The Top 20 Fermented Foods is an ultimate source of Probiotics for your Gut
Probiotics are live bacteria ‘friendly’ to your gut to promote its health. You can avail probiotics through food or supplements.
Related: What is Probiotics?
Fermented foods are important traditional foods around the world.
Do I need Probiotics? What kind?
Here’s a List of Top 20 Fermented Foods:
Probiotics Food from Fermented Legumes:
A lot of research has proven the benefits of taking soy products. Even a study on the animal model showed the benefit of soy protein to prevent bone loss in early adulthood.
It is a traditional soy product (a type of fermented food) of Indonesia.
The process involves soaking soybean overnight. Next, boil and drain and then fermented to bind soybean into a soybean cake.
The starter used is Rhizopus oligosporus, a fungus. It has a nutty flavor. An excellent source of calcium and vitamin K. An alternative plant-based protein to meat. A good source of dietary fats, niacin (prevents Parkinson disease), phosphorus (aids in the restoration of bones and cells).
2. Soya Sauce:
It is prepared from soaked and steamed soybean when subjected to lactic acid fermentation ( by Tetragenococus halophilus) and ethanolic fermentation ( by yeast named Zygosacchromyces and Torulopsis).
Processed under 4.5- 4.9 pH pasteurized and bottled as soya sauce. Adding it on a vegetarian diet can help to strengthen bone in women.
Expert says it is not necessary to use typical Asian soy products in the main dish. You can enhance your diet by addition of tofu, soy milk, and soy sauce as snacks, appetizers and so on.
A traditional fermented food made from soy in Japan is fermented by Lactobacillus species of boiled soybeans. It has a strong flavor, sticky and slimy texture.
In a study by the American Chemical Society, an enzyme named Nattokinase is present in Natto.
This enzyme has amyloid dissolving capacity and protects against Alzheimer’s disease.
It also protects against stroke due to its ability to prevent clot formation similar to a clot-busting drug.
You can consume Natto to prevent heart disease and amyloid-related disease or can take it in the form of a dietary supplement available in the market.
4. Tungrymbai: A fermented food native to East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. It is prepared from soybean. Lactic acid fermentation occurs by LAB var. such as L. Plantarum, L. fructivorans, L brevis, L. collinoides, L. pentosus, Leuconostoc mesenteroides.
Another traditional soy product of Japan and China. Used as a seasoning, salads or soup enriched with protein.
Isoflavones are a micronutrient present in soy that produces a substance known as equol when metabolized by gut bacteria.
Dietary intake of isoflavones through traditional soy products like miso and soymilk is 25-50mg in Asian countries (China and Japan) and equal or less than 2mg in Western countries.
Equol can be availed through supplements but under doctor recommendation. Dietary isoflavones have a beneficial effect on osteoporosis, prostate and breast cancer, dementia along with heart health.
According to a study done by the Society of Endocrinology in Edinburgh, isoflavones, a micro-nutrient in soy mimics the activity of estrogen hormone in women to protect against osteoporosis.
In the study, they proved health benefits of soy protein supplement that had isoflavones (66mg) in it for a period of six months.
Observed Low levels of protein (βCTX and P1NP) in the blood sample of women participants. Resulting in a lower risk of developing osteoporosis and decrease in bone loss.
Research showed 66mg of isoflavone is equivalent to Asian diet rich in suy foods. Whereas, 2 mg of isoflavones are present in Western diets.
Kambukoozh is a non-alcoholic naturally fermented food prepared from pearl millet porridge. It is a traditional beverage of India that is fermented twice in the process. It prevents constipation.
Idli is a traditional fermented food of South India. In this, parboiled rice and black gram dal is soaked, grounded and fermented by Leuconostoc mesenteroides, S. faecalis, and Pedococous cerevisiae.
Sauerkraut is a German word originated in China and available across the globe with different names.
Certainly, sauerkraut is a fermented food in which fresh shredded cabbage is subjected to salt brine solution (2-3%w/w) to extract moisture from it and suppress Pseudomonas.
The salt solution also gives flavor and texture to cabbage. It is then subjected to lactic acid fermentation by Leuconostoc and brings down pH to 4.
Leuconostoc is less acidic and tolerant to salt. It is then pasteurized both hetero and homo-fermentation at 2-3% acidity.
Kimchi is a traditional fermented food of Korea and prepared by the same process as Sauerkraut. In addition to cabbage different vegetables can be used. However, during preparation of Kimchi salt solution is kept <3%w/w and pH at 4.2.
An ancient and traditional food preservation technique respective to the countries of origin. Pickled food, a culinary process available worldwide.
From Kimchi in Korea, miso pickles of Japan to sauerkraut of China and chutneys of India is indigenous pickling process.
Pickling involves two processes, firstly, use of vinegar to preserve the ingredients wherein, a few bacteria can survive.
Secondly, salt brine solution to proceed with fermentation that lowers spoilage-causing bacteria with the production of good bacteria.
10. Cucumber Dill Pickles:
For cucumber use of salt, brine is of two types (high salt at 8-9% and low salt at 5% w/w) and then fermented by Leuconostoc for lactic acid fermentation (L. Brevis, L. Plantarum, Leuconostoc and Pedococus pentosans).
Then by starter culture (Leuconostoc mesenteries, Faecalis and Streptococcus) until stabilized by conversion of all fermentable sugar.
Soluble sugar of the cucumber diffuses out after LAB fermentation to produce lactic acid. For few weeks, it is kept in warm temperature and up to 0.7-1.2 acidity.
It is prepared by Lactic acid fermentation of olives.
Lye solution added to unripe fruit to dissolve sticky oleuropein pigments (gives a bitter flavor).
Then, washed with water and added salt brine solution (5-6%). Lactic acid fermentation starts with Leuconostoc and then by L.brevis at pH 3.6-4.2.
Fermented Meat Product:
Sausage is a fermented food prepared from Lactic acid fermentation (Pedeococcus acidilactici, L.plantarum) with salting and drying.
Sausage is prepared from pork, beef, and lean meat. The fermentation process promotes coagulation of meat protein, increase water expulsion (decreases moisture content) and the development of flavor and texture.
Fermented Milk Products:
13. Curd: Starter culture- Streptococcus lactis, Leuconostoc, L. lactis.
14. Butter: Starter culture- S. lactis, Leuconostoc, L. lactis
15. Cultured buttermilk: Pasteurized milk and S. lactis, S. cremoris as a starter culture
16. Bulgarian Milk: Skim milk and L. bulgaricus, L.citrivorum (flavor producing)
17. Kefir: From cow’s or goat’s milk and S. lactis, L. bulgaricus, and yeast.
18. Yogurt: S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus
19. Koumiss: Mare’s milk and S. lactis, L. bulgaricus as a starter culture.
20. Cheese: Involves lactic acid fermentation and available in different forms from hard cheese to soft cheese.
Note: Health benefits of fermented foods are obtained through natural food some people do not like the strange flavor due to lactic acid fermentation. It may also cause bloating, indigestion or food sensitivity in some.
Therefore, select those fermented foods that suit your taste and physiology.
The top 20 fermented foods mentioned in this article are to make you aware of foods that are a part of the traditional diet since back.
You can suggest more examples of the health benefits of fermented foods that you have come across.