Fermented foods and beverages have always had a place of prominence in our daily diets, but it is time to pack some of these delicacies to your young one’s lunchboxes. Not only do they add a necessary splash of colour to drab breakfasts, but they also come with extremely beneficial nutritional values. They could go with almost anything like soups, noodles, curries, smoothies and add a much-needed flavor to your child’s meal. While the little one is engaged by the scrumptious delicacies served for lunch, here’s some trivia on exactly how beneficial the inclusion of probiotic-rich fermented products in your child’s diet can be –
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Fermented Food
Fermented vegetables provide your child with the necessary vitamins and minerals
A serving of Tempeh ensures a wholesome diet rich with Vitamins B2, B3, B5 and B6 while yet another soy-based fermented dish Natto aids the digestion of vitamin K2. Another very important constituent of their daily diet should be pickles. Pickles are a goldmine of many essential minerals and helps counter Vitamin K deficiency. Just one spoon of pickle with your child’s lunch can provide a great array of minerals like Iron, Magnesium and Potassium. It is of utmost importance to include a serving of fermented vegetables and pickles in your child’s meal and owing to the tangy taste of the same there will never be any complaints at the dinner table. Nutrition with taste- an apparently impossible combo achieved with easy steps. Fermented vegetables should be a staple in your child’s diet to ensure a steady supply of the often overlooked micronutrients from their diet.
Fermented teas and yoghurt are extremely helpful for your child’s digestive system and heavy meals should be accompanied with a warm cuppa to reap maximum benefits. Afterall, every healthy meal is effectual only if digested to extricate all the necessary nutrients. Fermented teas are available in most markets and easy to make, so they provide a boost to your child’s digestive system. Acquiring newer varieties help change the monotony while these digestive beverages work their magic. Kombucha, especially has proved time and again a trusted drink to down after lunch or dinner. Fibrous foods like Natto also help digestion.
It has been reported that patients of lactose intolerance has often had significantly lesser trouble digesting fermented milk drinks like Kefir, offering them a healthy alternative to acquire beneficial proteins. Even the probiotics present in fermented yoghurt facilitate the digestion of lactose intolerant children. So, on one hand, they get their fill of necessary proteins and calcium, but do not undergo any tribulations due to their lactose intolerance. Homemade smoothies and shakes made with Kefir are colourful and also appealing to the tastebuds and you can always add sliced fruits to further enrich their nutritional values. These also pass of as great dessert options, without the fear or embarrasment of gassy stomachs after a hearty meal.
Gut health booster
The preponderance of probiotics in fermented foods helps in boosting your child’s gut-health by providing a host of good bacteria. It is extremely important to ensure the presence of gut-healthy varieties in your little one’s diet. Sauerkraut is a probiotic staple that has been on the rise for quite some time and it has proved very beneficial for the gut health. A healthy gut is indispensable for your child since it prevents other complications like obesity, irritability and other digestive disorders. Infact Miso, Sauerkraut and Kimchi can help greatly for this cause. The lactic acid produced during fermentation increases the healthy bacteria in the gut to rapidly increase in number. Even fermented yoghurts have gut-healthy varieties loaded with helpful probiotics and should be a part of your child’s meals.
Increases energy and fights obesity
An energetic child after all is one prepared for the curveballs life throws at him/her and it is every parent’s goal to ensure their kid consumes energy rich foods. An imbalance of microbes in the gut often causes obesity and lethargy. Fermented foods often act as great energy-boosters and help in increasing the overall productivity of children. Studies show gut microbes affect body weight and its variation through tome. Fermented foods help in maintaining a steady body weight while combating obesity. They also help in accessing excess fat to use it as a fuel, thus completing the cycle of healthy weight gain and fat loss.
The largest constituents of our immune system are actually located in our gut, also known as the gut flora. So gut-health is also a vital component to ensure smooth functioning of our immunity. Probiotics rich fermented foods help in boosting your child’s immunity and hence serve as a protection to several diseases that might affect us. Being the first line of attack against any incoming pathogens, it optimizes the body’s immune system. Infact a study has shown how rats which were given Kefir daily has shown a marked growth in CT antibodies than the ones bereft of this fermented drink. It is therefore necessary to repopulate the gut flora by feeding your child fermented foods rich in probiotics, so they have the necessary protection against various diseases.
Fermented foods help in boosting the bone density of the body, thus ensuring an increase in overall strength and optimal productivity of the body. Fermented yoghurt specifically is an excellent promoter of bone mineral density. Natto is rich in Vitamin K, a nutrient that plays an important role in calcium metabolism and hence leads to healthier bones. Various studies have shown Kefir to actually help patients of osteoporosis by boosting their bone mineral density, so it goes without saying that it should be great constituent of your child’s diet right away. If consumed from a young age, they will end up having sturdier bones and will run lesser risks of complications that occur at a later age. Presence of probiotics-rich food in a child’s daily meal helps their overall development when it comes to athletic prowess or flexibility.
Regulates bowel movements
Fermented foods aid regular bowel movements by producing a holistic development of the gut flora. By taking care of digestive issues, they facilitate easier defecation. Fermented beverage Kefir also helps alleviate effects of irritable bowel syndrome, many studies shows how fermented vegetables in general reduce symptoms of IBS prominently. A healthy gut leads to better bowel movements by preventing gas, diarrhea and other complications. Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles can greatly regenerate healthy bacteria for the large intestines, something that we might not get enough of from a diet barring fermented food products. Fiber-rich Natto also helps alleviate constipation by adding more bulk to the stool and ensures regularity. So more fermented foods in your child’s meal equates to healthier intestinal flora and hence regular and hassle-free bowel movements.
Fermented food products also provide your child with necessary proteins. For example Tempeh, a product made from soybeans has extremely high protein content. It is said it has almost as high a protein content as meat, hence providing a very healthy addition to vegetarian meals. Natto, another soy-based product has high protein content. Hence adding probiotics-rich fermented products to meals can aid the overall development of your child physically and mentally. These substitutes are not only healthy, but also delicious when added to the daily sandwich or pancakes. A little ingenuity with recipes goes a long way to incorporate these foods in your child’s diet.
Cardiovascular and Circulatory benefits
Cholesterol is a problem not limited to just adults but can affect children as well, leading to further serious complications. Fermented products like Sauerkraut aid circulation and reduce cholesterol levels. Probiotics-rich yoghurts also ensure healthier metabolic profiles by ensuring increased triglyceride levels and healthier blood pressure. Natto produces Nattokinase which helps prevent and dissolve blood clots. When insulin is held back for a long time in our body, it leads to high blood sugar and insulin resistance.
Studies show Kimchi to decrease insulin resistance which effectively combats any abnormality in blood sugar levels. A higher intake of Kimchi has also shown marked decrease in blood sugar and cholesterol in consumers. Miso also boosts cardiovascular health by regulating blood pressure. The consumption of Tempeh has caused a reduced risk to serious heart diseases. Kombucha reduces triglycerides and cholesterol, so fermented beverages too go a long way when it comes to cardiovascular benefits.
Fermented Kombucha is more than just a refreshing beverage as it has high anti-oxidant levels and act as a detoxifying agent. It can help prevent liver-toxicity and many studies have shown that it can lead to the death or blockage of cancer cells. Kimchi has antioxidants that can reduce the risk of serious health concerns like obesity and cancer. Certain plant compounds found in Tempeh also nullifies the effect of chemicals in our body that often lead to chronic diseases.
So add that pickle in the sandwich, because with fermented foods a little goes a long way!