Monday, April 29, 2024

How to Neutralize Battery Acid Safely: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Neutralize Battery Acid Safely: 

A Step-by-Step Guide

Handling battery acid spills is a crucial aspect of safety within industrial settings. While battery-related injuries are relatively rare, with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citing a modest number of serious incidents, the implications of battery acid mishaps are nonetheless significant. Minor injuries and compliance violations aren’t always captured in these figures, but the occurrence of a severe spill can lead to extensive inventory damage, operational downtime, and equipment wear. It’s essential that facilities relying on batteries for operations have robust procedures in place to address potential spills efficiently and safely, allowing for swift emergency responses that mitigate risks without escalating the danger.
Ensuring a safe environment in the presence of batteries, which may contain corrosive substances, involves clear guidelines and preventive maintenance. It’s not just about responding to incidents; it’s also about minimizing the chances of spills through proper maintenance. Keep in mind that aside from their corrosive nature, batteries can also introduce other hazards, such as flammability, and may cause damages such as eye injury if not managed carefully. A sound understanding of the various types of batteries used within your facility, along with the appropriate handling and storage practices, significantly reduces the potential for hazardous occurrences.


Key Takeaways

  • Effective spill response strategies are essential for safely managing battery acid incidents.
  • Regular preventative maintenance can reduce the frequency and impact of spills.
  • Understanding specific battery types and their risks aids in establishing a safer workplace environment.

Steps for Safely Neutralizing Battery Acid

Assessing Spill Hazards

Upon encountering a battery acid incident, ensure a secure environment for the cleanup crew. Initiate with these crucial actions:

  • Inspect clothing and skin for acid exposure, removing affected clothing and rinsing skin if necessary.
  • Alert personnel to the spill and clear the area of non-essential staff.
  • Confirm good ventilation within the cleanup vicinity.
  • Equip the cleaning team with necessary protective gear before proceeding.

Equipping with Proper Protection

Safety gear is mandatory when dealing with battery leaks, as stipulated by OSHA regulations. Acidic contact can lead to immediate chemical burns, making protective equipment crucial during all neutralization or cleanup tasks. Ensure your team is well-trained in handling and disposing of their personal protective equipment and knowledgeable in using safety facilities like eyewash stations.

Controlling the Acid Spill

For spill containment, use materials such as sorbent socks to form barriers and sorbent pads for absorption. Locating spill response kits in strategic, visible areas will expedite addressing any battery acid leakage and shield staff, products, and machinery from harm.

Neutralizing the Spill

Battery acid can typically be neutralized with a mixture of baking soda or soda ash. For substantial battery leak incidents, particularly within industrial settings, specialized sorbents are recommended to effectively manage and constrain the hazard promptly. These materials not only neutralize the acid but also prevent the spill from spreading further.

Validating Neutralization and Initiating Cleanup

Post-neutralization, assess the pH of the affected zone to ensure safety, aiming for a neutral pH range between 6 and 8. Once verified, collect the neutralized residue securely and cleanse any remaining acid from batteries as prescribed. Dispose of the acid waste in compliance with environmental regulations, documenting the spill and the response measures executed. Restock all used safety and cleanup materials immediately after handling the incident.

Essential Upkeep for the Battery Area

In managing a facility with a sizable electric vehicle operation, it’s my responsibility to minimize the occurrence of battery acid spills and to ensure the environment remains safe and functional. Here’s a streamlined rundown of the procedures I implement to maintain the integrity of the battery area:

  • Drip Trays and Neutralizers: For each battery location, I ensure the installation of drip trays complemented by acid-neutralizing agents like AcidSorb pillows. This proactive measure safeguards the trays from acid damage.

  • Cleaning Practices: I maintain a regimen of cleaning batteries and their holding structures with products that both cut through grease and neutralize acid residue. The clear indication of neutralization is a color change from purple to orange or yellow, signifying a harmless pH level.

  • Watering Tools and Protocols: To avoid overwatering and potential boil-overs, I use precise tools such as dedicated watering guns, coupled with mobile carts. I also adhere to a strict watering schedule, avoiding periods before, during, or directly after charging.

  • Charging Guidelines: Charging batteries to their full capacity before usage is standard practice—not directly related to spill prevention, but instrumental in enhancing battery life and optimizing water requirements.

  • PPE and Emergency Equipment: I deploy premium chargers and associated equipment throughout the battery area, alongside personal protective gear kits for immediate worker access. Regular checking and demonstrating of how to operate eyewash stations and emergency showers is part of our protocol.

These measures not only curtail risks but also equip staff with the knowledge to manage spill responses effectively. For comprehensive solutions tailored to my fleet size and needs, I trust reliable partners like Solus Group. I’m always prepared to reach out to experts for advice on optimizing our battery room’s safety and efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Steps to Safely Neutralize Automotive Battery Acid Spills

To address a car battery acid spill, I follow certain steps. Initially, I ensure I’m wearing protective gear like gloves and goggles. I prepare a mixture of baking soda and water to form a paste, which I then apply generously over the spill. This compound reacts with the acid, neutralizing it. After a fizzing reaction indicating neutralization, I use a plastic or wooden scraper to gather the residue and dispose of it in a plastic bag.

