Health Matters

Fermentation – enhances nutritive value of grains, for strong knee cartilage



Microorganisms beneficial for humans are known as probiotics. Many of us have taken them.

Whole grains such as oats, wheat, barley, rice, etc are high in many elements that are beneficial for probiotic microorganisms including (but certainly not limited to) fibre. Grains can serve as an excellent food source for probiotic microorganisms, encouraging their multiplication and continued residence in our large intestine.

A ‘synbiotic’ is a modern term that simply means – a synergistic-blend of prebiotics (e.g. grains) and probiotics. Synbiotics can be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease for example.

Though cereal grains are great prebiotics, from previous articles you will remember that cereal grains also contain very high amounts of antinutrients such as digestive enzyme inhibitors, tannins and phytic acid. Research shows these components in grains hamper the activity of carbohydrate and protein digesting enzymes, and stop us digesting our food. They can damage the gut, and reduce vitamin & mineral absorption. ’Phytic acid generally binds calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium … lowers… bioavailability of these metal ions ‘and is a big ‘reason for minerals deficiencies in’ humans.

To avoid these problems, aboriginal cultures traditionally did not eat unfermented grains. Rather they soaked/sprouted and ground their grains, then added microbes to flour to make a synbiotic mixture, and allowed the mix to stand often for two days or more, so that microbes could ‘ferment’ the grains. In the fermentation process, probiotic microbes multiply rapidly and spend all their time breaking-down / removing all the antinutritive factors in grains. Microbes also break down proteins (such as gluten) and carbohydrates (such a FOS that cause gas) to make them harmless, and easy for us to digest and absorb. They also make completely new compounds that serve as healthy food sources for the cells lining our gut. They liberate minerals from phytates, liberate some vitamins and make many new one for us.

The fermentation carried out by aboriginals is much like the initial steps of traditional sourdough bread making. Traditional fermentation is the most crucial process for considerably lowering antinutrient content and enhancing overall nutritive value of cereal-grain foods. Modern companies provide plethora of cereal foods yet these foods are either not fermented at all such as breakfast cereals, or the fermentation process is so curtailed that it becomes of little or no value. Bread makers often leave just enough time to allow gas production, but no time for bacteria to multiply in order to provide the myriad nutritional benefits of true fermenting.

You can make fermented grain products yourself. Just mix sprouted organic whole-grain flower with sourdough starter, let it ferment & rise for 48 hours at room temperature, before baking your own healthy bread. Or your rolled oats can be boiled then mixed with kefir yoghurt and even various fruits and nuts, allowed to ferment for 48 hours at room temperature, then placed in the fridge for storage & eaten cold in summer or warmed in winter. This way of eating grains is healthy and provides many nutrients including minerals such as zinc for strong knee cartilage. It should now be easy to understand why eating a diet high in unfermented forms of cereal grains can lead, over many years, to nutrient deficiency and thus weak knee cartilage and knee problems.


Article Written + Submitted by:

Andreas Klein Nutritionist + Remedial Therapist from Beautiful Health + Wellness
P: 0418 166 269

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