Fermented Foods: Using Fermentation to Unlock the Power of Nutrients
Fermented foods — foods made, transformed or preserved using starter cultures of yeast or bacteria — are important parts of traditional diets around the world.
Food of the Gods?
In fact, fermented honey was considered the “nectar” and “ambrosia” of the ancient Greek gods, so the special powers in raw honey have been well-known for many thousands of years.
Raw honey is one the three main ingredients in Almased®, but more on that in a minute . . .
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In addition to honey, researchers have found evidence of fermented alcoholic beverages made from fruit and rice dating back to 7000 BC in China and going back to 3000 BC in what is modern-day Iraq. Wine-making (basically preserved grape juice) dates back to 6000 BC in the Caucasus Mountains in Europe.
Believe it or not, the earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation is 13,000-year-old beer residue found in a cave near Haifa in Israel!
But just how did humans learn to harness the power of fermentation to begin with? Purely by accident. As far back as 10,000 BC, milk would ferment unintentionally. The first yogurts were most likely accidental, produced in milk-filled bags that were carried on the backs of camels in North Africa.
What is Fermentation?
It wouldn’t be until the mid-1800s when we humans finally started to really understand what was happening to make our food ferment. This was when a French chemist named Louis Pasteur made the connection between yeast and the process of fermentation.
Today we know that fermentation is an “anaerobic process,” which means it goes on in an airless environment. Good bacteria do very well, and thrive, in this oxygen-less environment — digesting sugars, starches and carbohydrates, and releasing alcohols, carbon dioxide and organic acids (which are what preserve the food). The unwanted bacteria, the ones that that cause rotting and decay of food, aren’t able to survive.
Benefits of Fermented Foods
The variety and popularity of fermented foods have exploded in recent years, with more restaurant menus featuring fermented options than ever before.
And no surprise, as fermentation not only improves the flavor and digestibility of foods, but it is also thought to be a master key that can unlock more efficacy, bioavailability and sheer power from foods than we can get from foods that are not fermented.
Because of the chemical processes that occur in fermentation, the micronutrients in your food are “unlocked” and their bioavailability (or ability of your body to absorb and use them) is increased.
One study by Swedish researchers found that fermentation increased the bioavailability of nutrients, in this case zinc, by upwards of 240% compared to non-fermented.
Unlocking the Natural Power of Ingredients
Scientists and food technologists know that the only way to naturally boost the potency and efficacy of ingredients is to make sure that each ingredient is protected.
According to experts, fermentation is one of the best ways to make sure that the integrity of ingredients is preserved, while also allowing unique or “hidden” nutrients to be unlocked.
Fermentation can help release the nutrients of these foods, allowing your body to better absorb and use them.
From minerals (like iron, magnesium and zinc) to enzymes and bioactive peptides, fermented foods offer a way for your body to better extract the nutrients it needs from what you eat.
The natural metabolic process that happens during fermentation also creates compounds with unique benefits.
In this way, fermentation can make a product stronger and healthier than it would have been without fermentation.
Tapping Into the Benefits of Fermented Foods
There are simple ways we can incorporate more fermented foods into our diet. Some examples include kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso, natto, pickles, sauerkraut, skyr, tempeh, tofu and yogurt.
It’s also important to look for dietary supplements that use natural fermentation in their processing.
In fact, Almased® is crafted using a special fermentation process that begins with the product’s three primary food ingredients, honey, soy and yogurt.
Unlike most regular honey, which is heat-treated, the raw honey in Almased® is bursting with vital enzymes and naturally occurring yeast that allow fermentation to continue even after the cans are sealed. The honey’s natural ingredients are still living and active when you open the can.
A single serving of Almased® also supplies 27 grams of protein and a treasure trove of amino acids. Amino acids support the growth of good bacteria in the gut. The gut-friendly yogurt in Almased® comes from happy cows in Ireland and northern Germany, where they live in green pastures.
Are you ready to unlock the power of your nutrients with Almased®?