Diluting Spilled Battery Acid with Water: Procedures and Safety

Yes, it’s safe to use water to dilute battery acid, but it’s important to do so correctly. Here’s how I handle it: first, I don protective gear. Then using a spray bottle, I gently mist water over the spill, starting from the edges and working inward to prevent spreading the acid. This dilutes the acid concentration. Following this, I apply a baking soda solution to neutralize the remaining acid.

Effective Neutralizers for Battery Acid on Concrete

For neutralizing battery acid on concrete, I find that sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is the most effective substance. The process I use involves sprinkling baking soda directly onto the affected area until it’s fully covered. Then, I wait for the reaction to complete—indicated by the cessation of fizzing—before cleaning up the residue.

Cleaning Battery Acid from Clothing Safely

When dealing with battery acid on clothing, I neutralize the acid first to prevent fabric damage. Wearing gloves, I place the garment under cold running water to remove excess acid. Then, I gently dab the affected area with a cloth soaked in a solution of water and baking soda, rinsing thoroughly afterward. Finally, I wash the garment separately with mild detergent.

Neutralizing Household Alkaline Battery Acid Spills

For alkaline battery spills at home, I use an acid to neutralize the alkaline leakage. Distilled white vinegar or lemon juice is effective for this purpose. Applying either directly to the spill will neutralize the alkaline substance. Once the bubbling stops, which shows the neutralization is complete, I clean the area with a damp cloth.

Cleaning and Neutralizing Battery Acid on Carpet

If battery acid spills on carpet, I handle it with care to avoid spreading or setting the stain. First, I blot up as much acid as possible without rubbing. Then, wearing gloves, I apply a thick paste of baking soda and water to the affected area and let it sit until the fizzing stops. After the neutralization reaction is complete, I vacuum up the dry baking soda and clean the area with a wet cloth.

https://batterytools.net/how-to-neutralize-battery-acid-safely/

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Top 5 Ginger Remedies You Must Know

Top 5 Ginger Remedies You Must Know

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 11:01

The smell that permeates the air in your home when you add fresh ginger to a meal is simply incredible. Ginger offers unique aromas and flavors that can transform dishes into something quite impressive. There is also numerous health benefits associated with consuming ginger, which makes it an all-around useful root to have in your home and of course to grow in your garden.

If you have ever picked up a few roots in the grocery store to cook with, then you know just how outrageously expensive ginger can actually be to purchase. The great news is that this versatile root is rather simple to grow once you get your plants established in a growing environment that will allow them to thrive.

The Basics Of Ginger

A ginger root comes from a plant named zingiber officinale, but it is typically just referred to as ginger or ginger root. There are numerous other plants in the same family group zingiberaceae, and they include cardamom and turmeric. Also, ginger is actually a rhizome and not a true root. Rhizomes are really less like roots and more like solid stems that send roots out from the nodes on them; rhizomes can actually be cut up into pieces and grow into entirely new plants, which makes propagation a breeze with ginger.

When the ginger plants grow, they are a lush green color that gives rise to clusters of buds that burst open into bright yellow flowers that are very attractive to bees and other beneficial insects. Ginger doesn’t just have great benefits as a medicinal plant and source of intense flavor; it has great aesthetic appeal simply because of how pretty the plant looks when growing healthy and in bloom.

Growing Ginger

Ginger prefers climates that are sub to full tropical, which means that while they may grow in many zones and differing climates, they may not tolerate winters well and will need to be offered a form of protection from the cold during the winter months. Many have reported that they’ve successfully cultivated ginger in their homes during the winter, by using a combination of growing lights and humidifiers.

There are five growing conditions that ginger absolutely must have, and five growing conditions that will severely impact your ginger’s ability to grow and thrive.

Growing must-haves include the following:

1.     Warm temperatures
2.     Soil rich in organic material
3.     High levels of humidity
4.     Moist soil
5.     Filtered sunlight

The five things that will impede the ginger’s growth include the following:

1.     Frost
2.     Waterlogged soil
3.     Dried out soil
4.     Strong, drying wind
5.     Direct sunlight

If you do not live in an environment that will provide the right levels of moisture to the soil then you might have a little trouble at first. Luckily, ginger tends to be a very forgiving plant for you to experiment with, so long as the temperatures remain above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ginger is best propagated by getting your hands on some fresh rhizomes from someone who grows ginger locally. An alternative is to purchase some from an organic website or to simply pick some up from an organic grocery store or farmer’s market. Ensure that the rhizomes you are bringing home are plump and have a fresh smell when you indent them with your fingernail. Also be sure that they aren’t withered or at all dried out.

When you get your ginger home, you should fill a small bowl up with cool water and soak them in some very, very mild dish soap. This is because even ginger sold as organic is often treated with a growth retardant, much like potatoes are, in order to prevent them from sprouting on the store shelves (which makes getting your rhizomes from someone locally a much better option if at all possible). The good news is that once your own plants are thriving, you can become a local source of fresh ginger for family, friends, and neighbors.

