This is a collection of questions people ask about probiotics and fermented food. If you have a question that is not answered here, please submit your question and I will be happy to answer as soon as I can.
What are probiotics?
They are lactic acid producing microorganisms living in a close and mutually beneficial relation with their host (you). Probiotic bacteria naturally reside both inside and outside of the body and are involved in countless body functions.
Which vegetables are best to ferment?
This is a matter of taste. Generally, organic vegetables contain fewer pesticides and more nutrients. Cabbage is used in many recipes because it is cheap, simple to ferment, goes well with many other vegetables, and often remains crunchy after fermentation. Many recipes use 50-80% green cabbage. Try adding red cabbage as it adds a wonderful color.
Other common vegetables are carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, coriander leaves, parsley, ginger root, beet root, chili peppers, and others. See the A-Z list of veggies to ferment.
A beginners recipe: cabbage, a few carrots, and salt. This is simple to prepare, yet very tasty.
Fermenting garlic and onions is great. An option is to ferment garlic, onion, or hot pepper in separate jars.
No much is needed to begin with. Use whatever tools already in your kitchen. However, some tools make the preparation work faster and easier, especially for bigger batches.
A few suggestions:
- A food processor to shred vegetables.
- Canning jars. Around 32 oz. jars, wide-mouthed are easier to pack the vegetables. Crock pots are great but more expensive.
- Fermenting jar lids are practical and inexpensive.
- A sauerkraut pounder (like a small baseball bat) helps to pack the vegetables in jars.
- Starter cultures simplify fermentation, create better tastes, help avoid problems, and produce more probiotic bacteria. Fermenting without a starter is also called wild fermentation.
Which fermented food contains highest amount of probiotics?
This is not easy to determine and may not be that important. Using a high-quality starter culture will most likely result in enough probiotic bacteria. Some batches can have trillions of bacteria in a few tablespoons. That’s more than a whole bottle of probiotic capsules!
Different bacteria species support the digestive tract in different ways. Therefore, it’s not just a question of how many, but also how many strains.
As an example, different kinds of bacteria and yeast are used to ferment the following foods:
Can I overdose on probiotics?
Overdosing is almost impossible. However, we are all unique individuals and can get “too much” in the sense of having a mild reaction like gas or bloating. In cases of candida, infections, and other conditions, the body can react to probiotics, for example:
- Skin rashes
- Cold or flu symptoms
In many cultures, people consume large quantities of fermented food from childhood without side effects. But if you’re new to probiotics, it’s wise to eating small amounts and slowly increase the dose.
I’ve got serious health problems, do I need to be cautious?
Yes, in some cases people should be careful and consult with their doctor! Check this post on side effects. According to some specialists, people who’s immune system is suppressed, sufferers of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, gut inflammations and other serious conditions should be cautious.
Which probiotic supplements is best?
For most people any high quality supplement is fine. Here are a few that I’ve reviewed.
I’m on antibiotics, which probiotic supplement should I take?
We are all different. However, below are two high-quality supplements known to support the gut when on antibiotics.
When and how should I take my probiotic supplement when on antibiotics?
Many specialists recommend 15 minutes before breakfast (or other meals), and 2-3 hours after taking antibiotics.
Start consuming probiotics as soon as possible to prepares the gut. Many recommend to continue with probiotics after completing the antibiotics.
Why do we need probiotics?
Probiotics are vital for life, without bacteria in the digestive system we cannot survive! Keeping the gut thriving is essential to stay healthy. A healthy digestive tract contains trillions of bacteria coexisting in a delicate balance.
Because of a poor diet, stress, medication, and other factors, the gut flora may get weakened or harmful microorganisms might multiply uncontrolled. Consuming fermented foods helps to keep the gut well-functioning.