Voted the #1 food trend expected in 2019 according to 1,342 dietitians, fermented foods have been around since the beginning of human existence.  We all know the benefits of eating yogurt, but recently fermented foods have gained special interest.  Why?  Consumers are learning more and more about the importance of gut health. Are fermented foods the perfect link to a healthy body? First things first; exactly what are fermented foods?  Fermentation is the slow, controlled breakdown of organic substances by microorganisms or enzymes.  Fermentation converts  carbohydrates (glucose) into acids, alcohols and carbon dioxide which provide energy for the microbes.  This process can enhance nutrients, yield probiotic bacteria and inhibit foodborne pathogens.  Yeast is a great example of a living organism which converts water and flour into bread. How do fermented foods translate to gut health? Fermented foods contain billions of useful microorganisms, called probiotics.  Probiotics can crowd out pathogens, maintain gut barrier function, nourish the colon, boost immunity and reduce inflammation.  Certain probiotics enrich protein content, healthy fatty-acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Fermented dairy can be a pie in the sky for individuals with lactose intolerance, as existing microbes digest lactose and break down proteins into easily digestible peptides.  Some classes of probiotics improve glycemic response, meaning less impact on blood glucose levels.  Specific strains help improve inflammation and may help prevent gastric cancer, secondary to H. Pylori infestation (bacteria that exists in the guts of 50% of the world). The Caveat Fermentation isn’t necessarily synonymous with good health.  Most of the, uh..gravy is contingent upon live cultures.  Not all fermented foods retain live cultures.  Even when live cultures are reserved, adequate numbers of live microbes are crucial. Proof of probiotic payoff is markedly lacking.  Live probiotics in fermented foods have rarely been isolated or studied, partly because specific microbial strains vary by batch, location and manufacturer. The Conclusion When thinking of adding fermented foods to your diet, consider that fermented, or pickled foods are high in salt.  It should be noted that a diet high in salt may actually encourage H. Pylori growth and contribute to the development of stomach cancer. Once again, the answer is “everything in moderation”.  Keeping yogurt on your daily menu is a no-brainer.  You should totally add fermented foods to your diet, FOR SURE!  Just don’t go overboard with the salty, pickled foods. In other words, you shouldn’t be eating so many fermented foods that you wake up with a face that be like  
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