While some recommend that you leave the rhizomes soaking in fresh water until they sprout roots, experts agree that it is better to allow the plants to establish a healthy root system in the soil right away. This can avoid transplant shock, which can risk the overall health and well being of your ginger.

Ginger will grow really well in large containers or planted directly in the ground. Keep in mind that plants grown in containers need to have good drainage, so draining holes are essential in the containers. No matter which method you choose, you need to ensure that the soil conditions are ideally suited for the plant. A good mixture of compost in the soil will help to provide the nutrients the plant needs, and also help with moisture control.

The best time to plant is typically in the early part of spring, once you are sure that the last frost date has passed. Cut the rhizomes into pieces about the size of a quarter, ensuring that each piece still has a few growing buds on it. You can also plant the piece whole, but cutting it up will help you to get more plants and increase the likelihood of successful propagation.

Plant the pieces up to three inches deep, with the growing buds of the rhizomes facing upward. Cover them loosely with a good compost mix and ensure that the soil is kept nice and moist. Consider adding quality mulch on top of the soil in order to help with the moisture retention.

Keep the area free of weeds because ginger is a slow-growing plant that is not at all aggressive. Weeds can rapidly move in and start to leech nutrients away from the plant, which will impact your ability to grow healthy rhizomes for harvest.

While it can typically take up to ten months for the plant to start to wither, which is an indicator that the rhizomes are prime for harvesting, many gardeners give their ginger at least one growing season before they harvest from them. This can be frustrating, but it is often best to build healthy, stocky rhizomes from which to propagate other plants and ensure that you still have plenty left for cooking and medicinal purposes.

When ready to harvest, you can simply dig some of the rhizomes up, cut pieces off for use and then replant immediately. When you get the ginger indoors, you should scald it with boiling water, or wash it thoroughly and scrape the nodules off to prevent it from sprouting.

Multiple Uses For Ginger

The sheer versatility of ginger makes it worth growing, even if you are not entirely a fan of using it to season your food.

  • Store the whole ginger roots in the freezer for up to six months and up to six weeks in the refrigerator.
  • Use a food dehydrator to dry out pieces of the ginger. The dried pieces can then be stored in airtight containers as is, or they can be crushed and stored in airtight containers. Many people store the airtight containers in the freezer to further prolong the flavors and freshness of their ginger.
  • Ginger tea has incredible benefits, especially when you are feeling under the weather. Steep ginger in boiling water and add a bit of honey for sweetness.
  • Candied ginger has a very unique taste to it and is easily made by cooking slices of the ginger root in sugar until the roots have absorbed the sugar and are incredibly soft.

Some other uses for ginger in the kitchen include the following easy-to-make goodies.

  • Gingerbread
  • Ginger ale
  • Ginger wine
  • Spice tea
  • Curry
  • Preserved in quality oil

There really is no wrong way to use and enjoy ginger.

Health Benefits Of Ginger

Research has found numerous potential health benefits for those who consume ginger on a regular basis. One of the most popular benefits that every woman who has been pregnant will tell you is that ginger can help to offset some of morning sickness symptoms that many women are plagued with. It is thought that ginger’s ability to help promote a healthy gastrointestinal system can help to ease the stomach upset that pregnancy brings along with it.

Studies have also found that ginger supplements can help to reduce the inflammation associated with the colon, and thus have a marked effect on the reduction of risks for colon cancer.

Ginger as also been seen to help reduce muscle pain associated with several illnesses and working out or bodybuilding. Just a few cups of ginger tea a week can help you to see a marked reduction in muscle inflammation.

Some other incredible properties of ginger that have been seen by researchers include a natural lowering of cholesterol and a thinning of the blood. While blood thinning is definitely not desirable if you are already on blood thinners like Warfarin, it can potentially help those at risk for heart disease.

Ginger has also been used for centuries to reduce the length and severity of colds and flu. Ginger steeped in boiling water with a bit of honey and lemon can be very soothing for someone who is ill. It has also been proven to be very useful in helping to ease severe menstrual cramping and migraines, due to the natural anti-inflammatory properties of ginger.

Whether you are interested in growing ginger to add some great zest to your culinary attempts, to use it for medicinal reasons, or because it is a very attractive plant to grow, there truly aren’t any reasons not to grow this versatile and fragrant plant.

https://beforeitsnews.com/survival/2024/04/top-5-ginger-remedies-you-must-know-2793851.html

Friday, April 5, 2024

Vegan Soap


Vegan Soap and How It’s Made

Like all things vegan, vegan soap is cruelty-free and is made using ingredients like fat and oils that come from vegetables and plants instead of those that come from animal derivatives. This seems to surprise many people, but it's true. Traditional soap is primarily made from animal fats. Read on to learn more.


What is Vegan Soap?

