Sayer Ji
Founder of

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get two FREE E-Books

Our newsletter serves 250,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Easy Turmeric recipes + The Dark Side of Wheat

The Amazing Healing Properties of Fermented Foods

The Amazing Healing Properties of Fermented Foods

Between the hard and fast dichotomies of cooked and raw, dead and alive, is this beautiful thing called fermented...

A place where many of the digestive challenges associated with raw foods (e.g. enzyme inhibitors, anti-nutrients, lectins) are overcome in favor of not just preserving their benefits (e.g. enzyme activity, vitamin content, life energy), but amplifying them.

Also overcome are the adverse consequences of cooking, e.g. enzyme destruction, vitamin activity degradation, oxidized fats, denatured proteins, etc., while still benefiting from the enhanced digestibility and assimilation that certain cooking applications offer.  Fermented food is in many ways the complementary union of cooked and raw, as well as their transcendence – an image, not unlike the Tai Chi, comes to mind.

yin and yang

In fact, fermentation has almost heretical power in the realm of both medicine and nutrition, being quite capable of literally "raising the dead," as well, revitalizing and infusing with living and breathing energy a food ingredient that has been cooked into oblivion, or, a human whose body has been poisoned close to the point of death with antibiotics, or similarly biocidal drugs or chemicals.

There is no lack of scientific confirmation for the indisputable value of fermented food for the promotion of health and wellbeing. In fact, one could consider fermented foods like kimchi, natto, apple cider vinegar, and even – in moderation – wine, coffee, chocolate and beer, 'medical foods' of sorts.  At GreenMedInfo we have been indexing these functional applications in disease prevention and treatment straight from the research housed on National Library of Medicine, and have found over 140+ diseases that may be prevented or ameliorated by their use. [see: Fermented Food Health Benefits Research]

There are a broad range of fermented foods we could look at to illustrate their power to heal. After all, every single culture on the planet used (not a semantic coincidence:) culturing to sustain themselves.  But for this short article we will focus on Asian traditional preparations, since there is already such a huge body of clinical research demonstrating their amazing health effects: 

  • Kimchi – a probiotic strain isolated from the fermented cabbage preparation kimchi known as Lactobacillus Brevis is capable of degrading organophosphorus pesticides.   
  • Kimchi – a probiotic strain known as Bacillus pumilus found within this fermented food is capable of degrading bisphenol A, a powerful endocrine disruptive chemical.
  • Miso – a fermented soy food has been shown, when consumed regularly, to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by up to 54%.
  • Miso – capable of regressing colon cancer growth in the animal model.
  • Natto – A fermented soybean extract that has been shown to suppress plaque buildup (as measured by the intima-media thickness) in the arteries in an animal model.
  • Natto – capable of contributing to nerve regeneration following sciatic nerve crush injury.

This is, of course, only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to illustrating the remarkable properties of fermented food. We encourage our readers to take a look at our extensive database on the subject of the health benefits of fermented food.

Another important point to make about fermented food is that it generates an entirely novel set of nutrients and medically important phytocompounds, in addition to what is found in the starter culture ingredients themselves.  This is not unlike what happens when we consume a raw or cooked food, and the beneficial bacteria within our gut go to work to break down anti-nutrients, or secrete enzymes we ourselves are not capable of producing, or at least not in adequate quantities.  There is something known as the food metabolome. It is that set of small-molecule metabolites of foods – numbering over 3,500 – that are byproducts of our organism interacting with food to produce novel new byproducts.  For example, flaxseed contains high levels of lignans, which once thrown into the fermenting crucible of our digestive process, are broken down into at least two important metabolic byproducts: enterolactone and enterodiol – both which are phytoestrogens, and are largely responsible for flaxseed's tumor regressive actions in estrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.  These two compounds only exist in between the human organism and the flaxseed organism, and would not exist without the "third organism," if you will, which is the vast populations of beneficial bacteria within our alimentary canal.  So important are these microflora to our existence, that some scholars have suggested we reclassify ourselves as a "meta-organism," as we are a composite of a wide range of organisms – in fact, 10 times more numerous are these "other" organisms than our own cells. Indeed, as we discussed in a previous article, even our own mitochondria – the powerhouses of our cells – were once bacteria living outside of our bodies.

