The buzz around “fermented food” with regards to weight loss has gained popularity just recently, but we Indians have been using fermented food since ancient times to boost overall health, but who knew including fermented food impacts weight loss by a great deal. Fermentation is a process that has been used across cultures to preserve food and also to make it flavourful. However, over the last few years, processed food with toxic ingredients have slowly replaced fermented food and the side effects on overall health is there for everyone to see. Have you noticed how we eat more of bread and jam instead of traditional fermented breakfasts because the former is just so convenient to make and eat. Since our focus is on weight loss, we would like to mention outrightly that lack of fermented food in the daily diet can make you gain weight. Fermented food supplies healthy probiotic bacteria that creates a robust digestive system and a healthy gut is the secret behind fat burning. In populations that have replaced fermented food with highly processed foods have seen an unprecedented rise in obesity. So, we decided that, through this post, we tell you how fermented Indian food can help with weight loss.
What is Fermented Food?
Fermentation is a process through which carbohydrates in the food is converted into alcohol and acid form by live bacteria and yeast cultures. Fermented foods are loaded with probiotics, trigger the release of digestive enzymes, and also have amino acids and vitamins that nourish the body. Fermented foods improve digestion and also strengthen the immune system. People often do not pay much importance to the digestive system – assuming it’s only role is to digest food and provide energy, but studies have revealed that your gut runs a majority of functions, from absorbing nutrients through the food, improving immunity to fight infections, prevent weight gain, and even combat depression. When there’s an imbalance in the gut flora, it impacts every aspect of a person’s health, and prebiotics and probiotics are two ways to rectify the imbalance in gut flora. So, you better start thinking about ways to keep your gut healthy, and fermented food is a natural way to get prebiotics and probiotics into the system to make the gut happy.
What Does the Process of Fermentation Produce:
1. Live bacteria and yeast, great for the gut microflora.
2. High amount of probiotics.
3. Lactic acid.
4. Digestive enzymes.
5. Amino acids
What’s The Connection Between Fermented Food and Weight Loss?
1. As we have mentioned previously too, fermented food on a regular basis is extremely important to maintain gut health, especially since it is considered as the “second brain” of the body. When the gut health is strong, it not only keeps physical health in robust condition, it takes down stress level, improves mood, and cuts down the risk of depression. There are around 100 million neurons in our gut and they are directly connected to the brain. Therefore, maintaining a healthy gut is of supreme importance if one wants to lose weight, especially cut down belly fat, because when the gut flora is not healthy, it can cause hormonal imbalances, increase stress levels, and raise inflammation in the body – and all of these factors lead to weight gain and obesity. Now, here’s where fermented food show their might – fermented food with their active yeast and bacterial culture, high nutritive content, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, etc., can reduce inflammation, improve digestion, supply probiotics, leads to better absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream, and above all clear out unhealthy microorganisms from the gut. Also, the body tends to extract more calories from the food consumed, leading to weight gain, if there is an increase in the population of bad bacteria in the gut due to low population of healthy gut bacteria and flora. Eating fermented food can not only boost weight loss, it can set straight a whole lot of health problems – from stress, to constipation, to even depression.
2. Fat burning takes place only when the gut is healthy and prebiotics and probiotics run the show to keep gut happy, and that’s where fermented food comes as a major facilitator. Fermented food supply healthy bacteria, prebiotics, probiotics, clears up toxins, boosts better absorption and supply of nutrients into the bloodstream. A healthy gut is also the secret behind alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression. With their high fiber content, fermented food assists weight loss. Lack of fiber can lead to weight gain. Fermented food also supplies vitamins especially B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, and lactic acid – all beneficial for the weight loss process.
3. Most importantly, fermented food helps to reduce inflammation and chronic inflammation can trigger fat storage and stall the whole weight loss process.
4. Probiotics from fermented food clear out unhealthy gut bacteria and brings back the balance of gut flora, making it appropriate for losing weight.
5. Fermentation of food eliminates anti-nutrients like phytic acid which prevent the body from absorbing nutrients.
List of Fermented Food that Boost Weight Loss:
1. Yogurt/Dahi: It’s the most popular fermented food in India, made from milk, that has Lactobacillus culture.
2. Dosa: Dosa batter is prepared by fermenting rice and dal and the major player here is Lactobacillales or lactic acid bacteria.
3. Idli: Just like dosa, idli batter is prepared through the same fermentation process by Lactobacillales or lactic acid bacteria.
4. Tofu: Rati Beauty diet programs make extensive use of tofu in their diet because it is rich in protein and is achieved by fermenting soybeans.
5. Akhuni: It’s a famous dish in Northeast India, prepared by the fermentation of soybean.
6. Ambali: It’s a fermented dish that in its fermented state with ragi (finger millet) is a rich source of nutrients and also is a healthy gluten-free option.
7. Appam: It’s a traditional breakfast down south made from fermenting rice batter with yeast.
8. Pazhaiya Soru/Pazhaya Sadham/Pazham Kanji: All are fermented forms of rice and absolutely rich in nutrients.
9. Chana Dal Dhokla: Made from fermenting dal with yogurt, it’s a popular dish in Gujarat and tastes amazing just anytime of the day.
10. Cheese: How can we forget cheese, which though is not a traditional Indian food, it is quite popular now and used in a variety of dishes.
11. Pickles: Though pickles have a relatively high salt content, they can add a huge amount of flavour, richness, and above all probiotics to your daily diet.
The other non-Indian fermented food sources are lacto-fermented cauliflower, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Kefir, Sourdough bread, etc.
Oops, we almost forgot to tell you guys to consume fermented food in moderation because it might cause bloating and histamine intolerance in some people. Also, make your own fermented food rather than buying it from the store because the bottle and canned versions go through the pasteurization process, and there’s hardly any beneficial culture in there.