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Fermentation Benefits

Humans have been preserving food through fermentation for Thousands of years. Only now are the benefits of fermented food and drinks been researched.  We asked The Cultured Community what are the benefits of fermented food and beverages?

Harry the ,reformed wine blogger, is always quick on the draw and went right for that word “Complexity”, that holy grail of flavour and experience.

Wayne Johnson of New Brixton Brewery, commented on fermented product’s social associations,” I find the social benefits the most interesting. It is fascinating to see how people gather, rally around and even obsess about the production and consumption of fermented beverages. From sharing a bottle of wine with friends, to a loose association of individuals that inhabit a particular coffee shop, to multinational corporations, fermentation is woven into the fabric of society”. 

Paul Newman,  The Home Brewer’s Shop, observed that fermented recipes should be revived and that our current generations have all but forgotten the art. ” The benefits of fermented foods have been understood for a lot longer than we care to admit. Somehow we believed that we could not make a better product than we could buy. So successive generations have forgotten how to make more and more food’. 

So successive generations have forgotten how to make more and more food’. 

George Newman, The Home Brewer’s Shop.

George continued to argue that “Some of these products were very complex but at the same time simple but sound. By way of a quick example: A bread baking yeast cube made from yeast derived from potatoes and preserved against contamination by bacteria with wild hops! what brought this practice to a halt? The commercial production of yeast cake like Fleischmann’s etc. were so cheap and easy (so we put up with a little drop in quality) to use people stopped doing it the hard (right, better, healthier) way. I have a bunch of examples like this and heaps of food products that really deserve to be made in homes again”. 


Leah Van Deventer – Writer & Editor.

Tim Godfrey, after three decades of commercial brewing has retired to kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi fermenting and talks on Zen and the Art of Distilling.  “I’ve studied the importance of the gut biome quite a bit. Good book on the topic is David Perlmutter – Brain maker. The power of gut Microbes to heal and protect your brain for life. For a short free e-book on the subject head here

Fermented food rich in probiotics are purported to improve digestion, boost immunity, promote a healthy weight and more. Read about 7 Must Eat Fermented Foods For a Healthy Gut.

Lucy Shewell argues in her blog, Everything you always wanted to know about fermented foods  that  “the fermentation process enhances the nutritional quality of food by contributing beneficial compounds such as vitamins, and by increasing the bioavailability of minerals”.   

The fermentation process enhances the nutritional quality of food by contributing beneficial compounds such as vitamins, and by increasing the bioavailability of minerals”.  

Lucy Shewell – 
 research scientist in the field of bacterial pathogenesis

Alison Webster (PHD) argues in her article Microbial Misconceptions: Fermented Foods that it is important to understand that not all fermented products will live cultures. Food like freshly made kimchi and most fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir can contain live cultures. 

 “However, by the time the final products like beer, wine, vinegar, sauerkraut, cured meats and sourdough bread reach store shelves, the bacteria have been killed or inactivated through processes like pasteurization, baking, or filtering” 

The World Health Organization classifies a probiotic as, “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”

Gut health and understanding benefits of fermented foods could be the next evolutionary step to unlock more human potential. 

Carl Nienaber, Drifter Brewing Company, is not bothered with the purported benefits but rather enjoys the curation of the transformation process. 

Lucy Corne, Travel and Beer Writer, said that she cured a stomach aliment by consuming kimchi while living in South Korea. However noted that…

With anything that has not been comprehensively studied or understood there will always be speculation of benefits and risks. I asked the The Culture Community that I had heard via source that doctors are warning patients of fermented products like kombucha and kimchi  due potential risks of gastric cancer. Are these doctors trying to push commission based modern pharmaceuticals or is there really a study into this?

 Carel van Heerden, found one study into this which you can read here . The report backs up Lucy’s recollection and suggests that potential 50% higher risk of gastric cancer associated with intake of pickled vegetables/foods with  estimated new annual cases, approximately half occur in Eastern Asia. It appears like everything in life that moderation and balance is key. 

It seems this topic will continue as more studies are commissioned into the benefits and risks of fermented foods and beverages. One week is just not enough time.

To be continued… 

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