Our Raw Bar Manager Ria is somewhat an expert when it comes to fermenting food, having studied a BSc Nutrition and MSc in Public Health Nutrition, with a passion for healthy eating. There are numerous health benefits to eating fermented food and if you’re yet to give fermented food and drinks a go, Ria has a few recommendations to try on our menu in Raw & Cured at Herb House Spa.
We spoke to Ria to find out a little more about the benefits fermented food can bring to our diets…
So, what is fermentation?
There are two types of fermentation. Firstly, there are naturally occurring ferments, known as ‘wild ferments’, this is where the microorganisms present naturally in the raw foods or processing environments, such as kimchi or sauerkraut. Secondly, there are culture-dependent ferments, this is where a starter culture will be added, such as kefir and kombucha.
Fermented foods are produced through controlled microbial growth and the conversion of food components through enzymatic action. Simply, it’s the process in which bacteria and yeast break down sugars.
Historically, food fermentation happened to prolong the shelf life of foods and drinks, however, in recent years it has risen in popularity due to its health benefits to the gut. Fermentation can also be used to enhance the taste and texture of foods, such as olives, as it removed the bitter compounds.
What are the key benefits of eating fermented foods?
Eating and drinking fermented foods will increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut. These are probiotic organisms.
Here are just some of the benefits:
- Improved digestion
- Better immunity
- Fermented foods and drinks are also more likely to survive digestion than a probiotic supplement
Can you tell us two of your favourite fermented dishes on the menu?
Personally, my favourite fermented dishes on the menu are the fermented fennel served with sprouting beans, orange and dill yoghurt. The sprouting beans are fab, they have a high antioxidant content and are also higher in nutrients and can be digested easier than unsprouted varieties.
In a close second, I would pick the fermented sauerkraut that we use in our breakfast bowl. It goes so well with the eggs, avocado, spinach and gives it that nice tart taste. A good start for the gut in the morning!
How often should you be eating fermented foods?
Eating fermented foods should be slowly brought into your diet. There are possible side effects if you go from 0 to 100! I would start by eating one portion of it a day, then slowly build this up. Before you know it, having it with every meal will not cause you an issue and your gut will be grateful!
Top tip - If you suffer from any histamine intolerance or allergy, be very careful as fermented foods can often be high in histamine!
Looking for dishes good for gut health? Try these…
- Our home fermented Sauerkraut
- Home fermented red cabbage & beetroot with blueberries - beetroot is naturally in folate, which helps cell growth and function. Folate plays a key role in controlling the damage to blood vessels, untimately reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Also high in nitrates, which is great if you’re about to hit the gym!
- Willy’s Ginger Beer Kombucha (fermented tea) – which can help reduce any IBS symptoms
- Kefir water (a dairy-free alternative to kefir) – good for lactose malabsorption
Fancy trying some fermented foods yourself? Why not book a table at Raw & Cured at Herb House Spa?