A frequent health problem here in Mexico is recurrent infection of the intestines through amoebas or parasites. Natural Medicine supports the philosophy that it is the quality of the internal environment that determines if a person gets sick or can resist illness. The digestive system with the intestines needs particular attention in this regard, since about 80 % of our immune system is located there.
This article introduces you to fermented food, which provides simple, inexpensive and good tasting answers to increase immunity and improve overall health.
The healing power of raw fermented food has been known for centuries in many countries of the world.
In our culture it was the way to preserve food for the winter. Fermented foods (vegetables) and drinks (kefir, kombucha) are good tasting, rich in vitamins, trace elements, enzymes, minerals and most importantly active lactobacillus as well as other probiotics , the healthy bacteria of our intestines. These microbes are like miracle workers in harmonizing the intestinal flora. They can be remedial for numerous digestive and intestinal problems e.g. colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, colic, constipation, chronic diarrhea, food intolerances, chronic bladder or vaginal infections.
Today most people only know sauerkraut as fermented food and unfortunately if bought in super markets it does not contain the living cultures because of its pasteurization. Reduction of sugar cravings
Beside of many other health problems pathogenic microbes in the intestines often cause a strong desire for sweets and carbohydrates. When fermented vegetables are included in the diet they help to reduce unhealthy cravings over the time.
Phytonutrients are natural bio- active substances that only exist in plant based food, such as in fermented vegetables. They are anti oxidants, immune stimulants and mild blood thinners. These properties make them strong fighters against chronic illnesses in general, and especially in arthritis, cancer, diabetes and heart diseases.
Where to get fermented vegetables?
Here at Lakeside you can buy them at the Tuesday Farmer’s market. But you can make your own fermented vegetables. It is interesting and fun! The following recipe is just a short introduction how to make it. (For more detailed information please look up one of the many websites about this subject or go to YouTube: Fermenting vegetables i.g.with Sandor Katz, gives a good demonstration)
Cut or grind red/white cabbage, red beets, carrots, onions, garlic, celery etc. Then add salt and – optional – spices like cloves, junipers, black pepper, fennel or caraway seeds to the mixture.
Pack the vegetables very densely in a ceramic pot and cover it with cabbage leaves. Then put a plate plus a heavy weight on top to press the vegetables down and to let the liquid rise up, so that it covers the vegetables. Maybe you have to add some water. On top of the container, put a cotton cloth or a mosquito net to avoid dust and flies.
The concoction should be stored for 4 to 7 days in a place with temperature between 15 and 22 Celsius (the longer the vegetables ferment the more intense the taste).
During the fermentation process, bacteria beneficial to the human body develop, multiply and convert sugar and starch into lactic acid.
Watch daily the process and if necessary remove any particles of suspicious contamination. The vegetables themselves are protected, because of the sterile, anaerobic (oxygen free) environment. When it is finished, put the vegetables in a glass, close it with a lid and put it in the fridge.
Fermented vegetables can be combined with other dishes and, if properly stored, preserved for many months. Fermented foods are both potent chelators (detoxifiers) and contain far larger amounts of probiotics, compared to probiotic supplements, making them ideal for maintaining optimal gut flora and health.
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