Fermenting fruit and vegetables is one of the oldest ways to preserve food much longer, to make it tastier and sometimes more digestible. Useful microorganisms (bacteria, fungi or yeasts) that are naturally present in or added to food convert substances - in an oxygen-free environment - which causes the food to change. That sounds very exciting, but (sourdough) bread, beer, wine, cheese, yoghurt, etc. are everyday examples of this.
Kimchi, always popular in Korean cuisine and now increasingly with us, is a mix of fermented vegetables and cabbage packed with vitamins, enzymes and healthy bacteria. The vegetables (often cabbage and/or rettich) are first pickled with salt and then mixed with spices. Kimchi has a deliciously fresh and spicy taste. Sauerkraut is finely chopped cabbage, which is also fermented in salt. The result is a superfood packed with probiotics. Add to that the abundant vitamin C and iron and you have a great immunity booster. Both sauerkraut and kimchi are not difficult to make, all you need is a little patience.
Our gut contains around 100 trillion bacteria, most of which are useful, although some are harmful. As long as there is harmonious balance between the two, then you have healthy gut flora. Foods rich in probiotics, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, help strengthen the lining in your gut – boosting your immune system and helping prevent inflammation. Other examples of natural sources of probiotics include yoghurt, miso soup, kefir, kombucha and apple cider vinegar.