Lactic Acid Bacteria in Fermented Food

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Fermented food, enjoyed across the globe, conveys health benefits through lactic acid fermentation. The fermentation process can transform the flavor of food from the plain and mundane to a mouth-puckering sourness enlivened by colonies of beneficial bacteria and enhanced micronutrients. While fermented food like yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir are well-known many other lesser-known foods also benefit from the lactic acid fermentation process. Indeed, virtually every food with a complex or simple sugar content can be successfully fermented. Born of both necessity and practicality, lactic acid fermentation proved to be not only an efficient method of preserving food for our ancestors, but also a critical one. Indeed, fermented food like sauerkraut, cheese, wine, kvass, soured grain porridge and breads often sustained tribes and villages during harsh winters when fresh food simply wasn’t available let alone plentiful. In many societies including our own where yogurt has been heralded as a health food since the 19th century, fermented food has gained a reputation for its beneficial effects on immunity, intestinal health and general well-being. Modern researchers are just beginning to understand what the sages of old were tuned in to: fermented food conveys clear and calculable health benefits to the human diet. Lactic acid fermentation in and of itself enhances the micronutrient profile of several foods. For example, milk that undergoes lactic acid fermentation either in the wild as in the case of clabbered milk or inoculated by a starter culture as in the case of yogurt, piima, matsoni and other fermented dairy products conveys more vitamins to the eater in comparison to raw milk and, particularly, pasteurized and ultra-high-temperature pasteurized milk. Fermented dairy products consistently reveal an increased level of folic acid which is critical to producing healthy babies as well as pyroxidine, B vitamins, riboflavin and biotin depending on the strains of...
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