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The ascent of ferment


fermented food

By Merritt Watts for Q.Equinox.com

When canning made a comeback, foodies were salivating at the abundance of artisanal jams and pickles so ubiquitous that they were worthy of a “Portlandia” sketch. Little did they know, the trend would also help rediscover one of the healthiest foods around — fermented vegetables.

Sauerkraut and kimchi (a traditional Korean mixture of fermented cabbage and radishes), may not sound like the stuff of health-food legend, but they’re some of the best sources of probiotics and nutrients, especially when made with the traditional methods that are gaining ground with today’s artisanal food makers.

Thanks to smart marketing, yogurt is the food that’s synonymous with probiotics (the healthy bacteria that has been shown to help boost immunity and address digestive issues), but that doesn’t mean it has a monopoly on the beneficial-bacteria market. Fermented vegetables contain the same cultures, and are perfect options for the dairy-averse, vegans, or people who just want an extra dose of probiotics without the extra sugar that often comes with yogurt. (A cup of ‘kraut has 27 calories and 2.5 grams of sugar. Compare that to the same amount of plain, low-fat yogurt, which contains 154 calories and 17 grams of sugar.)

Keep reading for more health benefits of fermented foods…

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