Probiotic Myths Busted

by in Health 05/04/2014

In our home, we love fermented foods and practice preparing them ourselves instead of buying them at the store. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and various pickled vegetables are some of our favorites.
Some think pickled vegetables are just junk food, but fermented foods can actuality help to improve your health and wellness. There’s a lot of misinformation about these probiotic foods, read on to learn the truth behind six common myths and misconceptions.

Myth #1 – Bacteria are bad for you

While it’s true that some bacteria are bad for your body and can cause illness, the majority of bacteria found in foods is beneficial for you. The fermentation process works to culture the good bacteria so that you get their benefits.

Probiotic fermented foods can improve your immune system, digestion, and reduce your risk of many diseases.

Myth #2 – Fermented foods are spoiled or rotten

Fermented foods are foods broken down by bacteria and yeast. However, they’re not so broken down that they’re rotten and unhealthy. Typically when you ferment a food you add salt which stops the process before it goes too far.

Myth #3 – You must have a starter to ferment all foods

There are some fermented products such as sourdough bread or kombucha that do require a starter. But for fermenting vegetables you don’t need anything special to get started.

Myth #4 – There’s only one way to ferment a specific food

Many people worry about getting the fermenting process just right. But there’s more than one way to ferment just about any food. You may have learned how to do it one way from a friend only to find a relative does it differently. In the end, there can be more than one method that works.

Myth #5 – Fermentation is just a food fad

Fermentation may seem popular these days and can be trendy – but it’s not a fad. This is a process that’s actually been used for thousands of years by people all over the world. It’s been used to create drinks, breads, dairy foods, and to preserve vegetables.

As we’re learning more and more about nutrition and food as medicine, fermentation has experienced popularity as a health choice.

And if you think about it, there are plenty of fermented foods that have been on the shelves in every supermarket for many years. This includes pickles, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. The idea of fermentation is nothing new.

Myth #6 – I can just take supplements instead of eating fermented foods

It’s true that you can purchase probiotic supplements that will help your body. But the best way to add probiotics or any other nutrient to your body is through food. Naturally occurring fermentation produces cultures of bacteria that your body can use more readily.

In the next few articles in this series, we’ll take a deeper look into some of my favorite probiotic foods: kimchi, yogurt and Kombucha tea.


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