5 Pros and Cons of Fermentation

Fermentation is a process that has been used since time immemorial. In particular, fermentation for beverages has existed since the Neolithic period, and it has been documented in ancient Egypt.

Today, we eat quite a bit of fermented foods: aged cheese, beer, wine, sourdough bread, yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut – just to name a few. Fermentation is a process of preserving food and has been practiced by many cultures for many, many years. Fermenting food helps keep nutrients and prevents it from spoiling. Usually, food that has been fermented flavor that is strong and pungent. It is true that fermented food has some health benefits, but there are some disadvantages as well.

List of Pros of Fermentation

1. It restores proper bacteria balance in intestines.
Majority of probiotics are found in a group of lactic acid-producing bacteria, which can be found in fermented milk, yogurt and other fermented foods. Eating foods that contain lactic acid bacteria can improve the health of the intestinal tract, improve bioavailability of nutrients, reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance and decrease chances of allergy in those who are susceptible.

Fermented foods are also rich in enzymes and as such, can help with constipation. It also supplies good bacteria which is helpful in fighting off yeast infections as it balances out the bad bacteria and prevents overgrowth.

2. It improves heart health.
The consumption of dairy is associated with coronary heart disease risks. But milk that has been through the fermentation process may contain properties that are good for the heart. In February 2006, an article in Current Opinion in Lipidology found that fermented milk products have a decreasing effect – albeit mildly – on really high blood pressure or hypertension.

3. It improves the immune system.
The consumption of fermented foods restores proper bacteria balance in your intestines. As such, your intestines become less vulnerable plus your immune system also becomes stronger.

Kefir, a thick, acidic beverage resulting from the fermentation of milk with certain grains, is digested easily and colonizes intestines with microorganisms that help ensure a healthy immune system response. The beverage has been used to treat several diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer.

List of Cons of Fermentation

1. It increases the risk of developing gastric cancer.
An article published in Cancer Science in January 2011 looked into the effect of consuming fermented and non-fermented soy foods in developing gastric cancer. The study was a meta-analysis of reports and it showed that a high intake of fermented soy foods increased the risk of gastric cancer. The research also showed that a diet rich in non-fermented soy foods helps reduce the risk of gastric cancer.

2. It is vulnerable to contamination.
The fermentation process requires high man power as well as constant monitoring. It’s also a slow process compared to the chemical process.

In 2001, a botulism outbreak in a village in Alaska was traced to the consumption of fermented beaver tail and paw, which is a local delicacy. Another case of botulism outbreak handled by Orange County Health Care Company was caused by home-prepared fermented tofu.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.