I was recently lucky enough to attend a class at Cornersmith Picklery, to learn all about the art of fermentation. Why? Because more and more evidence is indicating that a healthy gut improves your chances of maintaining your health, and also managing a number of different medical conditions.
There are billions of healthy bacteria found in our intestines. In particularly, research is now showing the significant effect poor diet can disrupt these bacteria. This can result in gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating, wind, diarrhoea and constipation, or more subtle issues, for example the links researchers have now found between gut health and obesity, diabetes, along with autoimmune conditions (such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis). A recent study even found links between gut health and brain function!
So where does fermentation fit in? Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that are found in our gut. Some foods naturally form these bacteria. Most people have heard of yoghurt in this instance. Other foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefir. Inclusion of these foods in our diet may positively influence our gut microbiome, and as such, assist with management or avoidance of some conditions.
Anyway, back to the class... I was incredibly impressed with the level of knowledge Jamie, our instructor showed. Even more impressed when she started the class explaining that fermented products aren’t wonder cures. As much as the evidence is mounting about the benefits of these foods, it was fantastic that use and effect of these foods was described in such a practical, non-sensationalist way. So refreshing!
So what did I learn? Buying sauerkraut or kimchi can be quite pricey. Making it yourself is quick, easy, incredibly cheap, and to be honest, really quite satisfying! You can flavour it yourself, using herbs and spices of your choosing, and it's an easy way to always ensure you have vegetables included in your meals… It will keep for up to 6 months in the fridge!