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 Fermented Food

 This traditional practice of India is amazing in all aspects especially in food culture.  The general rule in healthy food habits is that food should be cooked fresh; but, if food becomes excessive, maybe rice, then the cooked rice is soaked in water overnight for fermentation. This fermented rice is eaten the next day for breakfast with onions.  Look at the wisdom here. Fermentation of rice is different from fermentation of yogurt. In the latter, a starter culture of microbes are added and so only that bacteria grows more.

        Whereas, while fermenting left over rice, with the intention of not wasting food, no starter microbial culture is added. Hence, all varieties of bacteria grow; predominantly the ones that feed on rice nutrients secreting especially vitamin B12. This is the reason in traditional Indian vegetarians there was no deficiency of vitamin B12, because they ate fermented rice. Eating vitamin B12 rich food prevents anemia and fatigue and tiredness. People who require strenuous physical exercises benefit from the intake of Vitamin B12 and several other micro-nutrients by eating fermented rice. please Click here  to read.

         The wisdom of eating onions with fermented rice has another health benefit. Since fermented rice, unlike yogurt, has a plethora of microbes, their disease causing ability has to be curbed. This is taken care of by eating fermented rice with small red onions or red pearl onions which are rich in sulfur-containing anti-bacterial compounds. Fermenting rice is good wisdom of not wasting left over rice and at the same time enhancing its nutritional and health qualities.

        Each state of India has different types of fermented foods based on the grains that are available to them. The most popular is a steamed rice-bean food called "Idli". Rice and Black Urad gram (a type of black bean) is soaked and ground to a paste-like consistency and allowed to ferment. Due to microbial activity the batter rises; when this is steamed it forms a very soft, fluffy 'cake'. Idli is a very balanced food with the right amount of carbohydrates and  proteins, fat and other nutrients. It is the ideal food for all ages for both the healthy and sick. For more information on general fermentation.


Main advantage of Fermentation:

Reduction in anti-nutritional and toxic components in plant foods by fermentation was observed in a research which showed " Cereals, legumes, and tubers that are used for the production of fermented foods may contain significant amounts of antinutritional or toxic components such as phytates, tannins, cyanogenic glycosides, oxalates, saponins, lectins, and inhibitors of enzymes such as alpha-amylase, trypsin, and chymotrypsin. 

These substances reduce the nutritional value of foods by interfering with the mineral bioavailability and digestibility of proteins and carbohydrates. In natural or pure mixed-culture fermentations of plant foods by yeasts, molds, and bacteria, antinutritional components (e.g. phytate in whole wheat breads) can be reduced by up to 50%; toxic components, such as lectins in tempe and other fermented foods made from beans, can be reduced up to 95%. These reductions in antinutritional and toxic components in plant foods during fermentation are discussed.  please  Click here  to read the research article in detail.

Ancient cultures ate fermented grains and millets so that the intestines were kept healthy and so does the the body. We have seen that eating fermented rice increases the bacterial content and fiber like effect. Also during fermentation, bcateria will breakdown sugars into lactate or acetates so that body is spared of doign that work. This decreases the stress of organs of pancreas, liver and stomach. Olden days, rice, wheat and other grains were fermented and eaten and so had less diseases. Now we dont chew food properly and eat without digested the starch in the mouth (salivary amyalse digest starch in mouth) and so it is a starin for digestive system to do that work. Hiowever bacteria digests food and helps our system to have less stress. Eating fermented foods therefore prevents diabetes, cholesterol problems heart and kideny diseases. In North India, wheat dough was prepared and sovered in cotton cloth and allowed to ferment for many hours and chapathi was made. This is very good for the system. When we eat unfermented chappathy, rotti and tortioas, it becomes a strain for our system.

Traditional Indian fermented recipes

1. Fermented Milk products-ladakh

2. Assam Indian Fermented tribal foods.

3. Quality attributes of a novel cereal based probiotic product prepared by using food grade lactic acid bacteria

4. Process characteristics and nutritional evaluation of handia - A cereal based ethnic fermented food from Odisha

Indian Chilika curd – A potential dairy product for Geographical Indication registration 

A study on the fermentation pattern of common millets in Koozh preparation – a traditional South Indian food

To read how Gut bacteria can change our health.

Very simple difference between prebiotics and probiotics.

         We will now talk about organic foods.

Please click here to continue  reading

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