I had so much fun creating this recipe for my friends over at Genuine Health. Not only is this Coconut Miso Soup (recipe at the bottom) incredibly delicious, but it's also packed with probiotic fermented goodies that will boost your immune system, reduce your cardiovascular disease risk and maybe even put you in a sunshine-y good mood.
Still not convinced? Check out these facts:
- Fermented foods improve our digestion. Fermentation actually starts that digestive process, so by the time the food hits our tummies, digestion is easy peasy. When digestion is easy, it also makes it easier for our bodies to absorb the nutrients. Not bad, right?
- Fermented foods are actually more nutritious. Yes, the nutrients in fermented foods are easier for our bodies to absorb, but did you know that fermentation actually improves the vitamin content of food to begin with? Studies have demonstrated that traditionally fermented dairy products actually contain more vitamins than conventional or raw milk. Similarly, veggies, fruits, grains and beans also become more nutritious after fermenting.
- Fermentation helps gets rid of anti-nutrients. Many grains, beans, nuts and seeds contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient (i.e. it interferes with our ability to absorb nutrients.) Fermentation helps get rid of phytic acid, which makes it easier for our bodies to access those vitamins and minerals.
My top five favourite fermented foods:
1. Sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is finely cut fermented cabbage that is packed with vitamins C, B and K. It also contains a ton of probiotics, including leuconostoc, pediococcus, and lactobacillus. If you’re buying sauerkraut at the store instead of making your own, make sure to choose unpasteurized brands (they should be in the refrigerator aisle.) Pasteurization kills all the helpful bacteria.
2. Kimchi. Did you know the average South Korean eats around 40 pounds of kimchi every year? Kimchi is a fermented Korean side dish that’s usually made with cabbage, radish or cucumber. It’s flavour-packed, filled with vitamin C and carotene, and can be eaten on its own or incorporated into a ton of different dishes. (Veggie Rice Wraps with kimchi, anyone?)
3. Miso. Made from fermented soybeans, miso is a very good source of manganese, zinc and antioxidants. It’s often used in soup recipes, but it can also add flavour to other dishes like my Miso Hummus.
4. Coconut yogurt. Coconut yogurt is packed with probiotics, and since it’s non-dairy, it’s a lot easier to digest than conventional yogurt. Coconut is anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and high in electrolytes, calcium, potassium and magnesium. (Have you tried making your own coconut kefir yet?)
5. Pickles. Pickles are filled with active bacterial cultures and enzymes. Like sauerkraut, make sure you purchase lacto-fermented pickles from the refrigerator section, not the kind made with vinegar – they may taste similar, but they don’t have the same health benefits. And remember to drink your pickle juice!
Yield: 6 servings
- 6 cups water
- ¼ cup fresh ginger, cut into match stick slices
- 4 carrots, sliced
- ½ red onion, chopped
- ½ cup broccoli, chopped into florets (use stems too)
- ½ cup red cabbage, shredded
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup tamari
- 1 cup organic coconut milk
- 2 sheets of nori, cut into thin strips about 2 inches long
- ¼ cup dried or ½ cup fresh shiitake mushrooms
- ⅓ cup miso paste
- Place water, ginger, carrots, onion, broccoli and cabbage into pot, bring to a boil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, until carrots are fork tender.
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice, tamari and coconut milk.
- Scoop out 1 cup of the broth and whisk with miso until miso paste has dissolved. Pour back into pot.
- Keep warm on low heat, but do not allow to boil.
- Serve garnished with nori and mushrooms!