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Fermented Food Benefits: 9 Reasons To Add Them To Your Diet

07/17/2015 01:58 EDT | Updated 07/17/2015 01:59 EDT
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You may already be eating loads of fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi and soy products, and there's good reason you should continue doing so.

Fermented foods have been around for centuries and many cultures, from Asia to Africa, have been using this preservation technique to increase shelf life, flavour and texture of certain foods, says Shaistha Zaheeruddin, a registered dietitian and founder of Modest Nutrition in Milton, Ont.

According to research from Pondicherry University, today, fermented food accounts for about one-third of a human's diet globally. Commonly fermented foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, pickled vegetables, cured fish, sourdough, dosas and more.

"The most common fermentation practice is also known as lactic acid fermentation or lacto-fermentation, where a bacteria slowly decomposes organic substances and carbohydrates in foods to lactic acid," Zaheeruddin says. This is why foods tend to have a saltier or sour taste.

If you're buying fermented foods or making your own, there are a few things to be aware of. For storing, make sure your foods are refrigerated. "Probiotics are very sensitive to temperature, air, light and moisture. The shelf-life for refrigerated food products containing probiotics ranges from three to six weeks."

She also warns of products that may be mass produced or products that are overly salty.

Below, Zaheeruddin notes nine benefits of adding more fermented foods to your diet. Which ones do you love the most? Let us know in the comments below.

Health Benefits Of Fermented Foods