Why are fermented vegetables good for your digestive system?
A very recent study of the microorganisms present in Kimchi shows that the fermentation process of Kimchi produces a lot of good bacteria, such as Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Lactobacillus, and also bacteriophages. Leuconostoc mesenteroides has the ability to inhibit the growth of other bacteria. Lactobacillus is a latic acid bacteria which is considered as a probiotic. Bacteriophages are predators of bacteria.
Whereas the beneficial effects of fermented vegetables are not fully understood, their merits cannot be underestimated. Whether you have Native American, African, European, or Asian ancestors, most if not all adopted some kind of diets that have included fermented vegetables in them.
Pickled cucumbers or other vegetables, for instance, has been a common food item for almost all Europeans throughout history. Whereas the pickled cucumbers you buy from supermarkets may not be fermented, true pickled cucumbers are.
Apple cider (or other fruit) vinegar is also fermented. Whereas the apple cider vinegar that you buy from the supermarket is filtered (does not contain the mother), true apple cider vinegar containing the mother may be as healthy as Kimchi.
Modern diets and commercialization of fermented vegetables have changed the diet that we have inherited from our ancestors without being noticed. This may be a critical reason why more and more people have digestive system problems, such as SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Making and eating your own fermented vegetables may revert this trend.
J Y Jung et al. "Metagenomic Analysis of Kimchi, a Traditional Korean Fermented Food," Appl. Environ. Microbiol. April 2011 vol. 77 no. 7.