with allergies, food intolerances, candidiasis, diarrhea, constipation and intestinal inflammation. But the consumption of fermented foods provides us with other great benefits:

  • Facilitates digestion. The fermented food is transformed into a pre-digested food, due to the action that microorganisms exert on the food during fermentation, thus facilitating the digestive processes.

  • Improves the absorption of nutrients. Fermented foods increase the enzymes necessary for the digestion and absorption of food.

  • Modulates the central nervous system. The intake of fermented foods and probiotics and the subsequent improvement of the intestinal flora can have a modulating effect on the brain and the central nervous system, therefore, they can influence human well-being.

  • Increases the levels of certain vitamins depending on the type of food. Folate, riboflavin, and biotin are increased in certain fermented milk products. In addition, it enriches vegetables with nutrients, especially vitamin C and B vitamins. Vitamin K becomes more bioavailable.

  • Helps break down and remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body.

  • Improves the absorption of minerals by the body. Fermentation reduces and even eliminates certain substances in certain foods such as phytates and oxalates, which interfere with the absorption of minerals.

  • Strengthens the immune system due to the probiotic richness they contain, since 80% of our immune power resides in the intestine.

  • Regulates the pH of the stomach, since they normalize the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, avoiding ulcers and reflux. In addition, they alkalize, cleanse the liver and help fight infections.

Thanks to these benefits, interest in consuming fermented foods has increased in Western countries . Its enormous healthy component has meant that this type of food is included in any nutritional plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

At Epixlife we ​​provide the necessary technology to create nutritional plans adapted to the needs of your patients. In these reports, you will be able to find the foods that are most appropriate for the body based on the bioinformation of your patients.

I take a holistic approach to your health by looking at the entirety of your health case to uncover the root cause of your health problems to tailor a personalized plan specific to your health case.

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