By Nina Kingsford-Smith from Healthy Happenings
Just like the team at Fermentanicals, I believe in harnessing as many nutrients from food as possible. A key way to do this for ‘seeds’ (including actual seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes) is through fermenting, activating and sprouting. Firstly and foremost…what do these words mean?
Fermenting is when certain microorganisms, like bacteria, partially digest food before we even eat them. Some fermented foods are also an excellent source of probiotics, which are great for our digestive systems and general health.
Activating essentially means soaking in salted water, draining, and dehydrating at very low temperatures. This helps to ‘wake up’ the seeds so they begin sprouting.
Sprouting is a key part of the germination process and essentially refers to seeds that have started grow.
Fermenting, activating and sprouting change the structure of food by breaking down certain nutrient inhibitors and therefore allowing your body to more easily access the nutrients they contain. These inhibitors, including phytates and tannins, are naturally occurring chemicals in plant foods that protect them from predators like birds and insects. When ingested by humans, they bind to many of the nutrients in the food and stop the body from being able to fully access, digest, absorb and assimilate them. Nutrient inhibitors can also cause negative reactions in some people, including inflammation.
So what does this all mean? Fermented, activated and sprouted foods are essentially higher in bioavailable nutrients and have an endless list of health benefits. Some of these include
- Increased availability and absorption of various nutrients and vitamins including magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, B12 and more
- Increased protein availability and fibre content
- A happier digestive system as the foods are much easier to digest, meaning less occurrence of symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain
- A supported gut microbiome, allowing healthy bacteria to more easily flourish and thrive
- Greater access to antioxidants, meaning greater protection from free radicals which cause things like inflammation
- A supported immune system (fun fact – about 70% to 80% of your immune system is in your gut, so supporting gut health also means supporting immunity)
- Many more!
Want to know an added benefit of fermenting, activating and sprouting? The taste! If you’ve ever tasted an activated almond, for example, in comparison to an unactivated one…you’ll know what I’m talking about. The process of fermenting, activating and sprouting foods not only changes the nutritional profile, but also changes the taste. These foods gain a deliciously earthy flavour that’s incomparable to anything else out there…go on, I dare you to give it a go!
Nina is a nutrition student who’s passionate about food and the powerful role that it plays in health. We eat food each and every day, it’s tasty and it gives us energy…but there’s more to it than that. Food can greatly heal the body, but it can also greatly harm the body. Nina’s passion lies in teaching us all about it!
She’s experienced the powerful role that food plays in health – from changing her eating habits to dealing with her own health issues. These experiences have made her extremely passionate about the importance of nourishing our bodies, minds and lives with wholesome food, and she loves to share that passion with like-minded people. That’s why she began her blog, healthy happenings, which is filled with delicious recipes, nutrition blog posts, and more.