Vegan soaps are made from all-natural, safe ingredients that enhance your well-being, avoiding chemicals like parabens, sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) and SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) that are found in regular soaps.

Like all things vegan, vegan soap is cruelty-free and is made using ingredients like fat and oils that come from vegetables and plants instead of those that come from animal derivatives. This seems to surprise many people, but it's true. Traditional soap is primarily made from animal fats. In order to understand why that is, it makes sense to get a brief history of traditional bar soap.

A Brief History of Bar Soap

It wasn't until the 18th century that soap became associated with hygiene and safety in the western world. Once manufacturers got involved, their goal was to mass-produce as much soap as possible to make more money. The best way to make something cheaply and quickly is to use the least expensive ingredients possible. In this case, this included soap made from cleansing agents and animal fat since they were cheap and easy to obtain.

Although there have been advances in soap manufacturing methods since that time, the source ingredients have generally remained the same. Vegan soap doesn't contain any of the above. Vegan soap makers go out of their way to make sure that their soaps work in harmony with the body. They prefer to use pure and natural plant-based ingredients that have beautifying and restorative properties.

How Is It Made?

At Nezza Naturals, our bar soap  is made using organic coconut oil, hemp oil, castor oil, shea butter, and rice bran wax. We add in quality, 100% natural essential oils. Some bars have flower petals, oatmeal, or even walnut shell powder (for that extra scrubby feel). Only natural colourings are used, such as spirulina for green, annatto seed for orange, carob powder for that chocolatey look.

For the most part, vegan soap is made by mixing lye into a solution of different oils and distilled water. That solution is heated up until it's about 37 degrees Celsius. Once it reaches that temperature, essential oils are added for that wonderful fragrance.. After that, the soap is poured into moulds and left to dry. After about twenty-four hours, the soap is taken out of the mould and allowed to cure for about a month.

Anyone who is interested in making their own vegan soap should study the basics of soap making just so that they understand the process before beginning the process. It can help you avoid some serious hiccups.

Benefits of Using Vegan Soap

There are quite a few amazing benefits to using vegan soap. You're protecting your body from the harsh chemicals and toxins that can irritate your skin, making it feel dry, itchy and covered with rashes. When using products that are all natural, you can look for and use ingredients that are perfectly tailored to your skin. For instance, you can find vegan soaps made from plant-based ingredients and oils for dry skin like olive oil and shea butter. Also, you can use vegan soaps with natural herbs like calendula and hemp that help with certain skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis

DIY Soap Recipe to Try Making at Home

It's always fun to talk about vegan soaps, but it's so much more fun to make them. The following is an easy handmade vegan natural bar soap recipe that’s perfect for beginners and anyone else who wants to start living a healthier, natural lifestyle.

Ingredients:

  • 100g coconut oil
  • 10g lavender essential oil
  • 500g extra virgin olive oil
  • 80g lye (sodium hydroxide)
  • 195g distilled water
  • Before you begin, make sure you have your safety equipment ready. Safety glasses and long gloves for protection! For more info on handling lye see the bottom of this article

Directions:

  • Get a glass bowl and add your water. Take your lye and mix it into the water. Keep your windows open so the smell doesn’t become overwhelming!
  • Once you mix the water and lye together, the mixture will start to get warm. Set the bowl aside until it cools
  • Next, mix the olive oil and coconut oils together in another large glass bowl. When the lye/water mixture is finally cool, pour it into your oil mix, stirring slowly
  • Take a hand blender once the oils and the lye mixture have completely mixed, and blend everything further. The goal is to have the mixture thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise, a level that’s called the “trace” level
  • Add your essential oils into the mix. Then pour the mixture into your soap moulds. Set the whole thing aside for about 24 hours.
  • One pro tip is to cover the moulds with a towel. This is because the mixture will get warm over the 24 hours, and your goal is to keep the mixture warm.
  • After 24 hours, see if you can remove the bars. If you can't, let them sit for a little bit more time, possibly a few more hours. You want it to harden but not get so hard that it becomes impossible to cut the bars
  • Cut the bars into your desired shapes and let them sit for about four weeks. Flip them every other day so that the soap can fully harden and dry
  • After the four weeks have passed, you should be ready to use your gorgeous, handmade, homemade soap!

Working With Lye (SODIUM HYDROXIDE AND POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE )

Safety Precautions for Lye (both Sodium Hydroxide, NaOH, and Potassium Hydroxide, KOH):

Lye is a very caustic chemical that will create burns on contact with skin. Always use extreme caution when working with it. Lye should not be used by minors without adult supervision.  Although lye is dangerous, it can be worked with safely. By taking appropriate precautions, you can safely enjoy making “true soap” with lye.

PRECAUTIONS:

  • ALWAYS wear goggles, gloves, and protective clothing when handling lye.
  • NO short sleeved shirts, shorts, or sandals.
  • ALWAYS work with lye in a well ventilated area.
  • Remove contaminated clothing immediately
  • Clean up spills immediately

FIRST AID TREATMENT:

  • EYE CONTACT – Flush with lukewarm, gently running water while holding the eyelid(s) open. Take the person to the hospital.
  • SKIN CONTACT – Flush with lukewarm, gently running water and take the person to the hospital.
  • INGESTION – Administer large quantities of water followed by milk and take the person to the hospital.
  • INHALATION – Remove the person afflicted to fresh air and take the person to the hospital.

