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The Role of Fermented Foods on the Microbiome

Fermented foods are a hot health topic today. Just like probiotic supplements, fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria that help boost the immune system, improve digestion and food absorption. Fermented foods also help maintain a healthy weight, but can these dietary microbes influence the gut microbiome?

 

The health benefits of fermentation

 

Fermentation has been used historically as a way of preserving foods and drinks. During the process, microbes such as bacteria, fungi, or yeast convert organic compounds like starch and sugar into lactic acid or alcohol.

Fermented foods and drinks have health benefits beyond food preservation. During the process of converting sugar and starch into alcohol and lactic acid, the beneficial bacteria or probiotics are enhanced. Probiotics are believed to help improve a wide range of health issues, especially digestive issues. By eating fermented foods, you are boosting your gut bacteria and enzymes, increasing your digestion and immune system, and improving your gut microbiome. Here are few reasons why fermented foods should be part of your diet:

  1. Fermented foods can deliver more probiotics to your body.

Fermented foods have probiotics that help the body in many ways. Probiotics help prevent GI disorders, decrease stress and anxiety levels, and prevent harmful microbes from causing infection. They also play an important role in maintaining a balanced gut microbiota. This ensures a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut, especially when the microbiota is the most sensitive.

  1. Fermented foods can keep your gut free from bacteria.

Fermented foods like kefir, and yogurt have lactic acid bacteria in them because of the fermentation process. Lactic acid bacteria are types of good bacteria that lowers the pH level of their surroundings, making them less hospitable to harmful bacteria. With a lower pH in the gut, illness-causing bacteria will not be as likely to cause you harm.

In addition to lowering the pH of the gut to prevent bad bacteria from growing, lactic acid bacteria also prevent bad bacteria form attaching to the intestinal wall. They compete for space with harmful bacteria such as E. coli. This is called competitive exclusion. Competitive exclusion keeps the harmful bacteria out of the gut by preventing them from sticking around. If they can’t attach to the GI wall, they will pass through the digestive system and out of the body.

  1. Fermented foods may reduce your risk of developing colon cancer

Research shows that consuming fermented foods help lower the chances of developing colon cancer. Fermented foods increase the intestinal butyrate, a short-fatty acid important to the health of the cells that lines the GI tract. Butyrate also protects your colon from toxins as well as helps your system cleanse itself of these toxins.

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