LOW-CARB AND FERMENTED FOODS
As low-carb dieting becomes more well known, people are learning the many benefits that eating low-carb brings with it. But what continues to surprise people are the enhancements that can be added to make the low-carb lifestyle even more effective. This is where fermented foods come in.
By regularly consuming fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefirs, and coconut yogurts, a low-carb dieter can reach their health goals faster by bombarding their system with a large influx of beneficial, live bacteria called probiotics.
FERMENTED FOOD'S PROBIOTIC BENEFIT
Probiotics aid the digestive tract in doing its many jobs by making minerals more bioavailable for absorption.
Probiotics also help the gastrointestinal tract with immunity functions so that GI diseases are prevented. New scientific findings tell us that probiotics also help us with the health of our teeth and gums.
The probiotic effects from fermented foods are also being studied for:
Assisting in the metabolism of fat
Helping with infections
Colic in Infants
Irritable bowel syndrome
So far the studies of these positive probiotic effects are showing real promise. So much so that probiotics are being used in cosmetic and personal care products.
Although probiotics are found regularly in pill form as a supplement, it’s important to ascertain the differences between the probiotic supplement and fermented foods that contain large amounts of probiotics naturally.
Companies must acquire a certain patent for the specific strain of probiotic they will be using in their product. This means that your probiotic may have a large number of bacteria, but it’s only one strand of bacteria. It’s vital for us to consume a large variety of probiotics to fully receive their benefits. So while a supplement is a great start, try to incorporate eating live bacteria within fermented foods.
The more varieties and amounts of probiotics in your digestive tract, the better.
Probiotics are not the only form of beneficial bacteria we can consume. Prebiotics are known as the foods that aid in the digestion of probiotics.
To fully gain the benefits of fermented foods and their probiotics, combine with prebiotic foods, such as onion, garlic, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, and millet.
Regularly consuming prebiotics with probiotics can help the body have more regular bowel movements, allow for better absorption of minerals, and even prevent obesity.
THE SYNBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP TO FERMENT FOODS
Synbiotics are the best of both worlds, the combination of probiotics and prebiotics. These are most commonly found in probiotic supplements, so that probiotics are not on their own and can be better digested.
This combination of probiotics and prebiotics can help prevent illness and balance stress levels. We can create a symbiotic meal at home with real, whole foods by combining foods like kimchi, chickpeas, and quinoa into a balanced meal. Choosing whole food options over supplements is a good practice to receive any form of nutrient.
When fermented foods are included in a diet that’s rich with lean, healthy proteins and fats, a carbohydrate element that’s not excessive, refined, or processed the result is a probiotic boost that creates good gut health and pushes the goal-drven low-carb dieter even closer to success.
Fermented foods contain small amounts of carbs because the sugars in the food are eaten by the live cultures as the specific food ferments.
For example, when making kimchi at home, it’s best to add 3–4 slices of raw apple to aid in the fermentation process, but at the end of fermentation, the kimchi contains very low sugar levels.
These are healthy and beneficial carbohydrate sources that aid in digestion. Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefirs, and yogurts can be made at home with the right materials and plenty of cool shade for the food to ferment.
Always choose organic produce to begin making these kinds of ferments. An easy recipe for a big batch of homemade kimchi is as follows:
Makes: 20 servings
1 napa cabbage, roughly chopped
3 tbsp Korean chili powder
1 c water
2 tbsp pink salt
8 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp shoyu soy sauce or tamari
Dissolve salt in water while chopping cabbage.
Next, combine ½ cup of the salted water and cabbage in a mixing bowl and massage the cabbage until wilted.
Slowly add cabbage into your mason jar, pushing down cabbage with your fist so that there are no air pockets. Pour remaining salted water on top so that cabbage is fully immersed.
Close top and store in a shaded cool place for one full day.
The next day, take the cabbage out of the jar, setting salted water aside for later. Rinse cabbage using the colander and place in a mixing bowl. In a blender, pulse Korean chili powder, pink salt, garlic, green onion, and soy sauce until mushy. Massage spices onto your wilted cabbage leaves until fully coated.
In empty quart jar, first add kimchi again, pushing down firmly with fist so no air pockets occur between the cabbage leaves. Once fully packed in, add the saved salted water on top until the cabbage is fully immersed once again.
Seal and store in shaded cool place for 3 days.
After the 3rd day, your kimchi is done! Now you can enjoy it and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 months. Kimchi will continue to ferment in the fridge.
Serving size: 1/4 cup
Net carbs: 2g
We'd love to see how your homemade kimchi turns out. Post your fermented super food on our facebook page for some well-deserved thumbs up!