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Karin Cooke, with over 40 years experience as an RN & Nutritionist
WHY FERMENT VEGGIES? … During fermentation, live bacteria break down food components like sugar, making it easier for you to digest and absorb nutrients.
Fermentation can boost the nutritional value of food. It can produce a variety of B vitamins in foods that weren’t there before being fermented.
Fermented foods produce many active compounds that are essential to optimal health and allows for nutrients to be better absorbed and used by the body.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotic (beneficial) bacteria so by consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes, increasing the health of your gut microbiome, digestive system and enhancing your immune system. 70% of immune cells are housed in our gut! If the good bugs in the gut outnumber the bad
Scientists have found that when there is too little beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome, harmful microbes can cause problems such as leaky gut. Research shows a less diverse gut microbiota is associated with many chronic diseases, such as obesity, asthma and chronic inflammatory conditions.
Your gut and brain are also connected, through chemicals called neurotransmitters. Your gut microbes produce a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps control feelings of fear and anxiety. Decreased beneficial microbes can lead to anxiety and depression.
WHY SALT? … Salt pulls water out of the cabbage and vegetables to create a brine that the cabbage mixture is packed in. This briny environment is where the good bacteria (mainly lactobacillus) can grow and proliferate and the bad bacteria die off.
The success of your lacto-ferment depends on using the proper amount of salt for the quantity of vegetables you’re fermenting. This applies not just to the cabbage but to the other vegetables and seasonings you add, as well. The amount of salt used affects the rate at which fermentation happens, and determines the quality of the fermentation environment and types of microorganisms that will grow and thrive there.