You should aim to consume fermented foods at least once a day to improve your gut health. In this post, I share 5 easy fermented foods you can make at home even on a budget.
Dairy-Free Fermented Foods You Can Make at Home
1. Sauerkraut or Kimchi
You can easily ferment any veggies at home. I have made sauerkraut, kimchi, carrots, a mixture of cauliflower and other veggies many many times.
Fermented Veggies with Masontops
In my post How to Make Fermented Vegetables the Easy Way, I show you the simplest easiest way to ferment any types of vegetables. You will also find a video where I compare making fermented veggies with Masontops with just using regular Mason jar lids.
Easy Fermented Kimchi Recipe
Watch this video to learn how I make this easy fermented kimchi recipe.
2. Coconut or Cashew Yogurt
Did you know you can make dairy-free yogurt using any milk you want? Add probiotic capsules to your milk and let it sit for 24 hours either in the dehydrator or in the Instant Pot. You need a temperature between 110-115F. If you use the Instant Pot, you don’t need to Yogurt Function. In my post The Best Cashew Yogurt You Can Make in the Instant Pot, I use my Instant Pot without a yogurt button.
3. Dairy-Free Milk Kefir
In this video, you will learn how I make coconut milk kefir using a probiotic as a starter or a coconut milk kefir as a starter.
4. Fermented Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding is delicious and nutritious! It is easy to make, convenient to grab and go and filling. If you haven’t heard of the benefits of chia seeds, read Chia Seeds Benefits: Are They Real? You will learn among other things that chia seeds pack more Omega-3 ounce for ounce than salmon. Watch this video to learn how you can make fermented chia seeds pudding using probiotic capsules or a coconut milk kefir starter.
I love kombucha! I used to make it all the time, but now I buy it from Costco. Just be careful which brand you choose. Some brands are not fermented long enough and contain a lot of sugar. If you would like to learn how to make your kombucha at home, try this recipe.
The Importance of Gut Health
Gut health has become somewhat of a buzzword in the health world. However, it’s for good reason. Your gut has been called your “second brain”. It affects everything from your mood to your weight and your immune function. Read 5 Ways You Can Restore Your Gut Health Naturally and Why It Matters to learn more.
How Fermented Foods Improve Your Gut Health
Traditional cultures make many fermented foods. Fermented foods help improve digestion and introduce good gut bacteria in your digestive tract. For example, in Africa, Millet is fermented for several days to make a porridge. Indian rice and lentils are fermented for at least 2 days. In the process of fermentation, microorganisms convert sugars into alcohol or acids. It also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics.
Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
Besides providing your body with probiotics, fermented foods are often more nutritious than their non-fermented counterparts. Let’s talk about their main benefits:
- Improve your digestion: It’s no coincidence that most traditional have fermented foods as an accompaniment to their meal.
- Boost your immune system: The vitamin C content of sauerkraut is higher than that of unfermented cabbage. Furthermore, probiotics have been shown to help treat and prevent colds.
- Improve your mental health: The probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Both are found in fermented foods.
- Reduce your risk of heart disease: Probiotic consumption improves blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
When you make your fermented foods at home, you control how long your ferment them and you can optimize the fermentation time to suit your taste and your health goals. The more you ferment your foods, the more probiotics they will contain. Just keep in mind that the taste will be stronger too.