Ultimately, a return to fermented foods is a return to our own ground of being and well-being. There are profound challenges that stand in our way, of course. The modern world nukes its food, yes, with literal nuclear waste.  We microwave, we cook, we fry, we dehydrate, we spray our food into certain death. And now new research shows that even the very food starter bacteria normally found in healthy soil are being decimated by Monsanto's ROUNDUP herbicide glyphosate, which is destroying its microbial biodiversity and hence fertility. Certain regions of the world that have depended on these indispensable dairy-culturing organisms for countless generations now have none to be found.

So, we must hunker down. And work on cooperating locally to produce, and support the producers of, organically grown food. Sharing raw cultures.  Becoming intimately involved with the quality of the food we consume. And remembering that fermented food is one of the key, if not indispensable ingredients in attaining and maintaining optimal health. And furthermore, that one cannot separate out personal or human health from planetary health; they are, and always have been indivisible.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


Thanks for the article on fermented foods. I've attempted 3 times recently to make simple sauerkraut (cabbage and sea salt)and each time have ended up with an unappetizing mucilaginous slime in my otherwise good tasting & smelling kraut. Nobody wants to eat this. What am I doing wrong? And what is causing the slime?


Please buy only natural( real natural if you can understand what it is this)  produced cabbage , not from supermarkt .

Important it is also the amount of salt. Please use raw salt( ground black salt0 not refined salt even seesalt must be raw, not refined.

Third, cabbage fermentation must begin in the begining of the cold season, always under 10 Celsius, because fast fermentation will produce a lot of troubles. Then pe aware about a slow fermentation.

Another adeise , after 2-4 days from teh begining you must aerate the solution, that ,meeans that you must take the salted solution from the container and many times you will put back from some high position( as a cascade) .That you must do alsmot everyday the next 2-3 weeks. Than let it stay quiet. at the lowest temperature affoirdable but in any case under 10 Celsius.

You will vbe surprised.

About salt concentration: pleae use the egg method. Put as much salt in the water until de egg will float as en surfacing submarine ! Simple ! 

By thge way : in the cabbage pot( big one 50-70 liters ) you can add carrots and corn( natural not Monsato) and you will obtain a wonderfull cabbage and a divine juice.

I'm comming form a country where centuries fermented cabage was the winter best and wonderfull healthy meal and suplemet. 100 ml of cabageand altogether with  juice  ( fermented juice) contains 100-200 much more helathy vitamins and nutrients then the same amount og orange juice.

People out ther where healthy as a beer and more performants then any USA atlets today !

Please believe me it was so ! Now not anymore because they are eating as you do: junkfood and supermarkt bullshit. 


beste regards

Alex Semenciuc ( Europe)

The Amazing Healing Properties of Fermented Foods |

Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read through articles from other authors and use a little something from other websites.

Yay for Kimchi

This is fantastic news. I always knew Kimchi was beneficial to one's health. :D


Your comments are appreciate Sandor, and the link. All the best!

Fermented Foods

Thanks, Sayer, for your informative article. For people who are interested in getting more fermented foods in their lives, the following link might be useful: Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation, shows how it can be done easily at home with minimal equipment. We've been fermenting vegetables for some months now, and we love them. Surprisingly, they are quite good with eggs and bacon in the morning! Cheers, Rene' Hinds

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to write a comment

Key Research Topics

Sayer Ji
Founder of

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get two FREE E-Books

Our newsletter serves 250,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Easy Turmeric recipes + The Dark Side of Wheat

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2018, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.