Inflammation a Problem? Try Fermented Foods. (Plus 2 More Reasons to Eat Them!) : Excerpt from “Cultured: Make Health Fermented Foods at Home”

Thursday Sep 22 | BY |
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apple chicha peru
I have no idea what we’re looking at, but there is apple chicha in the pitcher (a fermented drink.)

This excerpt is from our new book “Cultured: Learn to Make Fermented Foods at Home” which contains over 70+ fermented food recipes. Click here to learn more!

Your experience with inflammation probably hasn’t been a pleasant one, be it a bruised swollen toe or inflamed gums. What you probably don’t realize is that this is a beneficial reaction your body uses to respond to infection or injury; it’s a natural healing process that we should be thankful for.

Too much of a good thing is often bad for you, however, and this is certainly the case with inflammation. Many people live with chronic low-grade inflammation throughout their body, and increasing studies such a recent one done by Virginia Tech show that this can lead to the cause of many health conditions such as health disease, diabetes and arthritis. According to the university’s research, some of the main inflammatory agents in the body are bacteria called microbial endotoxin, and they have been found in mildly elevated levels in the systems of many patients with major diseases. [1]

Fermented foods are strong weapons in the fight against inflammation due to their ability to help rebuild your immune system, thus reducing the strength of the minor infections that keep the inflammation in your body at a sustained level. Furthermore, the beneficial bacteria that find their way into your gut through fermented foods are able to displace and destroy the microscopic, harmful bacteria that your body may constantly be at war with, a fight that makes you more susceptible to diseases of all sorts.

Fermented Foods Create B Vitamins

If you take a daily multivitamin, take a quick look at the back of the bottle. You’ll notice that there isn’t just one B vitamin, but several. Here’s the whole gang, as well as their individual specialties:

  • Thiamine (B1) aids the body in producing energy and stimulates the enzymes that affect the nerves, heart and muscles.
  • Riboflavin (B2) functions much the same as Thiamine.
  • Niacin (B3) also produces energy for the body and plays a major role in skin and digestive health, in addition to promoting a properly functioning nervous system.
  • Pantothenic acid (B5) is necessary for growth and development.
  • Pyridoxine (B6) aids maintenance of healthy red blood cells, the nervous system and sections of the immune system. It also helps to break down protein.
  • Biotin (B7), like B6, helps to break down protein as well as carbohydrates and aids in the production of hormones.
  • Folic acid (B9) helps the cells in the body make and maintain DNA and is essential for the production of red blood cells.
  • Cobalamin (B12) regulates how the body uses folic acid and carbohydrates, and is critical for growth, the production of red blood cells, and the healthy functioning of the body’s nervous system.

In short, they’re absolutely essential for a healthy body.

You can find B vitamins in foods such as spinach, eggs and many types of peas and beans, but they’re especially abundant in fermented foods, forming as the healthy microbes that are present begin to mature. As if that wasn’t fantastic enough, these microbial cultures, once present in the gut, spur on the body to naturally produce its own stock of B vitamins.

Bet your multivitamin can’t do that.

As it stands, pill form is not the best way to get any kind of vitamin. Although multivitamins aren’t useless, they’re inefficient, presenting vitamins as mere chemicals, typically in limited amounts. The body is used to recognizing vitamins as constituent parts of whole foods, ‘prepackaged’ with enzymes and nutrients that help them to get to work in your body correctly.

As such, it’s always preferable to make sure you’re eating a diet full of healthy, whole foods that provide you with the many different types of vitamins you need.

With this being the case, what better way to do so than through fermented foods? Not only do they contain the vitamins you need, they practically turn you into a B vitamin factory!

Fermented Foods Encourage Protein Absorption and the Delivery and Creation of Amino Acids

Everybody’s heard of amino acids, but few people know how they truly work. They’re some of the body’s secret weapons, essential building blocks in the creation of every animal that has ever walked the face of the earth – including us humans. They really don’t get enough credit.

What does get a lot of attention is protein, in all its myriad forms. Proteins are absolutely necessary, but not in the way that most people think they are. We have the fitness industry to thank for the widespread appreciation of a protein-rich diet, but there’s still a basic misunderstanding in the general public about just why proteins are so essential.

Proteins do help your body build muscle and repair itself on a daily basis, but it’s an intricate process. Proteins are actually constructed from amino acids. When digested they’re broken back down into amino acids, which are then whisked away to the parts of the body where they’re needed… which is everywhere!

