Since ancient times, cultures around the world have implemented fermented foods into their diet. The art of making them has turned out many delicious foods and drinks like beer, wine, vinegar, wine, bread, pickles, and cultured milk.
Fermentation is caused when bacteria and enzymes form a natural conversion of carbohydrates into alcohol (for beer and wine), organic acids (for pickles and sauerkraut), and CO2 (in bread like sourdough).
These wonderful chemical reactions are caused by yeasts, molds, bacteria, and microorganism, but don’t let that scare you away! Fermented foods are incredibly healing not only for your gut but also for your skin!
• Greatly improve digestion
• Make vitamins and essential fatty acids more bioavailable
• Activate proteins and essential amino acids
• Repopulate and rebalance the gut flora
• Help clear the skin due to better digestion
• Contain high amounts of vitamins
• Block Anti-nutrients (such as the ones found in grains)
Eating more fermented foods greatly improves:
• Overall wellness
• Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and acne
• Candida overgrowth
• ADD and autism
• Allergies from food or from the environment
• Uncontrolled weight gain
• Uncontrolled weight loss
• Mood swings
So as you can see, incorporating fermented foods into your diet is really important! Introducing at least one of the fermented foods that I mention below will greatly improve your digestive stress this time of year.
Fermented Foods That Fight Acne
Sauerkraut is my favorite fermented food and I eat at least a tablespoon each day. It’s amazingly high in vitamin C (about 4 times higher than cabbage), kick-starts the immune system, and tastes quite savory, especially when there are caraway seeds thrown in the mix.
Sauerkraut is best (of course) when it’s unpasteurized and contains live cultures. So scrutinize those labels when buying sauerkraut at the store.
I like to put sauerkraut on my fresh salads, sandwiches, on homemade burgers, and anything else that needs that salty savory kick. Most of the time I just eat a forkful right out of the jar! My favorite brand at the moment is Bubbies.
Be sure to avoid heating up fermented foods as it can actually kill those precious beneficial bacteria.
Definitely boasts a high vitamin content, but did you know that kombucha is one of the best fermented foods that detox the body? What better food to introduce during the holidays!
Kombucha tea is rich in enzymes and bacterial acids that your body uses to detox, which lessens the load on your liver and pancreas. Kombucha also increases energy because it contains essential B vitamins.
I love the diversity of kombucha. You can flavor it however you like, some of my favorite flavors being ginger, rose, and pineapple. It can also be used in salad dressings, drizzled over steamed veggies, sipped from a fancy glass, and even hidden in your smoothies. Learn how to make homemade kombucha!
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is another one of my all-time favorites and actually quite similar in flavor to kombucha tea, though quite a bit more acidic and vinegary.
Apple cider vinegar is a fantastic natural antihistamine, diuretic, and nutritional supplement. It’s high in vitamins and has a great flavor that can be used in salad dressings, hummus, bone broths (to extract the minerals), soups and stews (to cut through the heaviness), and of course over steamed veggies.
One of the most therapeutic uses, of course, is to simply put a capful or two of apple cider vinegar into a glass of fresh spring water and drink it down first thing in the morning. This will cleanse and detox the body.
Apple cider vinegar is also a fantastic topical treatment for acne. Simply add it to your toner recipes or slightly diluted and dabbed onto blemishes before bed.
My favorite brand is this one because it’s raw and unpasteurized.
I think if you had to choose one out of these fermented foods that fight acne, apple cider vinegar would be it! You can even use it topically (diluted with water) as a super effective toner for the skin.
You can read more about the benefits of raw apple cider vinegar here.
This is really the only form of soy (aside from tempeh) that I incorporate into my diet from time to time. Since living in Japan, I have developed quite a fondness for the savory flavor and comfort I get from sipping miso soup. It also comes in soy-free versions like chickpea.
There are different versions of the traditional miso paste. The color will indicate the strength of flavor, saltiness, and age of the miso. The more it’s aged, the higher the enzymes and natural probiotics.
Light-colored miso pastes are sweeter and younger and are best suited for beginners due to their light flavor. These are usually labeled as white or yellow miso pastes.
Dark-colored miso is higher in vitamins and probiotics and is usually labeled as red miso paste. This is the best choice for high enzyme and beneficial bacteria content. You can also buy blended miso which is comprised of both light and dark miso pastes.
I love adding it to salad dressings, hummus, in homemade condiments, sauces, and of course as miso soup. You can get organic miso paste here.
The important thing to remember here is never to add the miso to boiling water as you will kill all of the beneficial bacteria.
Pickles are delicious! And the fermented kind is both delicious and healthful.
Cucumbers are most commonly used, but you can use any veggie for pickling like cauliflower, green beans, carrots, peppers, onions, garlic, radishes, fennel, zucchini…. The list goes on as far as your imagination can take it!
Most pickles found in the grocery store are not fermented so keep an eye out! They are simply in a brine of vinegar, not fermented. What you need is the lacto-fermented kind, and again, Bubbies comes to the rescue unless you make your own at home.
Fermented pickles taste great and are wonderful eaten as is, sliced onto burgers, made into relishes, and sprinkled on salads. They are high in vitamins and if all else fails, these are probably the easiest fermented food to incorporate into your diet.
Learn how to make pickles here.
Homemade Yogurt is soo delicious! And it doesn’t have to made from dairy. In fact, all plant-based milk like almond, hazelnut, coconut, and flaxseed milk can all be made into delicious ferments.
Homemade yogurt is high in probiotic beneficial bacteria and tastes tart and tangy making it perfect as a substitute for sour cream. It’s also fantastic in creamy salad dressings, dips, dolloped onto chili, and frozen into delicious yogurt pops. You can even use it as a mask to calm redness and acne.
The benefits of eating fermented, homemade yogurt are:
• Decreased bloating
• Relieves constipation and diarrhea
• Relieves stomach disorders
So there you have it! The top 6 fermented foods that will improve your health and clear your skin!
For fermented recipes, check out these articles:
Lacto-fermented berries – Oh Lardy!
Fermented Ketchup | Homemade Mommy
20 Kid-Friendly Fermented Foods | Homemade Mommy
Fermented Ginger Carrots Stupid Easy Paleo – Easy Paleo Recipes
Fermented Cranberry Sauce
Fermented Garlic, Y’all! – The Sprouting Seed
For more acne related articles look below:
The Oil Cleansing Method
What are the Best Oils for Your Skin Type?
Healthier Foods for Clearer Skin
Simple Oatmeal Face Mask for Oily Skin
What are some of your favorite fermented foods that fight acne?