Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kimchi and Sauerkraut: Bacteria for the brain

I've got bacteria on the brain, and I wish had more of the beneficial variety.

I came across a report in, suggesting that eating probiotics helps enhance brain chemistry and the production of neurochemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. When I wrote about the importance of probitics in a previous post, little did I know that what's good for the gut is also great for the brain. Maybe that's why I get so giddy after a bowl of miso and kimchi.
Miso soup
On a recent lunch date with hubby at a Korean restaurant, I was excited to nourish my noggin. Our traditional barbeque came with fermented side dishes: miso (a soup of fermented soybeans) and kimchi (pickled vegetables).

In many cultures, meals are often accompanied by at least one fermented food. Asian cuisine has
miso, soya sauce and pickled preparations of cabbage, turnip, eggplant, cucumber, onion, squash and carrot. Indian meals feature dishes of soured milk and chutneys. Indonesians use tempeh, similar to tofu.

My Nigerian friend has a daily porridge of fermented millet, cassava and sorghum. Western cooking has sauerkraut, sourdough bread, cheeses, wines and beers, all produced through fermentation.

The process has been around for centuries to preserve perishable food. Fermentation also makes food more digestible and produces an ideal environment for vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants, beta glucans, phytonutrients and probiotics.

In AK's Kitchen, yogurt is our main fermented food. We go through three litres a week. I'm sure our busy brains can benefit from more varied sources.

I'm off to the market, on a mission to find brain food. First, a glass of wine just for the brain boost.  


  1. As a law student, I find that drinking Kombucha on a near daily basis helps to overcome the academic hurdles.

  2. Can you recommend a good brand?