Fermented foods aid digestion, boosts immunity

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Rather than 'you are what you eat,' experts say 'you are what you digest' with fermented foods helping the process. (KABC)

Beyond yogurt, do you know where to find probiotics in your eats? Fermented food may be the answer.

Cafe Gratitude's Chef Dreux Ellis has loads of fermented foods on his menu. He likes them for both taste and health.

"This is our Reuben sandwich, which utilizes both the kimchee, which is fermented, and then the blackened tempeh," Ellis said.

Many health experts say, you are what you digest. So if your body can process food easily, you'll get the nutrients from them.

"We can put 50 grams of protein in our mouth, but if we don't have the right biology in our stomach, we're not going to be able to extract that protein and get that nutrition," said Ryland Engelhart, co-owner of Cafe Gratitude.

Think of your digestive tract as a huge parking lot filled with both good and bad bacteria. The more good bacteria is in that gut, the better you're going to boost immunity and aid digestion. The way to do that is through fermented foods.

Sauerkraut, kimchee, miso are all fermented foods from other countries. Here in the U.S., sourdough bread, yogurt, beer and wine are popular.

Tempeh is fermented soy beans processed in a brick-like fashion that you can try at home.

"If you want you can do it in a skillet, you can do it in an oven, you can add some spices as we did," Ellis said.

"I take garlic and put it in a crock pot for about a month, add a little water wrap it really tight and put it away," said Kevin Meehan, owner of Kali restaurant.

If you've got time and patience, you could make fermented black garlic. Meehan makes 40 pounds a week for things like his wheat berry risotto.

"I can puree it and make a paste out of it and use that for a pesto. You can dry it up and make a dust out of it. High in antioxidants, also it doesn't give you garlic breath," Meehan said.

He says that's a big bonus especially for first dates.
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