Discover the Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t eat a lot of fermented foods. Fermented foods are more popular in the Chinese, Korean and Japanese culture where fermented soy products like tempeh and kimchee are a dietary staple. In fact, the only exposure many Americans get to fermented foods is when they eat a container of yogurt with active cultures – but that’s rapidly changing.

Fermented products are growing in popularity including fermented beverages like kombucha, a beverage prepared from fermented mushrooms, and kefir, a fermented milk drink. More natural food stores are carrying fermented foods and beverages because of the health benefits they offer.

What Are the Health Benefits of Fermented Foods?

One reason fermented foods and beverages are good for you is because of the natural probiotics they contain. Probiotics are “good bacteria” that keep disease-causing bacteria in check by competing for the same resources. There’s only so much room available in your gut for bacteria and when the good guys move in, they push the bad ones out. Unfortunately, most people who eat Westernized diets don’t get many natural probiotics in their diet. That’s changing as yogurt and other fermented foods grow in popularity.

Probiotic bacteria not only keep bad bacteria in check, they also help to “tune up” your immune system. You may not know it but 70% of your immune system lies in your gut – so nurturing your gut immunity with probiotic bacteria keeps your intestinal tract healthy.

Some studies also show these friendly bacteria offer added resistance against infection. Plus they offer potential benefits for treating irritable bowel syndrome, some types of diarrhea and for preventing vaginal yeast infections. If you have gas and bloating after meals, probiotics may help with these symptoms because fermented foods are a natural source of intestine-friendly bacteria.

Fermenting Foods Reduces Anti-Nutrients

Another benefit to fermenting foods, especially soy, is it inactivates anti-nutrients that block the absorption of minerals from the foods you eat. Soy contains phytates, compounds that reduce the absorption of minerals like iron, zinc and calcium from your gut. Fermenting soy inactivates phytates, making it a healthier way to eat soy.

Examples of fermented soy foods you can buy at most natural food markets are miso and tempeh. You may have enjoyed a cup of miso soup at a Japanese restaurant and not realized you were doing good things for your intestines. Believe me – your intestines would thank you if they could.

Other examples of probiotic-rich foods are sauerkraut, kimchi (fermented cabbage), fermented cheeses and soy sauce. Just as there are fermented foods, you can nurture your intestines with probiotic beverages like kefir and kombucha.

Fermented Beverages: Another Source of Probiotics

Kefir is a probiotic -rich beverages that has the consistency of thin yogurt and is available in a number of flavors at natural food markets. It has a slightly tart taste like yogurt, but you can blend it with fresh fruit for a sweeter taste. You can even make your own kefir at home.

Kombucha is fizzy and has a rather tart taste. Some companies that produce it like Synergy add flavors like lemon, strawberry and cranberry to it to give it more mainstream appeal. Being an acquired taste, some people don’t like it when they first try it but after drinking it a few times, its fizzy effervescence becomes addictive for some.

How to Enjoy the Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

You can enjoy the benefits of probiotic bacteria by simply eating a container of yogurt with active cultures every day. If you’re a little more adventurous, give kefir or kombucha a try. There are ways to make eating kefir more fun. Try making a kefir parfait by adding nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and spices to kefir. It’s a healthy way to start the morning. Sip on a bottle of flavored kombucha as a healthy replacement for soft drinks.

Why not make your own sauerkraut? You’ll get the benefits of the probiotic bacteria and the anti-cancer compounds in cabbage at the same time. Sauerkraut you buy in cans at the grocery store don’t contain live probiotics. Here’s a video to show you how:

When buying cheese, skip the packaged cheese at the grocery store and buy aged cheese with natural probiotics. Fermented soy is rich in isoflavones, natural compounds that may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. You can buy miso at most natural food markets and use it to make soup, sauces and salad dressings. You can also add it to soups and stews for greater health benefits.

You’ll want to avoid using high heat since it can destroy the probiotic bacteria. Try tempeh, another fermented soy product, as a substitute for meat. It’s a good choice for meatless Mondays. By scouring the web, you’ll find a number of tasty recipes using tempeh.

