FERMENTING FOR LIFE
Takes ages, crazy smells and a messy kitchen - covers some of the reasons why we are no longer drawn towards fermenting foods. But, the fizz it brings to our life is immeasurable!Fermentation or lacto-fermentation uses natural bacteria, yeast and other micro-organisms to help break down a substance (usually vegetables). In doing so, it produces fizz and heat - it’s literally alive, no matter how ancient this preservation process is! It also produces lactic acid, beneficial digestive enzymes, B- vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, a range of probiotics and helps preserve our food, so that it can last longer.The ‘good’ bacteria or probiotics (meaning 'for life') that fermentation produces, live in our intestine and are known as our intestinal microflora and are constantly at work. Our diverse microflora are the root of our being, our health (mental and physical) and our immune system status.
During pregnancy, particularly throughout the first 3 months and preconception, meeting our body's need to be strong enough to carry and develop a human being and fight infection is essential. These probiotics, alongside strengthening our immune system, also improve our digestives processes and therefore our absorption of essential nutrients. The food, having been already broken down in the fermentation process, is also in a more digestible and bioavailable state for our body.Research has shown that pregnant mothers with a diverse range of intestinal microflora can help reduce the risk of their baby developing allergies, reflux and colic. Eating fermented foods in preparation for and throughout pregnancy will only bring more energy and strength to the mother and to the new life they are preparing for or that is already growing inside them!Of course fermented foods are not exclusive, we can all benefit from their amazing attributes but it’s best to introduce them slowly into our diet. It’s important that probiotics or good bacteria be nourished once they’ve taken up residence in our intestine. We simply need to feed them with prebiotics (a source of fibre that is only digested in the colon), which are found in certain vegetables, whole grains and resistant starches. Examples include, raw garlic, raw and cooked onion, dandelion greens, under ripe bananas (which can be used in smoothies) and raw chicory root. Probiotics and prebiotics work together to protect the functions and structure of our gastrointestinal system.
Just like baking, this playful, therapeutic art can become a Saturday favourite pastime for children to get their hands dirty and will surely become part of their healthy kitchen routine and habits - for life.