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The popularity of fermented foods has skyrocketed within the past year. Canadians have caught on to this ancient tradition, and it doesn’t look like we’re letting it go any time soon.

Fermented foods have gone through a specific process in which agents, such as yeast and bacteria, break down the sugars and carbohydrates to help our bodies absorb the healthy nutrients we want.

If you’re new to fermented foods, we've got you covered. Explore the flavours and health benefits of fermentation by trying these three classic fermented foods:

Kimchi – Vitamin A

This spicy, traditional Korean dish is made with pickled cabbage and a combination of seasonings. Not only is it a delicious appetizer, it’s packed with vitamin A, which promotes healthy skin maintenance and repair. It’s also high in fibre, which helps your digestive system run smoothly, and – best of all – it’s low in calories, making kimchi a delicious topping or side dish for lunch and dinner.

Tempeh – Protein and Fibre

Made out of whole soybeans, tempeh originates from Indonesia and is similar in texture to tofu. This is a great option for vegetarians and vegans and, depending on how it’s prepared, can be used to substitute the texture of many meats – whether you’re making tempeh burgers, tempeh fajitas or just fried tempeh on its own. Loaded with protein and high in fibre, tempeh provides an easy way to add a nutritional punch to any meal.

Kefir – Probiotics

This fermented dairy drink is on the rise. Fermented with kefir grains – bacteria and yeast – kefir contains high amounts of probiotics, protein and calcium, and is similar to drinkable yogurt (and available in many of the same flavours!). Add it to a smoothie, beat it with a bit of water, or pour over a bowl of fruit for a quick snack that delivers flavour, texture, and nutrients.

More and more Canadians are discovering the health benefits of natural fermentation at a time when a wide variety of fermented foods can be found at your CHFA Member health food store.