Pass the kimchi: the health benefits of fermented plant foods
Humans have been fermenting foods for thousands of years as a means to preserve food, enhance its flavor or to make alcoholic beverages. Many types of plant foods can be fermented, including:
- Soybeans: soy sauce, miso and tempeh
- Grains: beer, bread made with yeast, whisky, vodka
- Vegetables: kimchi, sauerkraut, beets, carrots and more…
- Fruits: wine, vinegar, cider, brandy
- Tea: kombucha
Even chocolate is fermented! The cacoa seeds are fermented to develop flavor and reduce bitterness.
Fermentation is a metabolic process in which sugars are converted to acids, gases or alcohol via yeast or bacteria. In lacto-fermentation, lactobacillales, a bacteria found in plants and animals, converts sugars into lactic acid. This acid inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, therefore preventing spoilage.
Health benefits of fermented vegetables