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Fermented Food Fakes

By Mila McManus, MD

The Food Industry is quick to pick up on rising trends and then capitalize on them, but not always in honest ways.  That’s why it is so hard to trust package labeling.  The latest one I’ve observed is with the word “Fermented”.

Fermented foods, if properly fermented and packaged, are full of the living bacteria found in your gut. We usually refer to them as probiotics.  That’s why fermented foods are so healthy because they help you to maintain a healthy gut!

Fermented foods are LIVING foods.  The beneficial bacteria are eating and multiplying, and that process should be ongoing when you eat them. Live ferments need to be refrigerated. So if you find something in the store that is non-refrigerated and it says it is fermented, well, its dead now. This means you have lost the key benefit of the food. The ingredient labels should be cabbage (or other vegetable), water, and salt. A spice would be ok too. It should never have preservatives, sugar, or vinegar added, and should never say “pasteurized”. If it’s pasteurized, it’s been heating to extreme which kills the bacteria and defeats the purpose. The most common packaging for living ferments is glass jars or vented pouches found only in a refrigerated section of the store.  If it is in a can or jar on the veggie aisle, it is dead, highly heated, and potentially contaminated by the can itself.  It may be edible but don’t expect it to help your microbiome or be deeply nutritious. 

Did you know these two Fermented Food Fun Facts ?

  • A study has shown that eating fermented foods appears to have lowered COVID mortality rates as much as 35.4% in countries where fermented foods are traditionally consumed.[i]
  • Fermented foods may help to relieve depression and anxiety.[ii]

Here is a link to our Fermented Salsa recipe to enjoy this summer! 

[i] https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200708/Study-links-fermented-vegetable-consumption-to-low-COVID-19-mortality.aspx?fbclid=IwAR0caH0-UyS-dyOeGpeqRyY4y3ELgB6pKUJON8rksxJ86VwJn-v9g-hv23o

[ii] https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/bmjnph/early/2020/06/09/bmjnph-2019-000053.full.pdf

By |2022-05-24T08:46:55-06:00May 25th, 2022|Articles, General|

Foods that Defend You

Foods that Defend You

We usually think of our food as a source of nourishment in the form of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Are you aware that there are many foods that have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties which help to attack and destroy unwanted visitors such as the common cold, disease-causing bacteria, and yeast? Here are some of the best food antimicrobials that can work in your defense on a daily basis:

Coconut Oil

The best source for caprylic and lauric acids, coconut oil provides antifungal and antibacterial protection whether ingested or applied externally. Butter from grass fed cattle is another excellent source of these acids while olive oil contains Oleuropein, also known to be an effective anti fungal.

Garlic and Onions

Known for their antibacterial properties, these two foods have been used all over the world to treat major and minor diseases. The active ingredient is sulfur which serves to reduce inflammation, protect against pathogens and cancer, and is also a strong anti-oxidant, attacking free radicals in the body.

Cabbage (and other relatives)

While all vegetables and fruits offer good sources of Vitamin C, which serves as a natural antibiotic and antioxidant, cabbage takes first place in this category. A one-cup serving of cabbage offers 75% of the daily-recommended amount of Vitamin C and is also rich in sulfur. Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, horseradish, and Brussels sprouts are also top notch choices included in this family of protective foods.

Fermented (Living) Foods

This old-world tradition of preserving foods is not very common today though it is making a come back as health practitioners and nutritionists gain renewed respect for probiotics and the importance of the protective role they play in the health of the human body. Fermented foods provide extremely high doses of probiotics compared to what can be found in most probiotic supplements. To learn more about fermented foods, click here.


Be sure to include as many herbs as possible every day as you prepare and season your food. Here are some of the most powerful and also easy to incorporate options: Allspice, Basil, Caraway seed, Chili pepper, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Curry, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard, Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley, Pepper, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme, and Turmeric.



By |2014-08-02T09:42:07-06:00August 2nd, 2014|Articles, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|