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Flavourful & healthy: Fermented foods for a fitter you – Times of India

The growing fascination with fermented foods, one of the food trends of 2023, is not just about flavours and culinary experimentation; it’s about the incredible health benefits that come with consuming fermented items like yoghurt, buttermilk, kefir, kimchi, miso, kombucha, etc. The uptick in people’s curiosity about Asian cuisines has led to these products becoming commonplace in India, say experts.
‘Fermented foods improve digestive health significantly’
Fermented foods are known to be gut-friendly powerhouses, and incorporating them into your diet can significantly improve your digestive health. Nutritionist Seema Bagrecha shares, “Fermented foods like yoghurt and buttermilk have always been a part of our daily diet. South Indian food preparations too involve a lot of fermentation. Now, with consumers becoming more aware of global cuisines, items like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar have entered the mainstream Indian market. These products are rich in probiotics, which aid in digestion, produce essential nutrients, and also manage your weight. If you’re looking for a healthier gut, consuming these foods is a good option.”
‘Kombucha, kimchi in high demand now’
Rohan Mhatre, representative of an online retailer for fermented foods, says, “Items like Greek yoghurt, kombucha and kimchi are some of our hottest selling products. There’s also a demand for pickled vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, ginger or cauliflower. With a growing vegan population, there’s an inclination towards healthier foods too. There’s a newfound appetite for regional cuisines, wherein fermented foods is one of the most popular segments currently.”
Fermented food you can try:
1) Kefir:

Kefir is a cultured dairy product similar to yoghurt, but thinner in consistency and richer in probiotics. It contains a variety of beneficial bacteria strains that can promote gut health. Kefir can be enjoyed as a drink, added to smoothies, or used as a base for overnight oats or salad dressings.
2) Kimchi & pickles:


Kimchi, a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables. Pickles can offer a tangy, spicy, and crunchy addition to your meals. Incorporate them into your diet by using them as toppings for sandwiches, wraps, or as a flavourful side dish.
3) Kombucha:


Kombucha, a fermented tea, has gained immense popularity in recent years. This bubbly beverage is loaded with probiotics, antioxidants, and organic acids. Enjoy kombucha as a refreshing alternative to soda or as a base for creative mocktails.
4) Sauerkraut:


Sauerkraut, a staple in Eastern European cuisine, is a fermented cabbage dish that brings a crisp and tangy kick to your plate. Incorporate it into your diet by adding it as a flavourful topping to hot dogs, sandwiches, or as a zesty side dish.
5) Yoghurt:

greek yogurt_iStock-1142071496

Yoghurt is traditionally included in many cultures’ diets. You can try adding them to your morning smoothie, mixing them with fresh fruits for a healthy dessert, or using them as a base for salad dressings and dips.
6) Miso:

Miso soup_iStock-1243369064

This traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans, rice, or barley, offers a unique and savoury flavour. It can be used as a base for soups, marinades, or dressings.
Experts’ tips:
– If you’re new to fermented foods, introduce them to your diet gradually to allow your digestive system to adjust.
– Read labels when purchasing fermented products like kombucha and yoghurt, and check for live and active cultures to ensure you’re getting the full probiotic benefits.
– Make your own fermented foods at home. It’s a fun and cost-effective way to get fresh, live probiotics.

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