Fermented food is back in vogue and it’s healthy, too
7/18/2018 12:12:38 AM
|written By : A Staff Reporter|
After going through all kinds of food fads,there is growing interest again in ancient food culture. No wonder the culture of fermented foods has become the latest craze. Peddled as ‘good for your gut’, probiotics and their primary source – fermented food – are now in the spotlight.
The process of fermenting food is not a new one and goes back to 7,000-8,000 years ago. While this may be new to the western world, India has a rich tradition in this. So whether it is the process of fermenting yoghurt or allowing batters to rise, soaking leftover rice in water or making the carrot-based drink, kanji, these are all part of any Indian household. The technique is even more popular among people living in the hilly Himalayan terrain, especially in North-east India, where fermented vegetable products such as sinki, gundruk, soya bean and fish are commonly used. These have also been prescribed by ayurvedic practitioners for the health benefits they provide. They also find a mention in the Rig Veda in connection with the preparation of soma (alcoholic beverage).
Here are a few health benefits of consuming fermented foods.
Weight Loss: Fermented foods promote friendly intestinal bacteria or contain probiotics, which are the bacteria that keep the digestive track and process in check. They also help with reducing overall inflammation of the body, which is important when it comes to achieving great weight loss results. Inflammation is known to activate the body’s “fat trigger”, signalling to the brain that the body is in distress and telling it to store fat instead of burning it. Studies have also linked unfriendly gut bacteria to obesity, with fermented foods making sure the gut is filled with healthy bacteria, ideal for losing weight.
Absorb Food Better: Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat.
Digestion & Absorption: As some of the sugars and starches in food have been broken down through the process, fermented foods are easier to digest. For example, fermentation breaks down the lactose in milk to simpler sugars – glucose and galactose – which, if you are lactose-intolerant, can make products such as yogurt and cheese potentially easier to digest.
Provide Nutrients: Fermentation can increase the availability of vitamins and minerals for our bodies to absorb. Additionally, by boosting the beneficial bacteria in your gut, it promotes the manufacture of B vitamins and synthesises vitamin K.
Immune functions: A large proportion of the immune system is housed in the gut. By consuming probiotic-rich foods, the gut lining is protected, making the immune system more robust. A lack of beneficial bacteria allows disease-causing microbes to grow, causing inflammation in the gut wall.
Improves Absorption:Some natural compounds like phytic acid interfere with the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc found in legumes. However, phytic acid can be broken down during fermentation, so the minerals become available.
Enhances Mood: The gut and brain are linked through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Technically called the enteric nervous system, the gut is lined with neurons that can influence our emotions and feelings. Serotonin – a neurotransmitter involved in mood – is made in the gut and research further suggests that as probiotic bacteria contribute to a healthy gut, they are also linked to a healthy mind.
So while the world discovers sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and tempeh, here are a few traditional recipes that are part of the Indian diet.
Gundruk Ko Jhol
1. In a skillet, on a medium heat, roast gundruk for 5 minutes. Let it cool.
2.In a separate skillet, add 1 tbsp of mustard oil on a medium heat. When the oil is heated, add soybean seeds and roast till it turn light brown in colour.
3. Now add diced tomatoes and green garlic. Cook for a few minutes, add freshly ground ginger and all spices. Then, add roasted gundruk on top of it. Mix well.
4. Now add water, if you want more water, you can add additional
1. Rinse dry rice with lukewarm water first. Then put it in a pot with lukewarm water and set aside for 4-6 hours to soak and soften.
2. Blend the soaked rice along with grated coconut, cooked rice and water. It should form a thick yet runny batter.
3. Cover and set aside overnight in room temperature. Do not cover it tight or add any salt yet.
4 On the next morning, add salt to taste and mix the batter properly.
5. Make the appams in an appam pan and cook for two minutes, covered.
Gajar Ki Kanji
1. Scrape carrots, beets and turnip and slice them thinly.
2. Take water in a big bowl and add all the spices and chopped carrots,beets and turnip. Mix well and cover with a muslin cloth and keep aside in a warm place.
3. Let it ferment for 4-5 days and keep stirring 3-4 times a day.
4. When the water taste sour it is ready to use. Now store in a refrigerator.