Why fermentation?


Natalia Alvarez

Local grocery stores like Kroger, Walmart, and Publix carry fermented drinks, such as kombucha and kefir. These drinks target those who lack resources and time, but still want to include probiotics in their diet. Consumers may find that a different brand and flavor will have different levels of certain probiotics, reacting differently with an individual’s digestive bacteria.

Natalia Alvarez, Photographer

Most people cringe at the whiff of fermented foods, but these sour-scented substances serve as a natural and essential probiotic for optimal health.

Probiotics provide beneficial bacteria that promotes a balanced digestive system. By the increased digestive balance, our bodies more efficiently absorb nutrients. Fermented foods undergo a lacto-fermentation process, feeding on sugar and starch producing acids that aid digestive health.

Fermentation, an ancient preserving technique, dates back to 6000 B.C. in the Fertile Crescent, and proliferated in a number of civilizations. Most cultures adopted a variation of fermented foods, like kimchi, garri, togwa, and sauerkraut.

Natalia Alvarez

Fermented foods served as a heal-all medicine, as well as a way of preserving easily tarnished food. The lack of this ancient method due to modern preserving techniques and development of rapid transportation takes a toll on society’s collective health.

By consuming fermented foods, they not only maintain your health, but save your wallet. Increasing the intake of good bacteria maximizes the body’s nutrient intake, cutting down the need for costly supplements. Although supplements provide an alternative for lacking vitamins, fermented digestive bacteria provides a healthier and more natural alternative.

Unlike the expense of traditional health foods, fermented foods provide a simple and affordable DIY, such as kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut. With a couple of pennies and daily household items, shoppers can lead a healthier, happier life.

When dealing with digestive issues, finding the right fermented food may take patience.

“You have different populations of different bacteria in your gut. When those populations get out of balance, that’s when you go out and get a probiotic; different probiotics will affect each person differently,” Renee Lowe, owner of Herbal Intentions in Acworth, said.

The same concept applies when talking about fermented foods. The thought of liking these sour tasting foods may seem impossible, but they tend to quickly grow on consumers.

“You will find that certain fermented foods, much less certain brands, will have a different effect [on the body],” Lowe said.