Next time you’re at your local natural food market, pick up some kimchi. It’s a popular vegetable side dish in Korea made of fermented cabbage and other fermented veggies. It has a spicy taste that’s as tongue tingling as it is healthy. In fact, you can ferment your own vegetables at home using a starter culture you buy at health food stores or online.

Reasons You Need Food Display Cabinets to Ensure Your Catering Business’ Success

The catering business is one of those enjoying a significant boom these days, which is no surprise why more and more new entrepreneurs are trying their luck in it. Whether you go for a catering business to open up a new restaurant one day or just into it because you happen to love cooking and entertaining, one of the most important things you need to learn is showcasing your food in the best and most visible way possible to gain new clients and customers.

A great display of food never fails to entice customers and encourage them to buy even if they had no plans of doing so. It also gives your place of business a welcoming feel and makes the customers feel that they’ve just entered Grandma’s kitchen and can partake of any pies or cakes that she has cooling on the shelves. Display cases also come in a variety of types – hot displays, cold displays, open or encased in glass. Whatever food display cabinet you choose, there’s always one that will suit your needs and requirements.

When choosing the best display for your business, you first need to consider three things: function, efficiency and appearance. Function-wise, you need to determine exactly what kind of display will you need – hot, cold or multi-temperature? If you are after energy-efficiency, you will need to choose displays that don’t use up a lot of lighting, heating or cooling to make sure you don’t waste energy and pay lower bills which can take up a huge chunk of your operational expenses.

And of course, you won’t want to choose a display that does anything but showcase your food in the most enticing way possible, as well as a display that doesn’t protect your food like it should. The whole point of purchasing display cabinets after all is to be able to show your food in its best state to entice customers to buy them.

Also, the best food displays help ensure your food stays fresh for as long as necessary and doesn’t spoil easily. If your restaurant serves wines, sodas and juice or has a salad bar, you need to make sure you buy display cabinets with a condensation evaporator and a self-contained air cooling unit for maximum efficiency. In the same light, hot food looks even more tempting with a display case that has rotating shelves and ample lighting to show the food in its best appearance. It should also have ample temperature to keep the food warm every time it is going to be served.

To make the most of your food displays, you will need to remember as well a few important key points. When displaying cold food, temperatures should be at 5 degrees Celsius or colder while hot food must be kept at 60 degree Celsius or hotter. You also need to know that hot food displays are not meant to cook or heat food for more than necessary. Make sure the cooked food reaches a temperature of 75 degrees Celsius before being stored in the food display.

Also food displays are part of the guidelines set by the health department in order to make sure your customers are not served spoiled food that can lead to food poisoning and other food-related issues.

Vacuum Food Sealers Are A Perfect Way To Eliminate Freezer Burn On Your Saved Foods

Does anyone else love fresh food? I don’t mind eating leftovers, but sometimes just leaving food in the fridge can dull the taste and flavor of the food, making it less than fresh. However, I also hate throwing away the leftovers, because it is a waste of money and food. However, I recently purchased a vacuum food sealer, one of the most useful and incredible kitchen devices I have ever seen. Basically with a vacuum food sealer, you can place your food in a plastic bag, and then use the device to suck all the air out of the bag. This dramatically reduces the age of your food, making it delicious and fresh as soon as you take it out of the bag! If you are interested in learning more about these small kitchen appliances, be sure to check out this article!

So why does food last longer and taste better when contained in the airless, plastic bag? First, the air we breathe has oxygen, which in a process caused oxidation can lessen the fresh taste of your meals. Air can also dehydrate your food, changing the texture and potentially causing freezer burn. Finally, open air is the main cause of the growth of bacteria. By sealing your food away in a vacuum, you can cut all the harmful effects of air on food.

