Everything you need to know about the ‘bugs’ that are good for you
Fermentation is a process used where microorganisms and their metabolic activity, improve food in many ways than one. Fermentation has been a process used since ancient times, where microorganisms convert sugars into organic acids, carbon dioxide, and alcohol . This process provides a desirable savoury taste to foods, preservation of foods, bioactive compounds and probiotic bacteria .
Fermented foods have many possible benefits due to the bioactive compounds and probiotic bacteria that are formed during fermentation . Vitamin B2, B9, B12, and K are usually increased in fermented foods .
Fermented foods can come in the form of products from milk, meat, vegetables, legumes, as well as other drinks.
Milk products are usually fermented with lactic acid bacteria which can protect the nutritional value of the food as well as prolong the shelf life, these products include:
Vegetable products are usually fermented with lactic acid bacteria to preserve them, during this process, probiotics are formed which may prevent certain diseases such as cirrhosis and diarrhoea, these products include:
- Fermented Olives
Fermentation of legumes improves taste, appearance, nutrient digestibility, nutritional value, texture, and shelf life, these products include:
- Fermented mung bean
- Fermented soy products – miso, natto
Fermented drinks are a vital component of our society, there have been studies that show moderate consumption of fermented drinks such as, beer and wine can have benefits due to their antioxidant properties:
Benefits of fermented products from lactic acid bacteria include:
- the modification of gut microbiota
- prevention and treatment of inflammation in the bowel
- improved immune response in terms of lactose intolerance
- may help lower the risk of hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Overall, fermented foods can assist in increasing immunity, protecting against pathogens, alleviating symptoms of lactose intolerance, and act as antioxidants . They can extend the shelf life of foods and ensure food safety, not to mention increased nutritional value of certain foods and the production of probiotics .
1. Bell V, Ferrao J, Pimentel L, Pintado M, Fernandes T, 2018, One Health, Fermented Foods, and Gut Microbiota, Foods Review, MDPI, file://ns-fps/RedirectedFolders/techreg/Downloads/foods-07-00195.pdf
2. Sanlier N, Gokcen B, Sezgin A, 2019, Health Benefits of fermented foods, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Vol 59, No. 3, 506-527. https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355?needAccess=true