We are 1% DNA and 99% Bacteria: the Benefits of Fermentation

You may have read or heard the word ‘fermented’ a lot recently. Fermented or ‘live’ foods have received a lot of positive attention due to the beneficial effect they have on the digestive system. A healthy digestive system is essential for a healthy immune system, which makes sense considering 70% of our immune system can be found in the digestive tract. It’s no surprise then that recipes for homemade yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut are a hot topic here in Singapore, with workshops, articles, blogs and even some GP’s starting to tout them as beneficial to your health.

When it comes to the human microbiome, the fact is humans don’t ‘have’ good or bad bacteria in their bodies, we literally ARE bacteria. In a study conducted by Bonnie Bassler, Princeton University, humans are described as having anything from 1-10% DNA and 90-99% bacteria. (WOW!) With this information it is easy to understand why eating living, whole foods vs sugar and processed foods is good for your health.

Where did it all go wrong?

Highly processed, sugary and genetically modified foods not only starve the body of nutrients, they feed bad bacteria that in turn creates imbalances in the gut flora. Added to this, the systematic and repeat use of antibiotics and over-the-counter medication can leave the “door” open for trouble. We literally become host to a living, breathing organism that has been linked to chronic illnesses, inflammation, depression, anxiety, autoimmune diseases and even cancer.

The good news is that promoting good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract has been proven to reduce bloating and digestive issues, improves absorption of nutrients, decreases our sensitivity to allergens (food intolerance and even asthma), enhances memory, reduces the incidence of obesity, depression, anxiety and c disease which then helps us feel vibrant and alive.

So how do we correct it?

For optimum health the recommendation is 80:20 good bacteria to bad bacteria. Unfortunately, due to modern production methods, commercially made store bought ‘live’ foods such as yoghurt typically provide a very low level of probiotic support. On the other hand, home-made fermented foods can contain up-to ten times the amount of anything found in your supermarket and are surprisingly easy to make.

One of the loveliest aspects of this topic for me is that the method of fermentation has been practiced, particularly in the east, for hundreds of years. So we’re starting to see more of a return to a tried and tested tradition – home-made recipes, easily replicated in your own home, without the need for expensive ingredients, gadgets or even too much time.

For easy, step-by-step guides on how to make your own Kefir Sauerkraut and Sourdough visit our recipes page. Within these articles we’ve also included details of small local business that make them in case your strapped for time.

Happy fermentation!




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