Should You Eat Fermented Foods?

By Sheri Berger, RDN

I am sure most of you have noticed the latest food rage these days is fermented foods! You may be wondering what are these foods and why are they getting so much attention. Some examples of fermented foods are yogurt, buttermilk, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, sour dough bread, and kombucha. These foods are literally alive! That’s right, fermented foods are full of alive and active bacteria, also known as probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that have well known benefits as well as some possible advantages that are still under research. Here are two benefits we know for sure:

  • Digestion regulation
  • Strengthens immunity

Other possible benefits of probiotics that are still under review:

  • Weight loss
  • Improve mood and anxiety

Fermented foods are tasty and contribute beneficial nutrients such as fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, although some can be high in sodium and sugar. For people with high blood pressure, be conscious of the sodium content of sauerkraut and kimchi. For those who are limiting sugar intake, be cautious of the added sugars in yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. It is best to read your labels carefully and choose a probiotic variety with less added sugar or sodium or balance out these nutrients with all your other daily choices.

Read here for more information on the benefits of probiotics and some diy recipes for kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi:

EatWell: Simple Tips from a BaySport Nutritionist

By Sheri Berger, RDN

A common question I am often asked, how bad is sugar and should it be completely avoided? A healthy diet can contain sensible amounts of sugar. I will provide guidelines on what is considered reasonable in just a moment, but first I would like to clear up one common misconception ALL sugar is bad. There are two different types of sugar in the diet:

Naturally occurring sugar- found in fruit (fructose) and found in milk (lactose)
Added sugar- table sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey are some common ones.

Here is a more extensive list:

Naturally occurring sugar should not be avoided! Fruit and milk products supply the body with many important nutrients such as protein, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.

Added sugars can definitely make a food tasty! However, they add empty calories and do not contribute significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, or nutrients. Diets that contain excessive sugar increase one’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions.

The American Heart Association recommends these added sugar limitations:
Women – no more than 6 teaspoons per day (25 grams, 100 calories)
Men – no more than 9 teaspoons per day (36 grams, 150 calories)

Read here for more information from the American Heart Association:

Baked Kale Chips

Swap out your potato chips for a nutritionally superior chip, kale chips!  Baked kale chips are low in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as iron, potassium, vitamin A, and fiber.
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1 cup
1 package of kale (4 cups)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 Tsp coarse sea salt
Optional flavor enhancing additions:
– 1-2 tsp. lemon juice or lemon zest
– 1-2 tsp. garlic powder
– dash of cayenne pepper (if you them hot and spicy!)
Preheat an oven to 300 degrees F. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Tear kale leaves from ribs into bite size pieces. Wash thoroughly and blot dry with clean towel.
Arrange kale in a single layer on cookie sheet (May require two cookie sheets).
Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake until the edges brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Nutrition Facts per serving, serving size: 1 cup:  68  Cal,   7g Total Fat,   0.9g Sat Fat,   5g Monounsaturated Fat, 0.75g Polyunsaturated Fat, 147mg Sod,   1.4g  Carbs,  0.6g  Fib,  0.3g Sugar,   0.7g Pro
Recipe by Sheri Berger, RDN