During pregnancy, women are more likely to crave various unhealthy food items just to have their delicacies. However, it is also a phase to look for nutritious food sources in your prental diet, and among the list, the fermented food items have always remained in debate.
For some decades, scientists are working on the amazing benefits microbiome would provide to the digestive system. According to Harvard Health Publishing, fermented food has not only improved the immune system but has also helped in reducing the cholesterol levels for obtaining benefits like weight loss, improved mental outlook, fighting situations after depression, and sound sleep.
So, how can you help your microbiome be happy? The best way to keep the microbiome healthy and happy is by making changes in your diet. Some ingredients come with a good number of probiotics, which helps in the fertilization of the body as well as the good organisms inside you. But nearly 6 out of 10 people lack the required number of probiotics or fermented food in their diet.
So, today let’s learn the benefits of adding fermented food to your diet, especially during pregnancy.
Benefits of Adding Fermented Food in Prenatal Food
There are various benefits of introducing fermented food items into your prenatal diet that are rich in probiotics. The list includes:
- The fermented food items help in building a strong and healthy foundation for the internal ecosystem or say the gut.
- When the food is fermented, the total number of nutrients in the food increase. The microflora content in fermented food items works similarly to the enzymes and helps in retaining the nutrients. Hence, it becomes easy for the blood to deliver nutrients to the cells in the baby’s body for developing the body and brain.
- Fermented food items contain microflora in them, which helps in boosting digestion. It increases the bioavailability of every meal, which helps in improving the digestive system.
- Surprisingly, the microflora in fermented food items helps in reducing the damage that is caused due to sugar. It protects your body from the various damages that are caused due to sugar.
- Cravings are something difficult to deal with during pregnancy. And fermented food helps in controlling the cravings of carbohydrates to a great extent. The food also adds some sour taste to the meals due to which women crave naturally.
- The microflora in fermented food items is amazing detoxifiers. They work on the unwanted toxins and parasites in the body and help in restoring the balance of acids or alkaline in the intestines.
- Lastly, the fermented food helps the babies in digesting the mother’s milk easily. No doubt, the mother’s milk is the best food for babies, but a baby needs a healthy digestive system for digesting the milk which is obtained through the fermented food.
No matter, fermented food makes small changes in your body, but they are quite essential for a healthy pregnancy, and hence should be added to your prenatal diet.
How Fermented Foods Increase Pregnancy Health?
Admit it; fermented food is not warmly welcomed in the modern diet. However, through ingredients like kefir and yogurt, one adds a good portion of fermented food unknowingly. Fermentation is one of the best ways of preserving particular foods as well as providing the body with various health benefits. Fermented food is quite essential not only for the women who are pregnant but also for the women who are looking forward to conceiving. Here is why you need to add fermented foods to your diet.
The process of fermentation is quite interesting as it is quite similar to the process of cooking food. The only thing different is the results. While cooking food, you not only release some of the essential nutrients from the ingredients but also lose the essential enzymes which are quite important and flimsy too.
On the other hand, the process of fermentation eliminates the harmful bacteria in the ingredients or food, which can last long as they are preserved properly while cooking. But wait a minute, the enzymes wouldn’t go anywhere while cooking fermented food. The enzymes help the body in absorbing the essential nutrients and also boost the digestive system and make it regular.
During pregnancy, the fermented food would help in the digestion of various processed foods easily. In this way, through enzymes, you and your baby can have more nutrition. Check our recommended post to know everything about fulfilling other nutritional needs during pregnancy: What Do You Want to Know About Your Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy?
The fermentation process is widely started by including particular healthy bacteria in the food. The bacteria, when added to the food, complete the process of fermentation and aid at the time of digesting the food inside the gut. The healthy bacteria are helpful in balancing the ecosystem in the stomach for quick and easy processing of food as well as for a regular digestive system too.
Today, many companies are recognizing the benefits of adding probiotics in the food, especially yogurt, without any artificial flavors or sugar. Hence, instead of looking for fermented food or even good bacteria from the yogurts that are produced commercially, going for raw ingredients and unflavored yogurt is a good option.
How does the Gut Microbiome develop with Babies?
Before the birth of the baby, the gut microbiome of the baby is quite simple. According to research, the development of the microbiome of the fetus prior to birth contains healthy bacteria in the form of amniotic fluid. But it is not, particularly in the gut.
During the delivery time or after delivery, the gut of the baby gets filled with strains of bacteria. While coming out from the birth canal, the baby ingests the bacteria from the strains of the vagina of the mother through the skin and also through breastfeeding.
The breast milk is quite helpful in strengthening the maturation and colonization of the bacteria, which is already in the gut. Along with this, the milk also adds various bacteria to the gut. The lactating mothers who are in the pursuit of producing milk should also make sure that their gut is healthy at the time of pregnancy and post-delivery.
An effective way of adding probiotics to your diet is by drinking kefir. Adding merely 1 tbsp kefir to the diet of your babies would help them gain around 50 billion organisms of probiotic.
Foods to add to your prenatal diet
One of the common ingredients that come to your mind for gaining probiotics must be yogurt. However, there are many more on the list. For adding fermented food or probiotics to your diet, here are some ingredients you need to look for.
Kefir is a popular fermented and cultured beverage, the taste of which is quite similar to the drink of yogurt. The beverage is made with the help of starter grains, which is also similar to the sourdough bread in the form of a starter. Kefir can be made by combining it with dairy milk or other ingredients like rice milk, coconut water, goat’s milk, and coconut milk. Kefir can be used by the mother as well as the baby for gaining calcium to build the bones strong as well as the protein of high quality.
Kimchi is among the fermented foods that are high in fiber and low in fats. It is a fermented dish made from cabbage, red in color. As Kimchi is prepared through the process of fermentation, it contains a good number of probiotics which are helpful in soothing the digestive system. Apart from aiding in digestion, the ingredient is also helpful for fighting against various body infections.
Miso is one of the most famous Japanese cuisines. The paste in this dish is prepared by mixing barley or rice with soya beans, koji, and salt. This mixture is then left for the process of fermentation for a minimum of 6 months to around three years for obtaining that delicious texture. Miso is available in three different colors like red, yellow, and white.
Sauerkraut is believed to be Kimchi’s western version. The dish is made by combining salty brine and cabbage for various days due to which the bacteria starts developing in it. Sauerkraut is one of the best ways of improving the immune system through Vitamin C. It can be taken along with other food items like coleslaw, sandwiches, tacos, hash browns, burgers, cooked grains, pork chops, etc. You can also look for DIY options for making Sauerkraut.
Tempeh is similar to tofu, which is made by adding fermented soya beans into the patties. Apart from probiotics, tempeh is also rich in other nutrients like proteins, fiber, and Vitamin B12. The flavor of tempeh is quite nutty, earthy, and smoky, a little similar to mushrooms. Some people prepare tempeh patties by adding veggies, rice, and other seasonings. It also reduces the levels of phytic acid in the body.
Adding some fermented food in your prenatal diet during pregnancy is surely helpful as it is the best source of adding healthy bacteria to your gut that is good for the mother and the baby too.