Fermented Foods and Healthy Digestion
We’ve all heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” Never was there a truer statement. Everything we do in life depends upon our digestive system’s ability to derive nutrition from what we consume. Digestion affects nearly every aspect of our functioning. From appetite to the health of our immune system, a functioning digestive system with sufficient serotonin production can mean the difference between feeling well and feeling lousy.
But how does the digestive system work? What is the brain-gut connection all about, and how does it affect mood, health, and just about everything else? And what are the necessary ingredients for a healthy digestive system?
“The answers lie within your belly… and fermented food”- answered Oxana Mess, the Danish founder of Organic With Love (OWL) that opened its door to OWL Organic Food and Market in November 2015. Oxana is a certified plant-based chef from Matthew Kenney Plantbased Academy, where, beside gluten-free, raw and plantbased food techniques and recipes, she has also successfully completed a dedicated course on Fermented Foods at Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy in Venice, California and another one in Miami, Florida in the US.
Humans have been fermenting foods for thousands of years for the health benefits, make it easier to digest and extend its shelf lives. Fermentation has many health and culinary benefits. Fermenting foods break down their nutrients into more digestible forms, which increases the bioavailability of nutrients present in the food. Several essential nutrients and minerals are produced during the microbial digestive process, such as B vitamins, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, biotin and various omega 3 fatty acids. Fermentaion is key to detoxifying certain foods. F.ex., fermenting certain grains neutralizes their phytic acid content, which can block the absorption of certain essential minerals. Fermentation also produces lactic&acetic acids, and various organic alcohols, which function as bio-preservatives to help prevent the spoilage of food.
“My family, when I was a kid, brewed kombucha (fermented probiotic tea) at home and we used to drink it like “lemonade”. I loved the taste of this 100% natural probiotic drink . That time in 90th we didn’t not think about flavoring it with different flavors and superfoods as I do today. My favorite Kombucha is with coldpressed, unfiltered , organic juice of ginger, lemon and turmeric. “- stated Oxana, that also describes Kombucha for “beverage with magical power enabling people to live forever healthy and happy”
Intestinal flora, also referred to as gut flora, microflora, contains Bacteria populations that live in the gut are a combination of both good and bad bacteria; a balance between the two is necessary for an optimal state of health. They help with digestion, detoxification, metabolism, and ensuring balanced immunological responses to potential allergens.
Bad bacteria include those that cause disease such as Salmonella, Clostridium, and others. They only become problematic, however, when their numbers grow large and uncontrollable in proportion to that of good bacteria. Even yeasts such as Candida are healthy in small amounts.
Good bacteria include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and others. They help us digest food, maintain a healthy gut, provide us with nutrients and vitamins, and fight off bad bacteria. Good bacteria can be taken as a probiotic supplement or with a daily consumption of fermented food like Kombucha, Kefir, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Nut Cheeses and Cultured Yogurt – Homemade Coconut-cashew yogurt is the signature yogurt , that you must try one day at OWL. Its made of coconut meat, activated cashew nuts, kangen water , probiotic, and lots of love. Served with organic farm fresh berries and fruits, homemade granola with chia seeds.
Good gut flora helps prevent bloating, gas, and yeast overgrowth because they maintain intestinal acidity at a healthy pH level. They manufacture certain vitamins, help prevent disease by depriving unwanted bacteria of nutrients, and secrete acids that bad bacteria have difficulty coping with.
Oxana runs her weekly culinary classes for adults at OWL Organic Market in San Pedro on av Salamanca 13 (200 m away from the Boulevard on the sea side) and was more than happy to share one of the recipes with us.
Cultured Yogurt - Coconut cashew
1 cup young coconut meat
½ cup soaked activated cashews
1 capsule probiotic powder
Water if needed to blend
Method: Blend all ingredients until smooth and pour into a bowl. Cover with a towel and place in a dehydratorat 45C for 8-10 hours, once fermented stir well. Flavor with lemon juice, berries, pinch of salt, chill until ready to use. Healthy is Happy.