Why should you care about gut health?
As we covered in multiple blogs already, Gut Health is such an important topic that links to all aspects of your health.
In our modern-day SAD-prevalent society (SAD=Standard American Diet), sugar, salt, saturated fat, bad habits, and poor lifestyles are ruining people’s gut health.
This is why we have so many inflammatory diseases and chronic gut issues like leaky gut and food allergies. These chronic inflammations are signs of imbalances between beneficial and disease-promoting bacteria. If not addressed, they can ultimately lead to life-threatening comorbidities including obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, and poor mental health.
- Digestion and absorption
- Food sensitivities
- Immune functions
- Mood and Behaviours
- Energy level
- Weight control
- Food cravings
- Hormone balance
So at Vegan Palette, we always teach people to improve gut health before anything else. A better gut just makes everything so much easier – dealing with deficiencies, improving health and nutrition status, becoming more energetic…
Make sure you check out these resources on Gut health after this blog.
- Plant-based Gut Health Workbook
- Top 5 things you need to know about gut health
- Inflammatory foods are misunderstood and the truth about food sensitivity
- How to boost your immune system with food and prepare the fight for coronavirus
Why are home fermented vegetables better than probiotic supplements and beverages?
Fermentation is not just a hyped “superfood”. Even Harvard Medical School has advocated for the benefits of fermented foods.
A recent review study published on Foods also states that:
“Ingestion of vibrant probiotics, especially in fermented foods, is found to cause significant positive improvements in balancing intestinal permeability and barrier function, with direct effects on metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and colon cancer and indirect effects on depression, anger, anxiety, and levels of stress hormones.”
Thus, fermented vegetables are natural probiotics that help the 100 trillion bacteria in your gut flourish. Because they produce a wide range of probiotics naturally, they work better than supplements!
One important benefit of fermenting vegetables at home rather than taking probiotic supplements directly is the phytonutrients that are naturally occurring in vegetables. These also have a number of health benefits, which we have covered in a previous blog.
Fermented vegetables contain not only live probiotics, phytonutrients but also enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. But these could very likely be destroyed by commercial processing, which reduces the benefits you can get from fermented foods and beverages. Since you don’t know what exactly is done to the products out there, ferment your own vegetables at home is the best!
How to make fermented vegetables at home?
Fruit and vegetables already have ‘good’ bacteria on their surface naturally. When you put them into an oxygen-free environment, these bacteria start turning natural sugars from the vegetables into lactic acid. Lactic acid acts as a preservative and also creates a delicious flavour – brilliant!!
It is really easy to ferment your vegetables, here are the steps:
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sea salt in 2 cups of filtered warm water (no need to boil, it is just to dissolve). Set aside to cool while preparing the next step.
- Get a jar (eg. a mason jar) and sterilize it by filling with boiling water. Empty the jar.
- Choose a range of vegetables. Common options are carrot, cucumber, jalapeños, cauliflower, cabbage, and capsicum. Chop and tightly layer vegetables in your jar.
- Add spices to taste. Common options are bay leaves, oregano, hot chili, mustard seeds, and peppercorns.
- Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to cooled saltwater to finish the brine.
- Pour your brine over the veggie stash. Make sure that all your vegetables are completely covered below the water level.
- Screw the lid or cover with a fermentation lid. Leave it in a cupboard to ferment.
- You may need to loosen the lid a little bit each day for the first few days and then every other day to allow gasses to escape. Also, add more salted water if the vegetables are no longer completely covered.
- In 3-5 days depending on the temperature, your pickles will be ready. You can find out by taste-testing using clean utensils. Note that vegetables will pickle faster in a warmer temperature.
- When the vegetables are fermented to your liking, seal the jar and refrigerate. They will be okay for about one month.
- The vegetables are perfect to add to any meal or sandwich. If you want to get rid of some salt, rinse gently with water.
See, that wasn’t too hard? Give it a go and let us know how it turns out!
If you like our content, let us know and spread the words so more people can get the benefit of healthy whole food plant-based eating. Also be sure to check out our brand new Ebooks that are on sale for just the price of a coffee, and upcoming workshop in Gold Coast!
Rainie is a health, fitness, and nutrition enthusiastic. She graduated from a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences degree with first-class honours from the University of Queensland. She is now looking to pursue a PhD and using here research skills to help more people learn evidence-based nutrition.