Get Cultured!…(by your food)

by Ann Zimmerman, LAc.

Cultured foods are foods that have been fermented. This is the  process of preserving and enriching food by using beneficial bacteria.  Certain species of bacteria help us digest our food, protect us from disease, repair our intestinal cells, and  provide us with essential amino acids and vitamins.  Science says that there are more microorganisms in our intestinal tract then there are known stars in the universe.  All of life evolves and depends upon bacteria for survival. We know that plants and trees grow because in their roots, bacteria fix minerals from the soil to help them grow.

The tradition of eating fermented foods is ancient and world wide.  For thousands of years people have been preserving food with the help of bacteria called lactobacillus.  Foods such as raw sauerkraut, raw cultured vegetables, miso, kombucha, keifer, and yogurt are sources of this bacteria  When lactobacillus is allowed to flourish it helps to break down food and make it more digestible.  Also  providing live enzymes and beneficial bacteria to help with the whole digestion process.

There are many harmful influences to these beneficial bacteria in our modern world.  Plant herbicides, antibiotics, chlorinated water, mercury in fish or dental fillings are good reasons to take extra care with your diet to help maintain a balanced inner ecology.

Maintaining healthy intestinal bacteria helps to reduce food sensitivities and allergies, build a strong immune system and generally lowers inflammation in your joints and tissue.  Eating cultured foods daily or multiple times per week is one of ways you can support your overall health. Prepared cultured food can be found easily at the grocery in the refrigerated section or made at home with ease.

Eating cultured food is one of those health recommendations that just makes sense and does not require you to take another supplement.  Be adventurous in adding this element to your diet!

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