THE BEAUTY AND BENEFITS OF FERMENTED FOOD

Fermented foods are foods produced by the modification of raw material of either animal or vegetable origin by the activities of microorganisms. Fermented foods have been a well established part of the human diet for thousands of years, without much of an appreciation for thousands of years, or an understanding of their underlying microbial functionality, until recently. The production of many fermented foods involves organisms that are biochemically fermentative such as lactic acid bacteria (LAB), yeasts, moulds, etc. examples of fermented foods are cheese, butter, bread, yoghurt, Garri, akidi, akpu and ogogoro etc. These microorganisms act on food through a process known as fermentation. Fermented foods can also be defined as foods that have been intentionally altered by carefully controlling the activity of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and mould. It can be further defined as those foods which have been subjected to that action of microorganisms or enzymes so that desired biochemical changes can cause significant modification to the food. It is obvious that through fermentation, food become more digestible Fermented foods have unique functional properties imparting some health benefits to consumers due to presence of functional microorganism, which possess probiotic properties, antimicrobial, antioxidant, peptide production, etc. health benefits of some global fermented foods are synthesis of nutrients, prevention of cardiovascular disease, prevention of cancer, gastrointestinal disorders etc. Among the fermented food items, fruits and vegetables are easily perishable commodities due to their high water activity and nutritive values. Lactic acid fermentation increases shelf life of fruits and vegetable and also enhances several beneficial properties, including nutritive value and flavours and reduces toxicity. Fermented fruits and vegetables can be used as a potential source of probiotics as they habour several lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobaccillus spp.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FERMENTED FOODS

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Ethnic foods have in-built systems both as foods and medicine to meet up hungry and also curative ability. The highest longevity observed among the people of Okinawa prefecture in Japan is mostly due to their traditional and cultural foods such as natto, miso, tofu, shoyu, fermented vegetables, cholesterol-free, low-fat, and high bioactive-compounded foods in addition to active physical activity, sound environment, happiness and other several factors. Korean kimchi has been claimed to possess health-promoting benefits. Kimchihas also anti-aging effect. Red wine has anti-aging property due to presence of melatonin that regulates the body clock. Ethnic people have customary belief in medicinal values of some of their ethnic foods including fermented foods and beverages.

PREVENTION OF HYPERTENSION AND HEART DISEASE

Antihypertensive properties of many fermented milk products have been validated using animal models and clinical trials. Consumption of fermented milks or probiotic bacteria and fermented soybean foods, lowers the risk of heart diseases. Fermented whole grain foods can lower the serum LDL-cholesterol values, hypertriacylglycerolaemia, hypertension, coronary heart disease, insulin resistance, and hyperhomocysteinaemia . Moderate consumption of wine is healthier. Polyphenols in red wine probably are synergists of the tocopherol and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), thus they inhibit lipid peroxidation

PROTECTION AGAINST GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS

Lactic acid bacteria present in fermented foods may decrease number of incidence, duration and severity of some gastrointestinal disorders. Administration of some strains of Lactobacillus improves the inflammatory bowel disease, paucities and ulcerative colitis. L. rhamnosus GG is effective in the treatment of acute diarrhea and administration of L. helveticus-fermented milk in healthy older adults produced improvements in cognition function. Consumption of fermented milk products containing live bacteria has immunomodulation capacity 

PROTECTION FROM DIABETES AND OSTEOPOROSIS

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Intake of high fiber foods may decrease the insulin requirements in diabetic persons, and may increase the sensitivity to insulin for non-diabetic persons. Probioticdahi-supplemented diet significantly delays the glucose intolerance, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, oxidative stress and dyslipidemia indicating a lower risk of diabetes 

ALLEVIATION OF LACTOSE MALABSORPTION

Some people suffer from lactose malabsorption, a condition in which lactose, the principal carbohydrate of milk, is not completely digested into glucose and galactose due to lack of ß-D-galactosidase. L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus used in production of yogurt contain substantial quantities of ß-d-galactosidase which improve the symptoms of lactose malabsorption in lactose intolerant people. Consumption of fresh yogurt (with live yogurt cultures) has been demonstrated better lactose digestion and absorption than with the consumption of a pasteurized product

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