Fermented foods: what they are and properties

Fermented foods: what they are and properties

It is now known that fermented foods improve health general and are important for the prevention of certain diseases and health disorders. Let's find out better!

What is fermentation

Fermentation is a natural process through which microorganisms such as yeasts, molds or bacteria, in the absence of oxygen, convert sugars into alcohol or acids.

In particular, based on what the final product is, we can speak of:

  1. Lactic fermentation;
  2. acetic fermentation;
  3. alcoholic fermentation.

that, starting from a sugar, produce respectively lactic acid, acetic acid ed ethyl alcohol.

These products act naturally as preservatives, therefore, the fermentation technique has become more and more widespread and is used by the food industries for the production and / or preservation of some foods, or to give a sour taste.

The most used microorganisms for this purpose I'm:

  1. Saccharomyces yeast
  2. I batteri Acetobacter, Streptococcus thermophilius e Lactobacillus bulgaricus

based on the type of fermentation, food and purpose.

So what are fermented foods? 

What are fermented foods

Fermented foods can be defined as foods subjected to the fermentation process by specific microorganisms, which alter its flavor, texture and properties.

Without the fermentation process some foods spread all over the world would not exist, among these, probably the most common is it yogurt, obtained by fermentation of milk by Lactobacilli, which convert lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid.

Fermented foods are generally associated with intestinal well-being, but not only, there are numerous properties ormai ascertained by the scientific literature.


Properties of fermented foods

Fermented products they are generally associated with better health, mainly intestinal, but more and more studies confirm further important properties which make these foods particularly useful in combating many diseases and disorders. Let's see some of them:

  • They rebalance the intestinal microbiota, promoting the growth and survival of good bacteria to the detriment of bad bacteria.
  • They improve digestive processes, thanks to the presence of probiotics (positive bacteria).
  • They improve gastrointestinal disorders such as dysentery, constipation and bloating.
  • Can relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • They strengthen the immune system, reducing the risk of infections.
  • They improve mental well-being
  • They reduce cardiovascular risk.


What are fermented foods

Given the many health benefits, fermented foods should be a regular part of our diet, but what are they and how can we introduce them? Here are some examples:

  • Yogurt: produced by fermentation of cow's milk by the microorganisms Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Termophilusin.
  • Kefir: it is milk fermented by yeasts and bacteria, with a sour taste and similar to that of yogurt, but with a more liquid consistency.
  • Tempeh: originates from the fermentation of soybeans and has a high protein content, useful for replacing less healthy protein sources such as cured meats or red and / or processed meat.
  • Sauerkraut: cabbage subjected to lactic fermentation, typical of German cuisine.
  • Wine: it is produced by microorganisms that convert grape sugars into ethanol by fermentation.
  • Some fermented products can be easily made at home. Between these, sauerkraut or other vegetables, which will be enough to let it ferment in brine for a few weeks.




Bibliography and sources

A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases, PLOS ONE

Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis, British Journal of Nutrition

A systematic review and meta-analysis: probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, BMC Gastroenterology

The effect of probiotics on functional constipation in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Probiotics for the prevention of pediatric upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review, Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy

Effect of Probiotics on Central Nervous System Functions in Animals and Humans: A Systematic Review, Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility

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