  • Amino acids are responsible for the production of neurotransmitters which regulate brain function and various aspects of your mental health.
  • Amino acids are essential for the production and maintenance of many different types of tissues, glands, hormones and enzymes in your body.
  • Amino acids are responsible for the construction of blood protein, and the reconstitution of protein throughout the body.
  • Amino Acids serve as a source of energy for the body.

There are 23 amino acids in all, eight of which are essential. This is a bit of a misleading term, as it’s used to denote the fact that we can only get these amino acids from a food source. The remaining 15 are absolutely necessary as well, however, but will be produced by our body provided you are receiving a steady dose of essential amino acids.

So where do fermented foods come into the picture?

One of the great benefits of fermented foods is that they are “pre-digested”, meaning our body doesn’t have to expend any energy breaking them down to unlock the goodness contained within. For people who may have a compromised digestive system, digesting proteins can be problematic as their microflora are not diverse or strong enough to break down the proteins they eat in order to receive the amino acids they need. For these people, fermented foods are a godsend as they allow them to absorb protein, and ultimately amino acids – as well as other nutrients – very, very easily. Even if your digestion is functioning pretty well, fermented foods still provide the benefit of sparing your body the energy intensive task of extracting amino acids from your meals. They’re just there and ready to go.

I want to know your thoughts: Have you had any issues with inflammation in the past?

Live Awesome!

[1] “Biologist studies possible link between chronic low-grade inflammation, major diseases.” Virginia Tech

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. What if you don’t care for the taste of fermented foods? Most I just can’t choke down and what they trigger is the urge to upchuck. That reflex is extremely strong for me (of course I can’t think of the term when I need to!) Aha – Gag reflex and I just can’t handle most fermented foods.

  2. Peggy says:

    With an issue such as MS that may be intertwined with Candida do you think fermented foods could be helpful?

  3. Marc says:

    Making some homemade kraut tonight!

  4. Thomas says:

    We all have had experience with inflammation, hopefully . . . 🙂

    “Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process. Inflammation is not a synonym for infection, even in cases where inflammation is caused by infection. Although infection is caused by a microorganism, inflammation is one of the responses of the organism to the pathogen. However, inflammation is a stereotyped response, and therefore it is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity.”

    “Without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal.”

  5. I first heard about the benefits of fermented foods when I read “Nourishing Traditions”. I love kefir but had problems w/. Sauerkraut & kimchi. Now I don’t eat a salad w/o topping it with one of these items. Guess my tastebuds have changed. Try adding a tablespoon with a salad. It mixes in nicely.

  6. Rachel says:

    Hey there kevin I always enjoy reading your articles. I have been making my own sauerkraut and just love it.. however I don’t seem to get around to eating it everyday… How often do you think I should be eating fermented foods?? to really reap the benefits of them..??

  7. Erin Shriver says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I recently got into making my own coconut kefir and kim chi but I don’t know what is an appropriate amount to drink/eat of these foods. Can you provide some insight on how much one should ingest each day to see the max benefits?

    Thanks a bunch!!!


  8. Rocio says:

    Candida and fermented foods. Well not everyone can have the same benefits of all wonderful nutrients.

  9. osun says:

    Peggy… Absolutely.. Donna Gates speaks of this in her Body Ecology Diet… Kevin has info about her on this site!! Much success to you!

  10. Rose says:

    I love making fermented foods and have had fun experimenting with them… can’t wait to read your book. I know that too much of a good thing is not always good. So… how much should I be including in my daily intake?

  11. Pratik says:

    Thanks for the info Kevin. In general, bad microvita cause an inflammatory response & good microvita fight them off. NOT ALL Fermented foods are a good source of positive microvita.

  12. Velda says:

    Thank you, Kevin, for this great article. When my youngest son was 5 years old, he was diagnosed with severe ADHD (believe me, it was severe). The doctor wanted to put him on retlin. After some research, I refused the meds and put him on an IV pharmeceutical grade of a broad spectrum amino acid. In a month he was a different kid. It had a certain protocol to it – and it worked very well. Anyway, I know how important amino acids are to the brain for sure.

    I have a friend who has been suffering with lyme disease for years. I am going to forward to her your email and article and hopefully she will purchase your book and begin to look at fermented foods as a way back to health.

    Thanks again for this great information!!

  13. Jessica Daniels says:

    Kevin, what do you think about fermented foods while on a candida diet? I currently am having some issues with inflammation and gall stones, but the anti candida diet along with probiotics, brewers yeast, and enzymes has helped a bunch. And THANK YOU for emphasizing how important amino acids are! They were the KEY to getting over my adrenal fatigue!!

