Fermenting food has long been used to preserve foods before the refrigerator was invented. Sugars in the food are gobbled up by bacteria in the fermenting process, so fermented food actually contains less sugar than the non-fermented whole food. Apart from just preserving the food itself, the fermentation process also brings a whole lot of benefits.
Fermented beets have long been a practice in Russia and other eastern countries. It’s been used to cleans the body, lower blood pressure and treat many other ailments.
This is by far the easiest recipe there is to make fermented food from and there couldn’t be a better ingredient than beets. It also tastes pretty good, like pure beetroot juice with a little tang.
Recipe & method
- Chop whole beetroots up in 1cm or smaller cubes.
- You can also add sliced/grated fresh ginger for added benefit (optional)
- Fill a glass container half full with the cubes
- Fill up the container to 90% with filter water
- Add 2% salt to water ratio
- Shake or stir to dissolve the salt
- Put the lid on the jar and leave it at room temperature for 5 days to ferment (it’s best to use an airtight container)
After 5 days it’s all done and you can drink it. Then refrigerate the beet kvass to slow down the fermenting process. Fermenting for too long can make the taste a bit overwhelming and very “fermenty”.
So why beets?
Apart from it being a very easy fermenting recipe, it also contains powerful health benefits.
Beetroot is exceptionally rich in anti-oxidants which is extremely well absorbed by the body. When free radicals get out of hand, it leaves DNA, carbohydrate, protein and lipid structures susceptible to oxidation and functional impairments. This is where the antioxidants come into play to keep those free radicals in check. Beetroot doesn’t just scavenge free radicals but also reinforces the body’s antioxidant network.
It contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds which boosts your immunity and down-regulates tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and therefore attenuates inflammation. Two such pigments are betalain and betanin which show high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Due to this pigment, your urine and poop turn red. Studies show that betanin supplementation rival anti-inflammation synthetic drugs.
It’s one of the highest sources of 100% bio-available nitric oxide which causes vasodilation, lowers blood pressure, ensures optimal endothelial (artery) health and increases blood flow in the frontal cortex of the brain. This is the region of the brain that’s responsible for essential cognitive processes such as executive function, working memory and task-switching. Nitric oxide synthesis starts in the mouth, so it’s best not to use anti-bacterial products (such as toothpaste, mouth wash, gum and spray) as this will prevent the nitrates in the beets from being utilized and absorbed by the body. You can swirl the juice around in your mouth to mingle it better with the enzymes which are in your mouth for better absorption and utilization.
Beets have been used for thousands of years to cleanse the body, liver and blood, and now we also know that beets increase phase II detoxification enzymes in the liver to excrete toxins.
Beets also contain a flavanol called epicatechin, which increases plasma follistatin to myostatin ratio, making it a powerful myostatin inhibitor. Myostatin inhibits muscle growth, so inhibiting myostatin will allow you to build muscle faster.
Apart from all these benefits, beets are also rich in minerals and vitamins such as potassium, manganese, magnesium, boron, iron, copper, vitamin C, A, K, folate and betaine.
Betaine (TMG) is a metyl donor involved in the methylation of homocysteine back to methionine and increases the availability of the universal methyl donor, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Having elevated homocysteine is hazardous to your health and retards muscle hypertrophy by directly inhibiting Akt-phosphorylation which compromise body composition directly by inhibiting mRNA expression and protein synthesis. (3) I suggest getting a betaine supplement, instead of eating 1kg raw beets before workout. More about betaine here.
Betaine (TMG) can be synthesized from choline, and eating lots of choline rich foods really boosts TMG levels in the body. More on choline here.
All in all beet improves circulation, heals and cleanses, energizes and strengthens the body.
So why ferment?
About 80% of the immunity is in the gut, and your gut health is determined mainly by your gut bacteria. Gut bacteria aids in digestion, improves mood, boosts immunity and is a powerful chelating agent which binds to toxins and prevents them from being absorbed by the body. With insufficient intestinal flora, candida albicans and other yeast grow inside your bowel without control. Toxins produced by the Candida yeast family can cause many diseases. Candida can escape from the bowel, and cause a lot of troubles on your skin, inside your muscles (fibromyalgia, CFS), inside your brain (brain fog), and generally decrease your immunity, making you more susceptible to any other infection.
After a few years of having insufficient intestinal flora, you may develop constipation, colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, tumors, arthritis, and cancer.
Not having enough bile acid in your intestine will affect your intestinal flora and make you more susceptible to parasites. Parasites kill your intestinal flora and up to 80% plus of people have intestinal parasites.
Do a good gallbladder and liver cleanse to remove gallstones and consume cholesterol, choline and vitamin C to ensure proper bile production so this doesn’t happen. And always put new beneficial gut bacteria back into your system. Half a cup of this fermented beet kvass after each meal would be most beneficial.
Fermenting also increases the nutrients in the beets and makes it even more bio-available.
Fermenting is an absolutely natural process, and doesn’t require anything else to start the fermenting process. A starter culture can be added to speed up the fermenting process if you like.
The food decomposes during the fermentation process, so it’s better to use something with hard cell walls like beets, carrots, cabbage, etc, else the food will turn to a mush which will be very unpalatable.
All in all beets are very healthy and so is gut bacteria, so combining them will supercharge results. If you feel funky after drinking some, it’s just signs that your body is getting rid of lots of toxins which is a good thing.