Between cooked and raw (read: dead or alive), there's a unique form of food and drink where the digestive difficulties with raw foods (enzyme inhibitors, anti-nutrients, lectins) are trumped by the benefits (enzyme activity, vitamin content, life energy, qi ), while even amplifying them. This is fermented foods and drinks.
The adverse consequences of cooking are trumped when foods are fermented (enzyme destruction, vitamin activity degradation, oxidized fats, denatured proteins), while offering enhanced digestibility and assimilation.
Fermented food is in many ways is the complement of both cooked and raw foods.
We could well sayCULTURED instead of fermented. It's the same thing really, but the latter sounds nicer to our filtered Western ears.
There is significant scientific confirmation extolling value of fermented food for the promotion of health & well-being. In fact, we could classify them as 'medical foods.' Thus the introduction in this discussion about PROBIOTICS.
Probiotics = "antithesis" of antibiotics. healthful helpful bacteria necessary for a fully functional stomach and digestive processes
Probiotics have the ability to directly engage and defeat infectious microorganisms. There isclinical proof of probiotics' ability to specifically boost the immune system when its under attack.
Fermented food and probiotics help maintain healthy stomach flora (meaning, beneficial bacteria).
With the broad range of fermented foods let's focus on Asian traditional preparations, since there is already such a huge body of clinical research demonstrating their amazing health effects:
• Kimchi – a probiotic strain isolated from the fermented cabbage preparation kimchi known as Lactobacillus brevis is capable of degrading organophosphorus pesticides. Kimchi contains a probiotic strain known as Bacillus pumilus which is capable of degrading bisphenol A, a powerful endocrine disruptive chemical.
• Miso – a fermented soy food has been shown, when consumed regularly, to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by up to 54% and is capable of regressing colon cancer growth in the animal model.
• Natto – A fermented soybean extract that has been shown to suppress plaque buildup (as measured by the intima media thickness) in the arteries in an animal model. Natto is capable of contributing to nerve regeneration following sciatic nerve crush injury.
• Apple cider vinegar is included, and – in moderation – wine, coffee, chocolate and beer
"d5This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to illustrating the remarkable properties of fermented food.
Another important point to make about fermented food is that it generates an entirely novel set of nutrients and medically important phytocompounds, in addition to what is found in the starter culture ingredients themselves.
This is not unlike what happens when we consume a raw or cooked food, and the beneficial bacteria within our gut go to work to break down anti-nutrients, or secrete enzymes we ourselves are not capable of producing, or at least not in adequate quantities.
There is something known as the food metabolome. It is that set of small-molecule metabolites of foods – numbering over 3,500 – that are byproducts of our organism interacting with food to produce novel new byproducts. For example, flaxseed contains high levels of lignans, which once thrown into the fermentive crucible of our digestive process, are broken down into at least two important metabolic byproducts: enterlactone and enterodial – both which are phytoestrogens, and are largely responsible for flaxseed's tumor regressive actions in estrogen sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.
These two compounds only exist in between the human organism and the flaxseed organism, and would not exist without the "third organism," if you will, which is the vast populations of beneficial bacteria within our alimentary canal. So important are these microflora to our existence, that some scholars have suggested we reclassify ourselves as a "meta-organism," as we are a composite of a wide range of organisms – in fact, 10 times more numerous are these "other" organisms than our own cells. Indeed, as we discussed in a previous article, even our own mitochondria – the powerhouses of our cells – were once bacteria living outside of our bodies.
Ultimately, a return to fermented foods are a return to our own ground of being, and well-being. There are profound challenges that stand in our way, of course. The modern world nukes its food, yes, with literal nuclear waste. We microwave, we cook, we fry, we dehydrate, we spray our food into certain death. And now new research shows that even the very food starter bacteria normally found within healthy soil are being decimated by Monsanto's ROUNDUP herbicide glyphosate, which is destroying its microbial biodiversity and hence fertility. Certain regions of the world that have depended on these indispensable dairy-culturing organisms for countless generations now have none to be found."
REF.: Sayer Ji, GreenMedInfo.com, author of The Dark Side of Wheat
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