Benefits of a Fermented (Cultured) Food Diet

yogurtDid you know that including fermented (cultured) foods in your diet can have significant benefits for your health?

Fermented foods are staples in the traditional cuisines of Europe, throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, and in Asia, where the fermented tea kombucha is a common drink and fermented soy products such as soy sauce, shoyu, miso, tamari and tempeh are eaten every day.

These cultured foods all contain living microorganisms that enhance the food’s flavor, digestibility, and nutritional value, as well as acting as a preservative. Beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast or fungi chemically help to break down more complicated, difficult to digest nutrients like gluten, sugars, raw vegetables and legumes, to make them more digestible.

A Rich Source of Enzymes

Many fermented foods are also rich sources of enzymes that enhance digestive function. Fermented foods eaten in our culture include yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir (a beverage made from cow’s milk), olives, pickles, pickled raw vegetables, beer, wine, vinegar, sourdough bread, cheese, cottage cheese, crème fraiche and buttermilk. Nondairy cultured yogurts are available in health food stores like Whole Food including soy, coconut and almond based yogurts which are made with live probiotic cultures to assist in healthy digestion. Currently available brands include Wildwood Soy Yogurt, So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk and Almond Dream Almond Non–Dairy Yogurt.

However, when fermented foods are commercially processed so that they have a longer shelf life, the enzymes can be destroyed. For the enzyme-rich, homemade version, it’s best to shop in natural-food stores, which usually carry items such as freshly made sauerkraut, cured olives, and natural probiotic rich yogurts.

Benefits for Women’s Health

Using fermented foods in your diet have significant benefits for women’s health and the use of these cultured foods should be included in every woman’s diet. Based on medical research, they have been linked to a decreased risk of breast cancer, vaginal and urinary tract health, improved bowel function, better nutrient absorption and healthier immunity. The probiotics found in cultured foods like yogurt also assist in regulating and keeping estrogen levels in healthy balance in the intestinal tract after estrogen passes through and is metabolized by the liver. Probiotics contained in these in these foods also benefit the health of your children.

Breast Cancer

A recent study found that Polish women who traditionally ate real sauerkraut on a regular basis had a significant increase in the incidence of breast cancer when they moved to America and abandoned their traditional diets. Their relatives in Poland, who continued to frequently eat real sauerkraut, suffered no such increase, and continued to enjoy greater protection from breast cancer. In addition to the anti-cancer compounds, researchers found that extracts from real sauerkraut contained anti-estrogenic agents that were different from any they had seen before.

Vaginal and Urinary Tracts

Beneficial lactobacilli strains are actually essential for the health of the vagina and urinary tracts. These healthy bacteria strains normally keep this environment acidic so that harmful pathogens cannot survive. However, a number of factors can throw these systems out of balance. These include the use of antibiotics to treat infections, birth control pills and spermicidal jelly and foam. In addition, the overconsumption of alcohol or sugar and a high-fat diet can reduce the population of beneficial lactobacilli and predispose the body to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and fungi. Pathogenic organisms like candida may flourish in this environment.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Susan’s Healthy Diet and Nutrition for Women.

 For more information about the benefits of cultured foods for women’s health see Dr. Susan’s Healthy Diet and Nutrition for Women book available on Amazon

About the Author

Best selling author and national speaker Dr. Susan has sold over 2 million books on health & wellness. She has appeared on numerous national and regional radio and television shows and has been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She has Served on the clinical faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine and taught in their Division of Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Richards became an ordained Christian minister in 2009 and, within a year, she began doing hospital ministry in the ICU's, critical care and rehabilitation units in the San Francisco area community three times a week. Her ministry is based on the supernatural healing power of God and Jesus Christ and she has seen many miraculous healings of seriously ill patients. The ministry receives over 20,000 prayer requests for healing each week which are answered by their faithful and devoted prayer team. She is currently developing the first Medical and Health Ministry Training Program of Supernatural Healing in the United States. Her medical ministry is at