  14. Cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s are now considered to be inflammatory diseases.

    The diet can play a big part in quenching inflammation.

    I have been diagnosed with a slow diamine oxidase enzyme and unfortunately fermented food is one of the things that is on the list of foods to avoid for this problem.

  15. Janet Kent says:

    There seems to be times when “fads” appear and everybody jumps on the band wagon !! Fermented foods have been around for thousands of years and have great health benefits but they are not to everyones taste. I have eaten saukraut all of my life and yoghurt and fermented apple juice etc and am in the peak of condition at 73yrs old.Haven’t had a cold or flue for over 6 years, never suffer from headaches or acid reflux or any of the usual complaints that go with old age so I must be doing something right. Is it my high (but not entirely) raw diet ? My twice daily green smoothies? or the fermented foods I eat ? maybe it is just a combination of all my eating habits. One of the things I like is mead made with honey and I also have a tbs of molasses every day. Who knows what is the greatest thing in my diet ? I will certainly be looking into fermented foods more.

  16. Sue says:

    I knew that fermented foods were good for us, but didn’t know why. Because I have a rutabaga on hand, I will make up some rutabaga sauerkraut today!

  17. VJ says:

    Please tell me, am I meant to have Fermented foods while fighting Candida or not. I keep hearing different opinions

  18. south indian food contained some essential fermented foods made with one of rice,or millets,or Other similar grains. now i understand why the rural elders lived healthy upto 100y and above. they enjoyed very good brain functioning at ripe age. contrarily, the urbanites suffered from most diseases and lost cognition too. now i will recommend for my correcting pgms for brain affected kids along with other options. do you know they make ferm.intoxicating drinks from many grains, and coconut and palm trees such as toddy. And also cashewfenny from cashewnuts.
    good going.thanks kevin.

  19. Ann says:

    for the folks that don’t like the taste of most fermented foods, have you tried Kombucha tea or the applekraut recipe Kevin shared a couple of days ago? I think just like any new diet items, you’ll just have to retrain your palate by starting with something you like. Kombucha tea is available at Whole Foods – I recommend GT’s brand. The mango flavor is awesome!

  20. Jia says:

    I love fermented veggies, nut “cheezes” and “mylks”. If you do not like the taste of cultured veggies, try tossing them in a dressing like a tehini dressing.

    Last night a friend told me she follows Dr Robert Young suggestion and will not eat fermented foods as he is down on fermentation. Do you understand why? For me fermentation makes so much sense.

  21. Jia says:

    Hi All … I love fermented veggies, nut “cheezes” and “mylks”. If you do not like the taste of cultured veggies, try tossing them in a dressing like a tehini dressing.

    Last night a friend told me she follows Dr Robert Young suggestion and will not eat fermented foods as he is down on fermentation. Do you understand why? For me fermentation makes so much sense.

  22. nilsholgerson says:

    This newsletter made me thinking. if you caan display. its on the lost of a member of this selfdefence group. shhe wworrked with them close and then got cancer.

    On the one site i ssee people like charrlotte gersson and CChris sexy crazy canccer or jaquie davison ccancer winner. or otherr people and then i see people like this people. She got a lot greating and some how decided to leave tthis world.

    mayybe itss on give ourself a placce in life to give ourself a place to breath to exisst. tthis seem to bbe important. ithought it might be a reason that she ia in self defence gpeople. people who try to get everything away from them. is this true. if we defend everything what could harm us we also defend ourself from our healing self?

    i have teeth isssues and i wonder how i ccan heal them. i try a lot. i have hard times to stay at it. is it the area the loneylnes. the situation, the finnnace. thee food. the dates or is itt good to eat animal food a lot question and it rarely is clear?

    in germany it harrd to get your blood tested. if you arent. i think americaa is the ccountry of true freedom . europe iss much sociial secure. therefore you havve freedom there. in europe its social seccure so your arre often lockend somehhow in the ssysttem. even t…im not sure its so ddivvers even in germany every place is ddiffferent and the meedia is beccome extreme bias in ggermany. and manipulative. hrought the mixture of sound and text and internet. they can tell bullshit to the masses like they never done before.

  23. Cyn says:

    Is it possible to make yogurt & kefir from pasteurized milk? I really enjoy them but I can’t get raw milk in NJ. I’d like to make my own rather than buy it from Whole Foods. I need to boost my immunity to avoid an allergic reaction to my two precious kittens. When it gets severe I become asthmatic. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  24. Gerrie says:

    I am interested in learning everything I I can about fermented foods.

    Where do I start?

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