How long will it stay fresh? This often depends on the quality of your bag and your vacuum food sealer, your freezer or fridge, and on the food itself. Most people use vacuum sealers to preserve delicate meats and other proteins, since they lose taste and go bad quickly. However with the proper use of a vacuum food sealer, your fish and meat can stay fresh from six months to an entire year! Many people also use vacuum sealers to keep fruit fresh and great tasting! Vacuum sealers can extend the life of your vegetables, fruits, and berries by months. Finally, some people even use vacuum sealers for food in the pantry, like cookies or other similar products!

While vacuum food sealers already augment the taste and quality of your produce and food, many of them also offer potential health benefits. This is mainly because it stops the effect of oxidation. Oxidation is basically a procedure in which oxygen destroys the nutrients in food by dividing and separating them.

Finally, vacuum food sealers are great because they allow you to save tons of money, especially if you are constantly tight on money. With a vacuum food sealer, you can cook your favorite meals in advance and in greater proportions. Eat half of a dish one night, seal it, then reopen and reheat it another night. You can also marinate your meat and fish much more quickly use a vacuum sealed bag. Finally, with one of these important small kitchen appliances you shouldn’t have to throw out any of your food, none of it should ever go bad!

Many Leading Brands of Baby Food Contain Arsenic and Other Toxins

Many Leading brands of baby food contain arsenic and other toxins:

Recent studies have discovered small amounts of arsenic and other toxins are in the ingredients used in top-selling baby foods.

The baby food manufacturers assert the levels are too low so they do not pose a health risk, but they do not deny the existence of these toxic chemicals in their food products, as researchers found.
This correlates with a French study conducted in 2012 that came to similar results.

Safe Food campaigners and scientists are protesting and calling for stronger efforts to eliminate the chemicals from mass-produced food products consumed by millions of youngsters daily.

Serious Arsenic fears: Researchers found toxins from contaminated soil have made their way into ingredients used in baby food tested by Swedish researchers.

Scientists from the Unit of Metals and Health at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, writing in the Journal of Food Chemistry, said: “Alarmingly, these foods may also introduce high amounts of toxic elements such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and uranium, mainly from their raw materials.”

“These elements have to be kept at an absolute minimum in food products intended for infant consumption. The high concentrations of arsenic in rice-based foods are of particular concern.”

Britain’s Food Standards Agency posted an official warning two years ago for young children to be stopped from drinking rice milk because of too much arsenic contamination.

The agency finally acted after two types of the poison were found in rice milk, including inorganic arsenic, which is the most harmful form of arsenic.

Arsenic is well known as a poison, but is also associated with causing cancers.

Both the FSA and the European Food Safety Authority have carried out a review for the purpose of setting new limits for amounts of arsenic allowed in food, particularly in foods for babies and toddlers.

Crops contaminated by arsenic from pesticide use is a commonly known problem worldwide.

Heavy industry creates other toxins that find their way into the soil and thus reproduce in the food grown on those contaminated soils.

The British Specialist Nutrition Association, which is the baby food trade body, stated its members “carefully select and control their ingredients as well as the baby food” to assure they are safe.

A biogeochemist, Professor Andrew Meharg, is gravely concerned about the arsenic presence in the rice that is used to make baby food.

“Baby rice is a very popular choice for parents weaning their babies onto solids, but there is a concern of arsenic contamination” he stated.

“Baby companies should be sourcing baby rice from regions of the world where levels of inorganic arsenic are as low as possible.”

The Swedish team that performed the study asserted toxin levels were measured in micrograms, as low as one millionth of a gram. The amounts they discovered were much higher than in breast milk.

Known Toxins in Baby Foods:

The leader of the Swedish research, Dr Karin Ljung, confirmed none of the chemicals discovered tested above existing safety limits. However, she further stated there is a serious need to review these levels to ensure our young children are fully protected.

Claiming this work was under way, The FSA stated: “The Agency is actively engaging with the European Commission to review and establish long term limits for these environmental contaminants in food.”

Plum asserted: “Sampling our recipe shows levels for arsenic are well below those in this latest study, and again these are well within the generally regarded safe and acceptable limits.” Which is their admittance arsenic and other harmful toxins are in their infant foods!

