Yes, eating raw fruit and veg is good, but fermented foods are reported to have almost life transforming properties. As a raw Food lover myself, fermented cabbage conjures up images of nasty un-appetising overcooked stews. Some examples of fermented products are kefir, miso, tempeh and sauerkraut.

The process itself involves leaving the vegetables of your choice in salt water with herbs and spices for many months. Salt! Fermentation is not to be confused with pickling, which preserves food in vinegar. Fermentation is all about the good bacteria, and pickling kills all the bacteria.

The magic of fermentation is apparently due to the good bacteria breaking down the carbohydrates into more easily digestible food, unlocking extra nutrients (including Omega 3), and producing enzymes that mean we absorb more of the good stuff. This means - according to the growing number of fermentation enthusiasts - that eating fermented vegetables leads to the following health benefits:

  • Better immune system
  • Happier gut - including help for IBS and reflux
  • Reduced food cravings
  • Healthier weight
  • Reducedcandida growth
  • Better sleep
  • Vitality and glowing skin

If fermented foods are so wonderful, why aren't more people eating them?

Well, they have a tendency to be a bit smelly, and they are definitely an acquired taste...and they are supposed to be eaten several times a day to lead to all the marvellous health benefits.

Fermented products in supermarkets are sparse. Some labels reveal items such as acidity regulators and E numbers. Thenatural process of letting the friendly bacteria do their own thing doesn't lend itself well to mass production.

Fermenting your own veg involves having jars hanging around the home for months under carefully monitored temperature control.

Patience is essential, as is the ability to cope with disappointment if the little bacteria guys don't get it quite right.

it's interesting though that this method of preserving food, being friends with the bacteria, has been used by humans for thousands of years. As we are evolved creatures, it does kind of make sense that our bodies might expect fermented food in addition to fresh produce. Maybe the way back to how we used to eat is the way forward.