Please view the Material Safety Data Sheet for Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) for more safety precautions and product information.

Got Questions? Give Us a Shout!

Vegan soap is an excellent product for people who want to create a more natural and holistic lifestyle with cruelty-free products. Visit our website www.nezzanaturals.com. If you’d like to learn more, like us on Facebook and Instagram, or contact us with any comments or questions that you may have, we would be happy to help! 

Send your thoughts to info@nezzanaturals.com or visit our site for more essential oil information and DIY recipes.

https://nezzanaturals.com/blogs/news/making-vegan-soap 

Monday, February 19, 2024

15 Fermented Foods for a Healthy Gut and Overall Health


15 Fermented Foods for a Healthy Gut and Overall Health

By Jillian Levy, CHHC

Whether you realize it or not, fermentation is a process that’s used to produce some of the world’s favorite foods and beverages. What are some foods that are fermented? Popular fermented foods include things like wine, beer, yogurt, certain aged cheeses, and even chocolate and coffee.

One of the most popular fermented foods globally is yogurt, which has been consumed in certain parts of the world for thousands of years, along with closely related kefir.

Throughout history, fermenting foods gave our ancestors the option of prolonging the freshness of grains, vegetables and milk that were available to them during different seasons.

It’s relatively simple to make a large batch of fermented foods to have ready to eat in your refrigerator — plus they should last a pretty long time due to the beneficial bacteria they contain. In fact, eating fermented (or “cultured”) foods is the most convenient way to obtain a daily dose of probiotic bacteria that support gut health and more.

Studies suggest that some of the many ways these foods support overall health include by:

  • improving digestion and cognitive function
  • boosting immunity
  • helping treat irritable bowel disease
  • providing minerals that build bone density
  • helping fight allergies
  • killing harmful yeast and microbes

Top 15 Fermented Foods

Below is a list of some of the best fermented foods to include in your diet:

1. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk product (made from cow, goat or sheep’s milk) that tastes like a drinkable yogurt. Kefir benefits include providing high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics.

Kefir has been consumed for well over 3,000 years. The term kefir was started in Russia and Turkey and means “feeling good.”

2. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented drink made of black tea and sugar (from various sources like cane sugar, fruit or honey). It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that is responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar.

Do fermented foods like kombucha contain alcohol? Kombucha has trace amounts of alcohol but too little to cause intoxication or even to be noticeable.

Other fermented foods, such as yogurt or fermented veggies, typically do not have any alcohol at all.

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is one of the oldest traditional foods, with very long roots in German, Russian and Chinese cuisine, dating back 2,000 years or more. Sauerkraut means “sour cabbage” in German, although the Germans weren’t actually the first to make sauerkraut. (It’s believed the Chinese were.)

Made from fermented green or red cabbage, sauerkraut is high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and B vitamins. It’s also a great source of iron, copper, calcium, sodium, manganese and magnesium.

Is store-bought sauerkraut fermented? Not always, especially the canned/processed kind.

Real, traditional, fermented sauerkraut needs to be refrigerated, is usually stored in glass jars and says that it is fermented on the package/label.

4. Pickles

Didn’t think that pickles had probiotics? Fermented pickles contain a ton vitamins and minerals, plus antioxidants and gut-friendly probiotic bacteria.

Are store-bought pickles fermented? Not usually.

Most store-bought pickles are made with vinegar and cucumbers, and although this makes the pickles taste sour, this doesn’t lead to natural fermentation. Fermented pickles should be made with cucumbers and brine (salt + water).

What is the best brand of pickles if you want probiotics? When choosing a jar of pickles, look for “lactic acid fermented pickles” made by a manufacturer that uses organic products and brine, refrigerates the pickles, and states that the pickles have been fermented.

If you can find a local maker, such as at a farmers market, you’ll get some of the best probiotics for your health.

5. Miso

Miso is created by fermenting soybeans, barley or brown rice with koji, a type of fungus. It’s a traditional Japanese ingredient in recipes including miso soup.

It’s been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets for approximately 2,500 years.

6. Tempeh

Another beneficial fermented food made with soybeans is tempeh, a product that is created by combining soybeans with a tempeh starter (which is a mix of live mold). When it sits for a day or two, this results it in becoming a dense, cake-like product that contains both probiotics and a hefty dose of protein too.

Tempeh is similar to tofu but not as spongy and more “grainy.”

7. Natto

Natto is a popular food in Japan consisting of fermented soybeans. It is sometimes even eaten for breakfast in Japan and commonly combined with soy sauce, karashi mustard and Japanese bunching onion.

After fermentation it develops a strong smell, deep flavor and sticky, slimy texture that not everyone who is new to natto appreciates.

8. Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish that is made from vegetables, including cabbage, plus spices like ginger, garlic, pepper and other seasoning. It’s often added to Korean recipes like rice bowls, ramen or bibimbap.

It’s considered a Korean delicacy that dates back to the seventh century.

9. Raw Cheese

Raw milk cheeses are made with milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. Goat milk, sheep milk and A2 cows soft cheeses are particularly high in probiotics, including thermophillus, bifidus, bulgaricus and acidophilus.

In order to find real fermented/aged cheeses, read the ingredient label and look for cheese that has not been pasteurized. The label should indicate that the cheese is raw and has been aged for six months or more.

10. Yogurt

Is fermented milk the same as yogurt? Essentially, yes.

Yogurt and kefir are unique dairy products because they are highly available and some of the top probiotic foods that many people eat regularly. Probiotic yogurt is now the most consumed fermented dairy product in the United States and many other industrialized nations too.

It’s recommend when buying yogurt to look for three things:

  1. It comes from goat or sheep milk if you have trouble digesting cow’s milk.
  2. It’s made from the milk of animals that have been grass-fed.
  3. It’s organic.

11. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar that is raw and contains “the mother” is fermented and does contain some probiotics. It also contains certain types of acids like acetic acid, which supports the function of probiotics and prebiotics in your gut.

However, most vinegars available in the supermarket do not contain probiotics.

You can add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a drink twice a day. Before breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner, add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in your meal, and then start consuming more fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi or drinking kvass to really boost probiotic levels.

12. Kvass

Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage that has a similar taste to beer. Much like kombucha, it goes through a fermentation process and contains probiotics.

It’s made from stale, sourdough rye bread and is considered a non-alcoholic beverage because it contains only around 0.5 percent to 1 percent alcohol. The longer it ferments, the more susceptible it is to becoming more alcoholic.

If you’ve never tasted kvass, it has a tangy, earthy, salty flavor and can be an acquired taste. Sometimes it is brewed with flavors from fruits (such as raisins and strawberries) and herbs (such as mint) to make it more appealing.

13. Sourdough Bread

Certain traditionally made breads, such as real sourdough bread, are fermented, but they don’t contain probiotics. Fermentation helps make nutrients found in the grains more available for absorption and reduces antinutrient content that may make digestion difficult.

14. Cottage Cheese

Because more research is confirming that probiotics are highly beneficial, food manufacturers are beginning to make probiotic dairy products such as cottage cheese more readily available. Similar to yogurt, cottage cheese can be fermented when bacteria help break down the lactose (a type of sugar) in the dairy.

When purchasing cottage cheese, look for brands that are low in sugar and that contain active cultures. Some types are also called dry curd cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese.

15. Coconut Kefir

For those who can’t tolerate dairy, coconut kefir is a great alternative. This probiotic-rich drink is made with creamy coconut milk and kefir grains, but unlike regular kefir or yogurt it’s dairy-free and vegan-friendly.

Try it in smoothies, in baked goods, with fruit, on its own, etc. Just opt for brands that are low in sugar or unflavored, and consider adding your own stevia, fruit or honey for extra flavor.

Benefits

Why are fermented foods good for you? The consumption of fermented, probiotic foods has many positive effects on not only the digestive system, but basically the whole body.

For example, a 2017 review explains that compounds within these foods have “anti-microbial effects,  anti-carcinogenic and anti-microbial properties, and bioactive peptides that exhibit anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, opioid antagonist, anti-allergenic, and blood pressure lowering effects.”

The microbes that we obtain from eating probiotic foods help create a protective lining in the intestines and shield against pathogenic factors, such as salmonella and E.coli. They may also represent a potential avenue to counter the pro-inflammatory effects of gut dysbiosis.

Fermented foods nutrition is also important for increasing antibodies and building a stronger immune system. Plus, these foods regulate the appetite and reduce sugar and refined carb cravings.

In fact, eating cultured/probiotic foods can help treat candida gut as part of a candida diet.

Another benefit is that lacto-fermentation enhances the nutrient content of foods and makes the minerals in cultured foods more readily available. Bacteria in fermented foods also produce vitamins and enzymes that are beneficial for digestion/gut health.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology states, “Recent scientific investigation has supported the important role of probiotics as a part of a healthy diet for human as well as for animals and may be an avenue to provide a safe, cost effective, and ‘natural’ approach that adds a barrier against microbial infection.”

Believe it or not, there’s now even evidence that fermented foods reduce social anxiety. Recent research spearheaded by the University of Maryland School of Social Work found a link between social anxiety disorder and gut health.

A big part of our emotions seem to be influenced by the nerves in our guts (the enteric nervous system). It appears that microbiota influence the gut-brain communication, mood control and behaviors, hence the term “gut-brain connection.”

In animal studies, depression has been found to be linked to the interplay of the brain and gut health, and people with chronic fatigue syndrome have also been found to benefit from probiotic consumption.

