Last year quinoa, kale and gluten-free fodder stole the limelight in the superfood stakes but 2015 is all about fermented foods, fact. Not just a nifty way to improve the shelf life of your food, fermenting what you eat first is unbelievably good for your gut as well. How? Because it preserves the natural levels of bacteria, vitamins and enzymes like sugar and starch in your food, cleverly converting them into probiotics that are crucial to keeping your tummy ticking over nicely.
The probiotic pledge
You need these pimped-up probiotics in your life! They help boost your stomach's bacteria-fighting ability, which improves your immunity and encourages your body to absorb the nutrients from the other foods you're eating. So if you're feeling guilty over that German Market Bratwurst, don't, because the dollop of Sauerkraut you had on top meant you were getting the most out of your meat!
Even the experts are on board.
Kim Pearson, nutritionist to the stars is all for fermentation."The natural probiotic bacteria they provide has beneficial effects on the digestive system because of their ability to attach to the gut wall and compete with any pathogenic (bad) bacteria," she says.
By re-balancing your bacteria in this way, you can also ward off IBS symptoms, increase your energy levels and improve any skin concerns you might have – spots, psoriasis, eczema – yes pickling stops pimples – you heard it hear first. It's why there are whispers of it becoming the 'new gluten-free' favourite.
How do you get your hands on the stuff?
In theory you can ferment anything and a good place to start is with veg, or kimchee, if you want to learn the lingo (it's why followers of a raw food diet are such big fans), but if you've not got time to spare in the kitchen, start in the supermarket. Sauerkraut and pickles are the perfect accompaniment to salads or burgers or make a beeline for Japanese cuisine where miso, Tempeh and Kombucha (fermented tea) all get the thumbs up. Kefir (a fermented milk drink), yoghurt, sourdough bread... even chocolate, coffee and beer have been fermented so you don't have to cut out your favourite foods. Result.
Is it a diet?
Not so much. You want to add fermented foods into your meals every day but start off small – it's about quality not quantity so try a serving of kimchee with your dinner or have a mug of kombucha tea with your brekkie. Going all out from the get-go could actually upset your stomach because the probiotics will trigger a stand off between good and bad bacteria so expect a little gas and bloating at first while you wait for your body to rebalance. As a guide, go for a quarter to half a cup of fermented food alongside breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Why you need to pick pickles over pills
The whole point of snacking on fermented food over popping a probiotic is the fact it contains almost triple the amount of bacteria your body needs in just one serving. Include it in every meal, and you get the gist. More bacteria, more benefits. Plus, it means you get to satisfy your inner chef and get creative in the kitchen. Our next prediction – fermented food cafes popping up in a town near you!
Find out more about the foodie trends for the year ahead below: