Bacteria Are Us–Part 2

After discovering the importance of microbes to our health and our very existence, we had to take a fresh look at the subject of fermenting vegetables. Gut flora is responsible for immunity and absorption of nutrients, and up to 90% of our immune defense is in our intestines.

Our ancestors used fermentation for preserving foods, long before canned goods appeared in the supermarket. The first thing I discovered is that canned sauerkraut is not the real thing. Food subjected to extreme heat in the canning process is dead and cannot possibly possess the attributes that are afforded by natural fermentation.

Our first exposure to real sauerkraut was by purchasing a refrigerated glass jar from a health food store. It had a crunchy fresh taste, but was almost as sour as the canned type. The only ingredients were cabbage, water and salt, so I assume the lactic acid created the tartness. It should be used unheated, to protect the beneficial bacteria and vitamin C. The big surprise was the cost—over $5.00 for a 25 oz. jar.

We were advised to start out with very small servings of real sauerkraut each day. The beneficial microbes in large amounts could possibly cause a die-off of pathogenic bacteria, virus and fungi, releasing toxins which could cause temporary tiredness, rashes or headaches. We had no problems with it and quickly got accustomed to the taste.

The role of beneficial microbes:

• Rid the body of toxins, including heavy metals
• Enable the gut to produce more serotonin than the brain, benefiting mood
• Improve bowel function
• Increase immunity to illnesses and environmental allergies
• Decrease plaque formation on teeth
• Improve appearance of hair and skin
• Restore the balance of the body if antibiotics must be used

If you would like to learn more about the importance of gut flora, here is an informative 25-minute video by Health Coach Summer Bock: Creating a Thriving Intestinal Ecology.

Also, here is an informative article by Dr. Joseph Mercola: How to Easily and Inexpensively Ferment your own Vegetables.

Part 3 will be about our first experiment with making sauerkraut.

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