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Dr. Corinne: From Kombucha to Kimchi—How Fermentation Can Help You Stay Healthy

Dr. Corinne Weaver : Aug 21, 2020

The break-down process provides foods with the enzymes required for digestion.

What is fermentation and why it may help you? Fermentation is the process of breaking down organic substances by introducing yeast or bacteria. When fermentation happens in your body, it's part of a metabolic process that produces chemical changes through the actions of enzymes. In biochemistry, fermentation is defined as the extraction of energy from carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen. (Image: Pixabay)

Microorganisms survive by using the carbohydrates you eat (sugar, glucose) for energy and fuel. This process breaks down sugar into acid and alcohol, making it more nutritious and preserving it to be stored for longer without spoiling. The break-down process provides foods with the enzymes required for digestion. Essentially, when a food is fermented, it's broken down—similarly to the way it would be in your gut—before anyone's even consumed it.

People have been fermenting foods, way before the benefits of the fermentation process were understood. Some common foods that use the fermentation process include sourdough bread, wine, cheese, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

There are three types of fermentation that people use to ferment their foods; let's take a look.

This type of fermentation happens when yeast strains and bacteria convert starches or sugars into lactic acid. Lactic acid bacteria are vital to producing and preserving inexpensive, wholesome foods, which has been extremely important for feeding impoverished cultures. The lactic acid fermentation method makes foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, yogurt, and sourdough bread.

Starches and sugars from grains and fruit ferment into sour-tasting vinegar and condiments to make things like apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, and kombucha. I drink 1-2 tbs of apple cider daily to help my gut.

Both play a role in healthy digestion, but they aren't quite the same thing. Probiotics are defined as the "good" (hence the "pro") bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract. In order to be called a probiotic, the food or supplement has to yield a health benefit to the person consuming it.

Fermented foods are not as regulated. They don't have to meet any standards and can contain both good and bad bacteria.

The bottom line is this: including fermented foods into your diet is NOT the same as taking a probiotic.

Have you ever taken a probiotic?

Your microbiome is like a rainforest, with multiple species of bacteria, yeasts, and enzymes living together. When you have a healthy balance of yeast and bacteria in your gut, fermented foods are fine to eat because they feed the majority of good bacteria and yeast.

Health benefits of probiotic-rich fermented foods can enhance the gut biome by improving digestion and boosting the immune system. Why? Because the fermentation process creates an environment that allows certain good bacteria to multiply quickly. This process produces enzymes and nutrients along with prebiotics, which feeds the probiotics that already exist in your gut (the good bacteria) and makes them stronger.

If you have an imbalanced gut, however, then the fermented foods you eat can feed the bad bacteria, create an overpopulation, and cause more problems.

Not only will fermented foods help your digestive tract, but they could improve your mental health too!

Your gut and brain have a close relationship, known in the medical field as the gut-brain axis. Ninety percent of our serotonin (the "happiness hormone") is produced in the gut. This is a widely-studied connection, and there is always research coming out about how the foods we eat can affect our mental health. If you live with mental issues like anxiety or depression, staying up to date with research in this field could improve your overall health and quality of life.

When choosing pickled, fermented veggies at the store, make sure that the jar or package says "raw and unpasteurized" or "lacto-fermented." That way, you know that the good bacteria are still alive and ready to populate your gut.

Kombucha is made from a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) mixed with sweetened tea. It's been around for over 2,000 years and is beloved for its B vitamins, probiotic bacteria, and tangy flavor.

Check out this easy recipe to keep the fermented goods flowing at home: 

Pickling and fermenting are sometimes confused with each other but are distinctly different. The pickling process preserves food in a brine (salt or salty water) or an acid (like vinegar).

The lacto-fermentation process preserves food with bacteria, without the use of milk! Here's a recipe to make your own lacto-fermented veggies: 

Stack these veggies in sandwiches, toss them in salads, chop them up and fold them into spreads and dips, or just munch on them as a snack!

Whip up some sauerkraut to have on hand when you want a salty-sour boost to your meal: 

Great on hotdogs, sandwiches, potatoes, and so much more! What's your favorite way to eat sauerkraut?

Miso is made from fermented soybeans and is packed with yummy salty flavor that can be used for much more than miso soup! Grab a tub next time you're at the store and try some of these recipes: 

Beet Kvass is a fermented beverage with many uses including cocktails, vinaigrettes, and even on its own. It's got an earthy flavor and a bit of fizziness: 

FODMAP: fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols – refers to foods that contain carbohydrates that are fermented more rapidly in the gut and can, therefore, cause more rapid gas production. If you suffer from issues like bloating or gas, eating foods that are high in FODMAP can make your symptoms worse.

If you have a gut issue, try and limit your intake of fermented foods until you restore a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut. Start with small amounts and cut back if you feel any discomfort. If you have any gut issues, you'd like to address, let me know! I love working one-on-one to help people live healthier lifestyles. My mission is to help you get healthier without needing more medications. If you or someone you know needs help, make sure you reach out because I am available for a telehealth call. Let's continue to share Hope in this world and get on our knees to pray to our Heavenly Father asking Him to strengthen us daily realizing it's impossible to live the Christian life without Him. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

God Bless!!!

Keep Breathing,
Dr. Corinne Weaver 



Info on Fermented Foods

Amy Myers MD

Mind Body Green


Fermented Foods on Low FODMAP: 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

FodMap Formula

IBS Free

IBS Food Triggers: 

News Medical


Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.

Dr. Weaver was named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds. 

Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention. 

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