Fermentation refers to the break down of starch and sugars in foods by bacteria and yeast. The utilization of fermentation to preserve and create specific forms of food is a time-honored staple of the human diet. The first evidence of fermentation was found in chemical analyses of recovered pottery from the village of Jiahu in Neolithic China, dating back to 7000-6600 BCE, showing residues from a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit, honey, and rice.
While the phenomena of fermentation was likely discovered by accident, wherein the natural processes of thermophilic lactic acid fermentation prolonged the viability of ruminant and camelid milk in North Africa, robust research into the health benefits of fermented foods and endogenous fermentation processes have taken hold in the field of human health and wellness.
Fermented foods are the byproduct of controlled enzymatic activity and microbial growth that transform natural food components. Household staples such as sourdough bread, yogurt, kefir, beer, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are all examples of fermented foods. Fermentation helps to increase the nutritional bioavailability of foods. For example, the fermentation of vegetables was found to increase antioxidant potential and vitamin uptake through the specific reduction of phytates and tannins in the raw substrate. Furthermore, the micronutrients found in grains, legumes, and seeds, are bound tightly to cellulose structures that prevent their absorption without proper preparation. As such, soaking grains is an exceptional form of improving bioavailability, particularly in an acidic base - thus mimicking fermentation. Soaking grains in lemon juice or apple cider wherein the minerals and amino acids found in grains are liberating for uptake. While exogenous fermentation can help to improve the bioavailability of certain foods, fermentation of specific types of fiber within the GI tract is of great import to human health, as well.
There are two main categories of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers dissolve in water, and act to slow down digestive processes to help you feel full. Soluble fibers include those found in foods such as broccoli, apple, and avocado. Soluble fibers are fermented by gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and support the healthy function of the gut barrier. Insoluble fibers, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water, and act as a cleansing agent to move food through the digestive tract. Insoluble fibers are generally not fermentable, but specific forms, such as hemicellulose, do ferment to confer positive benefits to the gut microbiota.
At Phyba, we always take a “food first” approach to nutritional wellness. While it’s wonderful to reach for supplements, we emphasize the power of increase the dietary variety of foods that are either “fermented or fermentable”. Consider consuming the following foods on a regular basis to help with overall fiber composition in the diet for better gut function, blood sugar stability, and energy levels…
- Beet Kvaas
- Coconut Kefir
- Chia Seed
In addition to food options, specific ingredients in Phyba’s supplement formulations are designed to harness the power of fermentation, such as the fermented Aloe Vera found in PhloraFuel™️ or the Inulin found in Super Browns™️. Our fermented aloe vera is a form of soluble fiber designed to promote the diversity and health of the gut microbiome, while minimizing the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the GI tract. Inulin is a form of prebiotic designed to improve blood sugar stability through fermentation in the large intestine. To purchase your first order, just click the links above.