How Lactic Acid In Fermented Foods Keeps The Body Happy
I don’t go a single day without eating lacto-fermented vegetables. They keep my immune system boosted (I get a cold less than once a year), give energy to think more clearly so I can kick butt in my business, keep my skin lovely, and keep my weight where it should be by reducing my appetite, sugar, and carb cravings.
The fermented foods I eat actually SAVE me time because I have more energy and focus all day long.
These foods are also the best resource I know of to heal the body after toxins, stress, and processed foods have wiped out the balance of beneficial bacteria inside our digestive tract.
Which, unfortunately, is almost everyone! So that’s why I’m sharing this quick overview of lacto-fermentation.
What is the best way to get probiotics?
The probiotics found in raw, fermented foods stock the body with healthy flora that serves as a protective lining in the gut and shields us against harmful pathogens — basically making it a real challenge for harmful bacteria to reproduce and cause illness. Our bodies’ immune systems necessitate “good bacteria”, or probiotics, which provide beneficial germs while crowding out the bad. It’s a pretty genius cycle that’s kept human health in check for millennia. In fact we can’t live (for very long) without this bacteria!
Store-bought probiotics vary greatly in quality — and often lose their potency as soon as they are packaged. Many tests have shown that probiotic supplements lose their strength by half by the time they reach your house. Unpasteurized fermented foods contain as much as 8x the number of probiotics as one bottle of probiotic supplements. Yup, even that bottle that costs $40 or $50 is nowhere near as potent!
So what is fermentation, scientifically speaking?
Though just a small part of the complex system of our nutritional needs, fermentation plays an essential role in keeping our bodies healthy and happy.
As you may remember from science class, fermentation is a process of producing energy in the absence of oxygen. During fermentation a chemical reaction in bacteria, yeasts and miscellaneous microorganisms break down and eradicate all sugars from a substance.
Bacteria in sauerkraut, for example, ferment when they eat up the sugars in an anaerobic environment. This is how the bacteria produce energy. The byproducts of this process are carbon dioxide (bacterial farts) and lactic acid (bacteria pee!) Ok, I know, I just made that really gross, but you’ll never forget it!
Here’s the coolest part.
Humans can ferment, too! And I don’t mean when you lift up your armpit after a long sweaty workout. Your muscle cells have the same contraptions that the bacteria have. When no oxygen is present, your muscle cells make energy using the process of fermentation. Guess what the byproducts are? Carbon dioxide and lactic acid! You know that sore feeling in your muscles after a workout? Yep, that’s lactic acid running amok.
6 Things You Didn’t Know About Lactic Acid
- Lactic acid is a natural antibiotic that kills off bad bacteria and helps end dysbiosis — an imbalance of probiotics.
- When you eat lactic acid, it does not make you sore.
- Lactic acid does not contain dairy. It is named after Lactic Acid Bacteria, which happen to thrive off of lactose (a sugar found in milk) and the carbohydrates in vegetables. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/largegut/ferment.html
- Lactic acid is what makes raw unpasteurized sauerkraut sour, not vinegar. The sour flavor from vinegar is a different kind of acid — acetic acid. In fact, probiotic-rich kraut contains no vinegar whatsoever.
- The sour flavor in yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, and sourdough bread is also from lactic acid.
- Lactic acid is the byproduct of fermentation. Many bacteria can do this when there is no oxygen present.
Where have fermented foods been all my life?
In ancient times, people were constantly exposed to beneficial bacteria because they didn’t live in a sterile environment. They actually consumed plenty of naturally occurring probiotics by eating fresh foods produced from good, nutrient dense soil.
While most everyone is familiar with the fermentation process used to create alcohol, fermentation is still a foreign craft to many Westerners. Fermenting foods for their health benefits has gone on for thousands of years, and plays an essential role in holistic healing and nutritional practice around the world. However, widespread pasteurization and the shift toward eating processed foods has created a giant void in our diet, health, and culture as a whole.
Danger In Your Grocery Store
In today’s world, the majority of food is processed, which not only means it has little-to-no nutritional value, but it’s actually dangerous. Much of the readily available produce we buy today has quite a large amount of pesticides.
Unless it is organic, meats contain antibiotics, giving you a daily low-dose, which kills off the good bacteria your body needs. By adding probiotic rich foods into your diet, you’ll see improved digestion, increased energy, and an all-around stronger immune system.
Have you heard about my webinar multi-series called “Say Hello to My Little Friends”? If you enjoyed this article, you need to check it out. Get the most in-depth, up to date information that will make your microbiome snappier and stronger.
Don’t miss this in-depth training if you are taking probiotics (or thinking about it)! Learn about it here.