News Digest: Microbial Community in Fermented Foods

Understanding the science behind the health benefits of fermented foods

Fermentation is a popular food process in which microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria break down a food’s sugars. The reason people originally chose to ferment foods, by soaking them in salt solution, was to preserve them, but consumers now opt for fermented foods for their flavour and digestive health benefits.

With a long history in human nutrition and recently lauded as superfoods, fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria, and consuming them adds beneficial bacteria and enzymes to the body’s intestinal flora, supporting gut health, benefiting the microbiome and digestive system, and enhancing the immune system.

The main area of research into the health benefits of fermented foods is in their probiotic content. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed. The most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.