Below are benefits of eating some of the most common fermented foods:

  • Yogurt — Yogurt intake has been found to be associated with better overall diet quality, healthier metabolic profiles and healthier blood pressure.
  • Kombucha — After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic).
  • Sauerkraut — Studies suggest that sauerkraut has a variety of beneficial effects on human health. It can help boost digestive health, aid in circulation, fight inflammation, strengthen bones and reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Pickles — Pickles alone can help address the all-too-common vitamin K deficiency, as one small pickle contains a healthy dose of this fat-soluble vitamin, which plays an important role in bone and heart health.
  • Kimchi — Kimchi is known to improve cardiovascular and digestive health and has high levels of antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of serious health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and gastric ulcers. A report published in Bioactive Foods in Health Promotion states, “Health functionality of kimchi, based upon our research and that of others, includes anticancer, antioxidative, antiobesity, anti-constipation, serum cholesterol and lipid-controlling, antidiabetic, and immune-boosting effects.”
  • Natto — It contains the extremely powerful probiotic bacillus subtilis, which has been proven to support the immune system and cardiovascular health. It also enhances the digestion of vitamin K2. In addition to these natto benefits, it contains a powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme called nattokinase that has been shown to potentially have cancer-fighting effects.
  • Miso — Miso has anti-aging properties and can help maintain healthy skin. It also boosts the immune system, may help lower the risk of certain types of cancer, improves bone health and promotes a healthy nervous system.
  • Tempeh — Tempeh contains high levels of vitamins B5, B6, B3 and B2. Eating it regularly may help reduce cholesterol, increase bone density, reduce menopausal symptoms, promote muscle recovery and has roughly the same protein content as meat.

How to Ferment Foods

What are fermented foods exactly? When a food is fermented, it means that it’s left to sit and steep until the sugars and carbs that the food naturally contains interact with bacteria, yeast and microbes to change the chemical structure of the food.

The definition of fermentation is “the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.” The process of fermentation converts compounds, such as a carbohydrate, including vegetables and sugar, to carbon dioxide and alcohol to an organic acid.

According to recent studies, most fermented products have been found to contain at least 1 million microbial cells per gram, with amounts varying depending on variables such as the food’s region, age and time at which it was consumed.

The fermentation of foods such as milk and vegetables is also a great way to preserve them for a longer period of time and to make their nutrients more bioavailable (absorbable).

How Is Yogurt Fermented, and How Are Fermented Veggies Made?

According to the Milk Facts website, yogurt is made with a starter culture that ferments lactose (milk sugar) and turns it into lactic acid, which is partially responsible for yogurt’s tangy flavor. Lactic acid decreases pH of milk, causes it to clot and thicken, and gives it a smooth texture.

After fermentation, yogurt contains the characteristic bacterial cultures called Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilusLactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are the only two cultures required by law to be present in yogurt.

Kefir and yogurt are made in a similar way, but the two are a bit different because kefir is made at room temperature with continuous use of kefir grains, which contain a variety of bacteria and yeast. Kefir contains a larger range of bacteria, in addition to containing yeasts, and is more tart/sour than yogurt.

Most fermented vegetables are cultured via the process of lactic acid fermentation (or lacto-fermentation), which occurs when veggies are chopped and salted. Fermented veggies contain high acidity and low pH that usually make them shelf-safe and safe to consume for longer than fresh vegetables.

Many fermented vegetables are also made with additional ingredients like coriander, garlic, ginger and red pepper, which also offer various health benefits. The exact microbial counts found in fermented veggies depend on the nutrient status of the fresh produce used and varies with seasons, maturity stage, environmental humidity, temperature and the use of pesticides, among other factors.

How Often Should You Eat Fermented Foods?

If you’re new to fermented foods, start by having about a half a cup per day, and build up gradually from there. This gives your gut time to adjust to the presence of new bacteria.

It’s best to eat a variety of different fermented foods, since each one offers different beneficial bacteria.

Where can you buy fermented foods? These days, you can find them at just about any supermarket.

Yogurt is widely available, and other fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi are becoming easier to find. Look for fermented foods in health food stores, large supermarkets and at your local farmers market.

It’s also wise to eat plenty of prebiotic foods and high-fiber foods daily (such as artichokes, bananas, onions and other plants), which help “feed” probiotics in the gut.

How Can I Make Fermented Foods at Home?

What foods can you ferment at home? The list is long and includes many vegetables, grains, soybeans, milk, etc.

For example, fermented vegetables you can prepare at home include cabbage, carrots, green beans, turnips, radishes and beetroots.

Here is a basic homemade fermented foods recipe using vegetables you may already have on hand (you can learn more about making cultured veggies by checking out this homemade sauerkraut recipe):

  • Fermenting vegetables is relatively easy, and you only need a jar with some salt and water. Salt and water combined make brine, which aids in the fermentation process.
  • Use a regular wide-mouth mason jar. Prepare the vegetables for fermenting by grating, shredding, chopping, slicing or leaving them whole.
  • Once the vegetables have been prepared and placed in the chosen jar, cover them with brine, and weigh them down so they don’t float up. Thoroughly sprinkle the salt onto the veggies, and massage them a bit. Add any other ingredients, such as spices. If there’s not enough liquid released, add more salted water (brine). There should be a little room at the top of the jar since bubbles will form during fermentation. Make sure the lid is on tightly while the veggies ferment.
  • Most veggies need two to seven days to ferment. The longer you leave them to ferment, the stronger the taste will get. Once the vegetables are finished culturing, move them to cold storage.

