Probiotics and fermented or aged foods, such as pickles, sauerkraut and blue cheese, may help prevent diabetes. Researchers at Cambridge University say that aged foods could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25% over 11 years.
When certain foods are left to ferment, 'good' bacteria and yeast that occur naturally break down the sugar and starches they contain, making the nutrients easier to absorb. Some also release lactic acid, a natural preservative which stimulates the growth of good bacteria – this aids digestion and stimulates the immune system.
Food that has this probiotic effect, such as some yoghurts, can also help to control the symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and it may protect against diarrhoea.
Fermented foods include:
- Cured olives
- Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage)
- Probiotic yoghurt
- Cottage cheese
- Blue cheese