Microbiologists in Canada developed a formula that makes commercial kefir healthier. Traditional, old-world kefir is packed with health benefits, decreasing weight gain by 40% and cholesterol levels by 50%. Commercial kefir, though, does not contain bacteria-loving yeast used in traditional kefir. That variation in the fermentation process means commercial kefir is not as healthy. The Canadian microbiologist’s formula can be added to milk in commercial vats and is currently in the patent process.

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Consider marketing fermented food and drink products as not just good for the gut but good for the skin. The New York Times calls the gut “the secret to complexion perfection,” and highlights the beauty benefits of a diet full of fermented foods. Though probiotics marketed specifically for skin health are selling out, doctors say supplements alone won’t help — diet is key. Carla Oates, known as the Beauty Chef, wrote a cookbook encouraging what she calls “gut weeding and seeding and feeding,” praising a diet of fermented foods like carob and sauerkraut.

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Kimchi: the Fermented Flu Vaccine

Kimchi is a scientifically proven safeguard against the flu. New research proves, with fall flu season around the corner, we should stock up on kimchi. The fermented Korean food has an antiviral effect that stops the growth of the influenza virus. Flu-infected mice that ate kimchi had a higher survival rate and lost less weight. The study also referenced the 2003 SARS pandemic in Hong Kong and China — Korea was the only place where few people were infected with the virus, attributed to Korean’s love of kimchi. Study results were published in the Journal of Microbiology.

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Fermented, probiotic-rich foods are key to a flat belly and glowing skin, shares Elle magazine. But “Biofermentation is the next wave in the beauty industry,” adds the founder and CEO of Orveda. Fermented skincare products blend bacteria with fermented botanicals to work with the skin’s natural microflora. The magazine concludes: “a clean, calm gut will ensure your skin is lit from within and a fermented-rich routine will guarantee the glow won’t go.”

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In the next decade, the British Medical Journal predicts we will see more government support of fermented foods. The BMJ’s latest research says the gov needs to fund the research and innovation of fermented products, prebiotics and probiotics. Food industry and consumer demands are shifting to healthier foods, so the BMJ says it’s critical for public leadership to also promote a healthy diet. The government can give tax incentives and push fiscal policies that promote “research, development and marketing of healthier foods in the food industry,” encourages the BMJ, and penalize companies that market sugar-laden drinks and junk food.

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Boston wine guru Lauren Friel says, to fix the local restaurant industry, health codes need to be revised. Friel says food regulations restrict chefs from using ferments and cured meats, making it especially difficult to serve authentic Chinese or European food.

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Sourdough bread is trending. As consumers seek preservative-free bread, more food retailers are adding sourdough loaves. Made with just flour, water and salt, sourdough is a clean food with a tangy taste due to the fermentation process.

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Great news for kimchi producers wanting to expand to vegan products. A new study from researchers at Brown University found that vegan kimchi made with miso paste instead of fish sauce or brined shrimp produces the same final healthy bacteria as traditional kimchi. This is because of “the selective pressure of the fermentation environment” which is so powerful that a new ingredient doesn’t impact the bacterial community.

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