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Fermented Vegetables for Gut and Immune Health
20 July

Fermented Vegetables for Gut and Immune Health

Benefits of fermented vegetables

I love creating these newsletters. They make me go back to my books and re-reading the facts on which my belief system and my family’s health is based on. Why do we eat fermented vegetables? One reason is that we have to deal with 10 cabbages in the garden, another is that we like eating ferments and we know that they are great for our immune system. 

70% of our immune system is in our gut and an important part plays a healthy gut flora. This gut flora can be fragile and doesn’t respond well to our Western diet, but the biggest damage is the vast use of antibiotics. They can wipe out healthy bacterias in the gut in seconds and the reestablishing is very difficult and can take months.
My personal journey to avoid antibiotics has led me to herbal medicine. It all started with becoming a mother and having the need to help my children through diseases without consulting a GP. Cold, flu, runny noses, cough and fever are very common in childhood and need to be dealt with. 
So far I have had sick children a few times and we consulted a GP once, leaving the practice without a prescription! 
My homemade herbal remedies work a treat and my oldest loves to get pampered when he is sick. He especially likes a foot soak made with my Immune Boost tea (see here) before bedtime. My children are used to herbal teas from the age of 5 months and so it is easy to brew them up a tea which strengthens their immune system and relieves the symptoms of colds and the flu. 
Sometimes antibiotics cannot be avoided and so it is important to build up the healthy population of bacteria in the gut during and after the use of antibiotics.
The process of fermentation not only makes food more digestible and nutrients more available, it also adds beneficial bacterias to our digestive system. In the gut they break down food and play a vital part for our immune system.

The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine. 

Fermentation is a preservation method used by our forefathers without the use of freezers or canning machines. It is done through the process of lacto-fermentation. Starches and sugars in vegetables and fruit are converted into lactic acid by bacterias. These lactobacilli are present on the surface of all living things and are especially numerous on leaves of plants grown near the ground and on roots. The German Sauerkraut and the Korean Kimchi are well known examples of this technique.

Resources:
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
- Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz
- Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T. Gedgaudas
- Deep Nutrition - Why your genes need traditional food by Catherine Shanahan