When making certain fermented food you may require the use of kefir grains, whey, yeast or a starter culture, depending on the exact recipe and your personal taste. (You can refer to the Cultures for Health website for specific recommendations.)

Fermented Food Recipes:

Here are ideas for adding fermented foods to your diet:

  • Add sauerkraut and pickles to your favorite burger slider recipe.
  • Try adding yogurt or kefir to these healthy smoothie recipes.
  • Make a salad dressing with apple cider vinegar, raw honey, olive oil and dijon mustard, and toss on one of your favorite salads. You can add cultured veggies like radish, sauerkraut, etc., to salads as well.
  • Make a meatless dinner by subbing tempeh for meat in this Buddha bowl recipe.
  • Try this simple miso soup recipe with mushrooms.
  • Add kimchi to a veggie stir-fry or homemade ramen bowl.
  • Sip on kombucha, combined with some seltzer if you’d like, instead of soda or other sweetened drinks.

Fermented Foods on Keto:

No matter what type of diet you follow, it’s a good idea to consume probiotic foods regularly. If you’re following the ketogenic diet, it’s highly recommended that you regularly include cultured vegetables, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, in your meals.

These provide probiotics along with essential vitamins and minerals, and they can supply salt, which is needed on the keto diet to balance water loss.

A small amount of full-fat (ideally raw) dairy products, such as unsweetened yogurt or kefir, may also be consumed on the keto diet. Just be sure to avoid any product that is sweetened with fruit, sugar, etc.

Dairy products should be limited to only “now and then” due to containing natural sugars. Higher-fat, aged cheeses have the least carbs and can be consumed in quantities of about 1/4 cup per day.

Limit yogurt/kefir to about 1/2 cup per day or less.

You can also use apple cider vinegar in dressings, marinades, etc., or mixed with water.

Fermented Foods in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda:

A healthy Ayurvedic diet includes fermented foods, such as yogurt, amasai and miso. Many different seasonal vegetables may be fermented to prolong how long they are edible, such as asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, fennel root (anise), garlic, green beans, etc.

Ayurvedic and Indian fermented foods are often combined with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. These include turmeric, cumin, fennel, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, clove, rock salt, mint, black pepper and oregano.

Fermented foods are especially encouraged for vata types, who can benefit from foods that have a natural sour and salty taste, rather than those that are bitter, pungent and astringent.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fermented foods are included in the diet to help prevent deficiencies, support the gut and vital organs, and improve detoxification. The stomach and spleen are the two main pathways that TCM practitioners believe are related to qi (“vital energy”) deficiency, and both of these organs can suffer due to low nutrient intake, use of medications, stress and other factors.

Sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented/pickled vegetables and fruits are utilized to help restore the healthy bacterial colonies found within the gastrointestinal tract. Soy sauce, black beans, radishes and other foods are also commonly fermented in China and used in TCM.

These foods make it easier for the gut to allow nutrients to be absorbed during digestion and can build immune deficiencies.

Risks and Side Effects

Why might fermented foods be bad for you? While they certainly have lots of benefits to offer, one disadvantage of fermented foods is that when you consume too much, especially too quickly, you may deal with some digestive issues. These can include bloating or diarrhea.

Start slowly, and experiment with different kinds to find your favorites.

If you have a sensitive digestive system you may want to start off with a smaller amount, like several tablespoons of kefir or one probiotic capsule a day, and work your way up.

For the greatest fermented foods benefits, try to purchase foods that are organic and contain “live and active cultures.” This is better than the label “made with active cultures.”

After fermentation, some poor quality products may be heat-treated, which kills off both good and bad bacteria (extending shelf life). Ideally you want to find raw, organic and local products that do not contain lots of sugar or additives.

Conclusion

  • Fermented foods are those that are left to sit and steep until the sugars and carbs that the food naturally contains interact with bacteria, yeast and microbes. This changes the chemical structure of the food and results in the creation of healthy probiotics.
  • What foods are fermented? Some of the most widely available include kombucha, yogurt, aged/raw cheeses, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, natto and kimchi. Other healthy foods that are fermented include apple cider vinegar, wine, sourdough bread, cottage cheese and coconut kefir.
  • These foods naturally provide us with probiotics, beneficial bacteria that mostly live within our gut/digestive systems.
  • Health benefits of fermented foods and probiotics include improving digestion/gut health, boosting immunity, helping treat GI issues like irritable bowel disease, providing minerals that build bone density, helping fight allergies, supporting heart and metabolic health, and killing harmful yeast and microbes that cause issues like candida.