Today we are here with 5 weird foods and their health benefits you will be surpried to know. Let’s start!
While most people think of bacteria as something that is bad for their health, there are beneficial varieties of bacteria that are essential to good health. Fermented foods use good bacteria to break down sugars, transforming the taste and texture. More importantly, good bacteria, also known as probiotics, has many health benefits.
Perhaps the most well-known of these benefits is that probiotics help aid digestion. However, it also helps your body produce vitamins, keeps bad bacteria under control, and supports your immune system. Because there is a link between gut health and mental health, some studies even suggest that probiotics can improve your mental health as well. You may already have included fermented foods in your diet without realizing it. However, if you’re looking for more ways to include probiotics in your diet, consider these fermented foods.
Yogurt and Kefir
Yogurt is a delicious and creamy fermented dairy product that can be found in nearly everyone’s refrigerator. However, you might not know about kefir, which is a fermented milk drink that tastes similar to a thin yogurt—and it actually contains even more probiotics than plain yogurt does. Both of these are excellent additions to your weekly grocery run.
Fermented dairy provides an easily digestible source of calcium and protein as well as vitamin B12, potassium, riboflavin, and phosphorus. To get the most benefit from yogurt and kefir, look for brands that have “live culture” on the label. Live cultures will give your gut the benefit of probiotics.
To many people, savory tempeh qualifies as a “weird food” because it is unfamiliar. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans that are pressed into a cake. It is very versatile and can be eaten raw, stir-fried, sautéed, or even put on the barbeque as part of a shishkabob. Savory, chewy tempeh is a great, high-protein option for vegans and vegetarians. Tempeh is rich in probiotics and has all of the health benefits of soy.
Made from finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented, sauerkraut is low in calories but very rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. Not only that, it’s a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants important to eye health. Be sure to purchase unpasteurized sauerkraut to get the most health benefits, since pasteurization kills the beneficial bacteria. Alternatively, you can make your own sauerkraut with a Fermentools kit or a similar kit.
If you’re not a fan of sauerkraut, you might like spicy kimchi. This Korean specialty is also made from fermented cabbage but is spiced with a generous amount of red pepper. Kimchi has all of the health benefits of sauerkraut with a spicy flavor. For such a flavorful ingredient, it’s very versatile. You can enjoy it with rice or eggs, in a stew, as a dipping sauce, or on it’s own.
Once considered an obscure, weird food, this fizzy fermented tea can now be found in nearly every grocery store. Kombucha combines the health benefits of fermented products with the health benefits of green or black tea, depending on the kombucha you choose. Because of that, it may be able to help boost metabolism, strengthen your immune system, improve your mood, lower blood sugar, and reduce inflammation. If you are addicted to soda or similar sweet drinks, switching to healthier, fizzy, delicious probiotic kombucha could be an easy and beneficial transition.
These foods may seem weird or unusual, but they taste great and are also good for you. Next time you go shopping, consider adding one of these weird but very healthy foods to your cart. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy them and how good they make you feel.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.