As researchers continue to discover new evidence of the incredible link between our gut microbiome and our mental and physical health, it becomes apparent that not all fermented foods are created equal.
Happiness comes from within
To truly appreciate how significant the effect of fermented foods can be, we must first understand the gut-brain connection. Within the walls of the digestive system is a complex mesh of neurons called the enteric nervous system (ENS), often described as the ‘second brain’. As more research is done, our understanding improves regarding how the ENS is linked to digestion, mood, health and even the way we think.
To coincide with this these discoveries, one of the fastest-growing trends in Australian nutrition is fermented foods. It was not so long ago that Australia’s very first fermenting company, Peace, Love & Vegetables, started their journey; after rapid growth, this is now the biggest fermenting company in Australia. Adam and his wife Anya, the founders of Peace, Love & Vegetables, are passionate about bringing gut health awareness Australia-wide.
As education around gut health increases, we have witnessed exponential growth in the production of fermented products like kombucha, vegan coconut ice-cream with probiotic strains, and an array of companies making sauerkraut. We have come a long way from our iconic meat pies with tomato sauce and fizzy drinks!
Super strains, the next big breakthrough
As distinct from more commonly used probiotic strains, the super strain Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 is one of the most thoroughly studied microbes in the industry. With more than 35 years of research completed on DDS-1, its potency is clinically supported through randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. It has been proven to inhibit the growth of pathogens, greatly improve human gut health, strengthen immunity, and provide a myriad of other benefits.
Another super strain worth getting to know is Lactobacillus paracasei. In-depth research has shown this probiotic strain is beneficial for dental health, improves liver function, combats obesity, significantly inhibits colon cancer cell proliferation, and alleviates IBS, to name just a few of its effects.
Why some fermented foods are dangerous
Many fermented foods utilise a method called wild fermenting. This approach uses naturally occurring yeast, lactobacilli and moulds on fruit, vegetables and grains. The process can result in an uncontrolled production of microorganisms, some of which can be harmful to our health.
Fermented foods are also a major source of histamines, which can cause an inflammatory response in people who are sensitive to them. Up until recently, all fermented foods have contained histamines; however, awareness about them has prompted Peace, Love & Vegetables to make all their products histamine-free, by using only super-strain probiotics and specific fermentation methods.
The next evolution of probiotics
The technique called ‘inoculation’ is a very different process from wild fermentation. It involves a specific strain of microbes being added to the ferment, creating particular characteristics. After years of research and extensive experimentation, Peace, Love & Vegetables is set to launch a revolutionary probiotic beverage, the coconut-based Kefir 11. This will contain 11 of the most powerful super-strain probiotics known, and there is no other company in the world that is currently taking an equally innovative approach.
Considering 80% of the research on probiotics has been done in the last 10 years, the science of how individual microorganisms affect our body is largely in its infancy. So what is in store for the future of food? A fermented drink that could act as an antidepressant, weight loss aid, cognition enhancer, immune booster, is in itself an exciting prospect. But if the same product could also help balance hormones and improve the health of your skin, eyes, bones and teeth, it becomes apparent that happiness really can come from within. And it would seem that a huge leap forward in health is just a beverage away.
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