I am passionate about fermented foods. I love making them, eating them, and inventing new ones. My kitchen routinely bustles with microbial activity and new cultured creations. I’ve even reserved one counter as a fermentation station.
No matter how delicious these cultured creations may taste, the reality is that there is far more to eating fermented foods than their great taste—there are also some incredible health benefits. And while most people are familiar with the gut-boosting properties of these cultured creations, their healing properties go well beyond the gut.
Some of these health benefits include cancer prevention, diabetes reduction, and a boost in immunity against many other diseases. Research shows that some fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut may even help in the fight against superbugs—those virulent strains of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that have become stronger and are now resistant to most of our medicines—when our best antibiotics fail!
Kefir: Three times healthier than yogurt
While most people know about yogurt and its many health benefits, few people realize that there is a better bacterial booster in town. Kefir (pronounced ke-FEER) is similar to a drinkable form of yogurt, but it is so much healthier. It has a tart, tangy, slightly sour taste with a slight effervescence.
Kefir comes from the Turkish word keif, which means “good feeling,” probably because it offers so many health benefits—and many people report feeling good when they drink it regularly. Originally created in the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe, it has a slightly thinner consistency than yogurt.
It is made with kefir grains, which aren’t actually grains and contain no gluten at all but a combination of various bacteria and yeasts. Some commercial kefir products are made with powdered kefir starter, which isn’t truly authentic. As with yogurt, many commercial, bottled kefir products are frequently heavily sweetened and flavoured, so be sure to read the labels if you’re buying premade kefir. Or, better yet, make your own.
Excerpted from the book The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life. Copyright © 2017 by Michelle Schoffro Cook. Printed with permission from New World Library. newworldlibrary.com