How To Incorporate Fermented Foods Into Your Diet

Fermentation has experienced a great renaissance in recent years. A renaissance because it is in fact an ancient technique of how our ancestors processed the surplus from hunting and later harvests. There were not many natural options: refrigeration, drying or heat treatment. But these methods were not always suitable for all kinds of raw materials. And so another food preservation technique was born – fermentation. But what is fermentation? It is the chemical process of converting natural substances with the help of microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) and their enzymes into simpler substances that are easier for human digestion.

Why go into fermentation?
Similar to soaking, sprouting or heat treatment, fermentation converts more complex nutritional substances into simpler ones. This saves some of the work for our digestive system. With the help of enzymes, polysaccharides are broken down into sugars and proteins into directly usable amino acids (e.g. in sourdough bread, part of the gluten from the flour is broken down into amino acids). Foods prepared in this way also have a higher content of enzymes and vitamins (B and C). Fermentation also reduces the content of anti-nutrients naturally occurring in plant foods (e.g. phytic or oxalic acid). Human digestion is then better able to utilise minerals such as calcium.

Through enzymatic processes, polysaccharides are converted into simple sugars and become leaner. The sugars are transformed into acids and cause a range of pleasant sour tastes. And the action of yeast also produces carbon dioxide, which is behind the effervescence of drinks and the fluffiness of sourdough bread. In fermented soy sauces or miso, in turn, it increases the amount of natural glutamate salts, which are related to the delicate umami taste. The latter can also bring out all four other flavours – salty, sweet, sour and bitter.


Certain species of lactobacilli are able to survive the very acidic environment in the stomach and then help to colonise and enrich the gut microbiome, thus strengthening our immunity. The more diverse the population of our microbiome, the army of “good” bacteria, the wider the spectrum of pathogenic organisms it can eliminate.


The long-term preservation of food was probably the reason people started fermenting in the first place. The raw material, thanks to salt and lactic acid bacteria, produces lactic acid, which lowers the pH and creates an environment inhospitable to pathogenic organisms. Their action would otherwise cause food to mold or rot. The growth of pathogens was also reduced by placing them in a cool cellar environment.

What food can be fermented?

Probably the most important food that undergoes fermentation is cabbage. Other foods suitable for fermentation include various types of preserved vegetables, e.g. cucumbers, flakes and seeds, sourdough bread, rice, garlic, dairy products (kefir, yoghurt, cheese), soya products (tempeh, miso, shoyu sauce), meat products such as salami, etc. Thanks to fermentation, we can also enjoy liquid delicious products such as beer or wine.


All these foods can be bought already fermented in supermarkets. However, the disadvantage of store-bought foods is that they are often subject to the pasteurisation process. To guarantee healthy fermentation while preserving all the nutrients, we therefore recommend fermenting your food at home. How to do it? We will be happy to advise you!


Fermenting food is easy to do from the comfort of your own home, and anyone can do it. However, for successful home fermentation it is important to follow a precise procedure to ensure that the food lasts a long time and is of the best possible quality.


And if you don’t know how to use fermented foods, you can try my recipe for Brussels sprouts with kimchi mayo!

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