In food processing, fermentation refers to the process of converting sugar to acids. This practice has been long used in many cultures, out of which lacto-fermentation is the most common.
What Is Lacto-Fermentation?
The term lacto refers to a specific species of bacteria called Lactobacillus. Strains of these bacteria are found on the surface of plant as well as in the gastrointestinal tracts in humans, the oral cavity, and vaginas.
These bacteria are named Lacobacillus due to the fact that they were first discovered in milk ferments. As mentioned in the very begging, they use sugar to convert it into lactic acid. This acid acts as natural preservatives, ably stopping the growth of detrimental bacteria. However, besides preserving foods, lacto-fermented foods provide other health benefits, too.
1. Improve Digestion And Enhance Nutrients Absorption
Eating fermented foods allows better absorption of the nutrients from the food you are eating. Fermented foods also improve digestion and heal the digestive tract, by supplying the gut with healthy and beneficial bacteria.
2. Boost Immunity
Did you know that healthy gut is the major preventative measure against illness? Therefore, the fact that adding more fermented foods to your daily diet helps boost immunity doesn’t come as surprise. The healthy bacteria in fermented foods keep immune cells in check and prevent autoimmune reactions like inflammation.
3. Improves Brain Function
There is a strong link between the brain and the digestive and immune system, just like with any other bodily process. For instance, you have probably noticed that you feel fuzzy each time you catch a cold or flu.
The reason for this connection is the vagus nerve, which carries information from the intestinal nervous system to the central nervous system. Keeping healthy amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut helps maintain a healthy relationship between these systems and thus prevent cognitive issues.
4. Contain Potent Antioxidants
Lacto-fermented foods are packed with potent antioxidants which attack free radicals associated to cancer development. They also combat inflammation and boost immunity. Consequently, eating fermented foods helps with inflammation-related conditions like eczema and arthritis.
5. Weight Loss
Given that lacto-fermented foods regulate various hormonal functions, they also regulate cravings and suppress your appetite. It has been scientifically shown that those who consume healthy probiotics on a regular basis are at lower risk for obesity.
Make Your Own Lacto-Fermented Onions
Making your own fermented onions is far superior to using store-bought ones, so that you know that they are free of artificial ingredients. It is worth mentioning that instead of table salt, you should use natural salt like Celtic sea salt, Himalayan salt, or kosher salt.
- 2 pounds of small onions, peeled
- 1 liter of pure water
- 5g salt of choice
- A handful of garlic cloves, peeled
- Spices: coriander, black pepper, chilli
- A couple of wide mouth glass jars with lids
- To prepare the brine, dissolve the salt in a liter of water
- Put the onions in the jars and then pour the brine over them, leaving about 2 inches spaces on the top
- Cover the jars
- Culture at room temperature and open the lid on a daily basis for the first two weeks. After that, open the lid every other day
- The fermentation process usually takes 1-2 months
As you can see, this process is extremely easy, economical, and healthy. Fermented foods can stored like this for months, providing cheap produce during the winter when fresh one is expensive as well as providing a wide plethora of health benefits.