I'm Passionate About Culturing
On a personal level, I am passionate about fermentation as a living process. My house is usually literally bubbling with no less than a half dozen “experiments” transforming normal food into alchemical miracles that nourish my family. I am continually awed by the invisible intelligence that can create life and panoply of nutrients where there were few before. I feel like a co-creator in the life process! Guests to my home are brought tastes of my newest creations – kombucha, vegetable, herb or dairy kefir, sourdough, yogurt, mead, natto, kimchi, cultured crepes, villi, fil mjolk, sauerkraut, ginger beer, the list goes on and on. But always, the glory in my heart and home is poi and we continually have some on hand to share. Discover more about Hawaiian Poi.
As food ferments it produces precious and varied beneficial metabolites. Bacteriocins are just one of these valuable metabolites. Bacteriocins exhibit powerful antibacterial properties and may hold great promise as the next generation of antimicrobials especially with the dramatic rise in antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Some of the natural benefits of bacteriocins produced when food ferments are: improved nutritional value of food, control of intestinal infections, improved digestion of lactose, control of some types of cancer and control of serum cholesterol levels.
Research has also determined that DNA from lactic acid bacterial species (the special bacteria that helps poi and other food ferment) is capable of suppressing inflammatory responses that are the precursors to many diseases including IBD, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory intestinal diseases.
It is likely that several hundred, if not millions, of beneficial symbiotic compounds are released by microbial fermentation, and are subsequently absorbed. So…
The Benefits of Natural Fermentation
- “Culturing creates unique compounds that stimulate powerful anti-cancer defenses.”
- "Culturing produces enhanced anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity."
- “Culturing enhances free radical scavenging.”
- “Culturing enhances both the cardioprotective activity and stability of polyphenols.”
- “Culturing creates highly beneficial phospholipids that …support liver function.”
- “Culturing …creates unique prebiotic nutrients, apart from the viable bacteria, that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, the health of the digestive system and reduce the risks of colon cancer.”
- “By-products of culturing lower blood pressure and thus aid in the treatment of hypertension and elevated cholesterol, and protect against death from heart attacks.”
- “Culturing in and of itself, apart from any vitamin or mineral enhancement, apart even from the presence of live active culture in food, creates nutrients that are of extraordinary value in promoting health.”
*Above quotes are from The Life Bridge, by Sarnat, Schulick, Newmark. A highly recommended read!
Research has also determined that DNA from lactic acid bacterial species is capable of suppressing inflammatory responses that are the precursors to many diseases including IBD, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory intestinal diseases.
A partial list of potential benefits of food cultures and their metabolites:
- Antiviral potential
- Reduction of allergies
- Immune supportive
- Antibacterial potential
- Prevention of antibiotic induced diarrhea and dysbosis
Read a delightful article on fermentation here.
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I recommend the following resources for those of you who want to independently explore the benefits of fermentation. Find more on my resources page.
- Wild Fermentation, The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live Cultured Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz
- Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation by Stephen Harrod Buhner
- Fermented, a four-season approach to Paleo probiotic foods by Jill Ciciarelli
- The Life Bridge: The Way to Longevity with Probiotic Nutrients
Want to do your own fermenting? There are many sources for great starter cultures. Right now I'm using Caldwell Organic (no vendor agreement! Just love).