Good Dog Food That Promotes Dog’s Health and Longevity

For most dog owners the question of what is a good dog food often creeps up in one form or the other as dog owners are desirous of feeding their dogs with the best meal possible. However there is not a single answer to the question of what is a good food but rather there are certain things that define food that is considered good and healthy.

When we talk of good and healthy food we do not in any way imply that certain food or brands are the best since the food that may be good for one dog may not be well suited for another. What this clearly means is that dog owners have to strive to uncover the food that is really good for their dogs, which is the food that your dog likes and also healthy for him or her. This combination is very important because your dog may like a particular food that may not exactly be healthy for him or her, for instance if your dog is reacting to a particular type of food and yet it is evident to you that he likes the food then it is only wise on your part to discontinue the food.

Every healthy dog food should have quality protein and high moisture content which helps to prevent organ failure such as kidney failure.

It is very important that a dog’s meal be nutritionally balanced because nutrition deficiencies in dogs will show up a whole lot quicker than in humans.

Some general helpful tips in choosing healthy food ingredients:

  • Must be rich in meat content that is more than half of the ingredients must be meat or meat related.
  • A healthy food should not contain too much filler and no by products.
  • It must not contain carcinogenic preservatives.
  • Healthy food must include high quality grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, barley and not wheat or corn.
  • Food that contain artificial coloring should be avoided.

Feeding your dog on high quality food means that he eats less in comparison to when he feeds on low quality food since he will try to eat more in order to get more nutrients from the low quality food.

Feeding on high quality food not only means better insurance for the health of your dog but also his body is able to use up more of the quality nutrients in the food which means less to expel the other way as compared to feeding on low and poor quality food.

Reducing Waste Is Good Business For Food Processors and Manufacturers

Food processing and food manufacturing facilities are a critical part of the U.S. economy so it makes sense that their commitment to reducing waste is critical to building a greener, healthier society. Unfortunately, many in the food industry remain unaware of the opportunities available to reduce waste and save money. In fact, substantially cutting waste by diverting it to productive uses is very achievable.

The impact of food waste really cannot be overstated. Consider this: landfills are the biggest source of methane emissions, and methane is one of the most dangerous and harmful gases that contribute to climate change. In fact, methane is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Unfortunately for food processors and food manufacturers, in the U.S., organic waste is the second highest component of landfills.

According to a study issued by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, 4.1 billion pounds of food waste were sent to landfills in 2011, just 8.5 percent of the 48.1 billion pounds of food waste generated by the manufacturing, retail and wholesale sectors. The biggest culprit in industrial bakeries is the wrapping machine, which accounts for 70% of the waste from those facilities.

Sustainable waste management makes good environmental and business sense. Of course, the highest – or best – use of food products is to use them as they were intended to be used: as food. Failing that, the next highest use would be as feed for animals. After feed, compost would be the highest use. Landfill is the last option, or, in stark layman’s terms, the last resort. Using on-site organic waste processing technologies and implementing a recycling program allows companies to achieve a significant waste diversion.

The benefits to the food industry of reducing food waste are:

  • Ends wasting large quantities of recyclable raw ingredients.
  • Improves profitability
  • Reduces waste disposal fees.
  • Markets the establishment as environmentally conscious.
  • Helps close the food waste loop.
  • Reduces the need for more landfill space.

Food manufacturers and food processors that get on board save themselves money and come out as heroes to consumers. Not bad.

The high cost of commercial organics collection can be reduced through the development of localized organic waste processing capacity. Organic waste can be disposed and collected separately and sent to a compost facility for conversion to compost, or anaerobic digester for conversion to renewable energy. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commercial waste and provide fertilizer and clean, renewable energy.

It’s possible to keep food waste out of landfills. Diverting food waste to other, more valuable uses is the answer. The industry must work continuously to decrease the amount of food waste sent to landfills, in order to reduce the expenditures of waste disposal and help meet corporate sustainability expectations. And when companies are able to find innovative ways to put their waste to work, profits go up.