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August 5, 2014
You might already have heard that eating vegetables is good for your weight and for your health generally. But did you know that fermented vegetables are an even better weight-loss and beauty aid?
Fermentation is a process that converts sugars to acids, gases, and alcohols, via the action of yeast and/or bacteria. Although virtually every culture around the world features one or more forms of fermented foods, they are sadly lacking in the standard Western diet. Just about the only well-known fermented foods in our food culture are yogurt and sauerkraut.
Both of these fermented foods offer significant weight-loss benefits as long as the sauerkraut is raw, not cooked, and as long as the yogurt is plain, not flavored or packaged with fruit. (Adding fresh fruit to your yogurt is fine.)
But you don’t have to confine yourself to these two foods. You can enjoy fermented carrots, beets, and peppers as well as kimchi, the traditional spicy Korean form of fermented cabbage. The fermentation process means that the foods are full of friendly bacteria—bacteria that your body needs and that your metabolism needs even more.
Do you want to lose 5, 25, or even 50 pounds?
Do you feel that your metabolism is your enemy—that anything you eat turns immediately to fat?
Do you have a runaway appetite that rarely seems to be satisfied?
If you answered yes to even one of those questions, fermented foods can make all the difference.
Fermented foods are full of friendly bacteria. We need these bacteria to support our microbiome, the community of trillions of bacteria that lives within each of us.
A healthy microbiome is the key to weight loss. It also governs many other functions, including how our brains process thought and emotion. If you frequently feel foggy, anxious, tired, or depressed, eating a daily serving or two of fermented foods can make a big difference.
Fermented foods also seem to lower cholesterol by affecting the way your body metabolizes sugar. Perhaps because of its blood-sugar benefits, fermented foods also reduce appetite. Plus, they’re loaded with antioxidants—healthy compounds that guard against so-called oxidative stress, the way that oxygen itself helps to wear our body down.
So if you eat a lot of fermented foods, you could easily find yourself losing weight while developing healthy, glowing skin. I often joke with my patients that with this approach to eating, they won’t need a bariatric surgeon or a plastic surgeon. Both their weight and their skin will display optimal health.
I had noticed for a long time the positive effects of fermented foods on my patients’ overall appearance. So I was excited to read a Korean study conducted at Pusan which found that fermented foods slow down skin aging.
Of course, many fermented vegetables contain a lot of beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which are terrific for your skin. But I believe the power of fermented vegetables is greater than just a list of ingredients. The bacteria in those vegetables have a dynamic effect on your microbiome, and that, in turn has a dynamic effect on the rest of your body. When combined with a healthy diet, the right supplements, and a de-stressed approach to eating, fermented vegetables can be your new weight-loss and beauty go-to food.
I’ve had so many patients who have benefited from fermented vegetables. If you too have been unable to accomplish weight loss in NYC no matter what you do, or if you haven’t been happy with how your skin looks, I’d love to hear from you.
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