There are a lot of myths around fermented foods like dosas, idlis, dhoklas on whether they are good or bad for you. A lot of people complain of bloating and flatulence, indigestion and acidity post eating fermented foods. I know south Indians whose staple diet used to be fermented foods or comprised mainly of fermented foods moving away from that diet and adopting something which is not even staple to their geography and their region where they live. That’s because there are a lot of myths that come along with these foods.
Fermented is Healthy
The dosa, the idli, the dhoklas, fermented foods are extremely healthy for you. If you suffer from indigestion, acidity, bloating and flatulence you can’t blame your food or your staple diet, you blame your weak digestive system and you work on strengthening your digestive system you don’t strengthen a system by taking away those foods and not making lifestyle changes. In grains and beans, phytic acid is what produces most of the bloating and the indigestion. During the fermentation process phytic acid gets broken down and that’s why you’re able to digest the food much easier without any gas or acidity. It’s a good idea to ferment and break down the phytic acid as well because phytic acid blocks the absorption of minerals from the food that you eat into your body into your blood. So basically when you have fermented food phytic acid is broken down which actually allows for the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals and the absorption of minerals and vitamins into your blood and then on onwards to your billions of cells that your made-up of.
Fermentation also produces lactobacilli which produces an array of vitamins especially of B vitamins, including the synthesis of vitamin b12, something that most people have a deficiency of . So right from vitamin B like folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thymidine, even vitamin K, vitamin b12 and certain antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic properties all this is produced by lactobacilli which happens during the fermentation process or when you eat fermented food.
Easy to Digest & Gut Health
Fermented food is already pre-digested by bacteria which means once it gets into your system it’s actually easy for you to digest it because it’s pre-digested. During the fermentation process there is a production of enzymes and lactic acid which actually helps with the breakdown and absorption of protein and amino acids.
Fermented food also protects the life of the food for a longer period of time and it also helps you develop your healthy gut bacteria in your intestines. Almost everyone has an incorrect ratio of good and bad bacteria which is why we have indigestion, bloating, acidity, flatulence, IBS, leaky gut syndrome, malnourishment because most of the minerals and vitamins from the food that we eat don’t get absorbed in our body. When you have the correct and the right ratio of good bacteria and bad bacteria you have proper assimilation of food, proper digestion, good bowel movement, good colon health and you get all of that again from fermented food.
How to Cook Fermented Food
Removing fermented foods from your diet thinking that it’s going to make you healthier is a mistake most of you make. There’s a healthy way to cook these fermented foods. Choosing the oils, choosing the quantity of oil, the amount of salt and of course how much you eat. If you’re eating six to eight to ten idlis at one time that’s a little too much for anyone; it’s bad for your GI levels and over consumption of anything that’s even good for you is a problem to the human body because the human body only uses what it needs for its energy and its bodily functions.
What goes into a dosa; for example there are black lentils also known as urad dal and rice and that’s ground with a little bit of fenugreek. Now just look at the beauty in the combination of these ingredients; rice and lentils together make a complete protein food, it has all 22 essential amino acids but yet most will label it as a carb and say that it is bad for me, I’m going to put on weight but it’s an essential amino acid. You have all the essential amino acids making it a complete protein that the body uses to actually help you build lean mass or lose body fat. The fenugreek has a warming impact on food, it also helps you digest better, it helps you break down phytic acid better and it helps with your blood sugar balance, which is the beauty of the combination of these ingredients in making a dosa. Idli again is fermented, dhoklas fermented, it has tremendous health value and it comes to your health and your nutrition.
So do not stray away from your staple foods. There is a good way to have it and a bad way. When you have all the roadside fermented foods which are covered with butter and oil and oil which is usually reused over and over again, those are the things that cause you to lose your health, those are the things that cause you to put on weight. You do your homemade dosa or your idlis or dhoklas or any fermented food. Stick to that. The problem is never with your staple foods. It is with your lifestyle so enjoy all of the fermented foods.