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Are fermented foods as good for you as the headlines say?

Sales of fermented foods and products that contain live bacteria and yeasts known as probiotics are now worth billions of pounds a year. But is this way of eating really a recipe for a healthy gut and improved wellbeing – or just another fad? Sue Quinn investigates

THE SANE VIEW

Scientists’ rapidly expanding knowledge about the microbes in our guts and the effect they have on our health has seen sales of foods containing probiotics soar in recent years. The global market for these foods, drinks and supplements that claim to contain live beneficial bacteria was worth £30 billion in 2015 according to one report, and is forecast to rise by almost 50 per cent by 2023. The big question is, do probiotics actually work?

Research into the human microbiome – the billions of microbes that call the human body home – is still in its infancy, but according to scientists working on this new medical frontier, some facts are clear. Gut bacteria are crucial for human health, especially for brain development, digestion and maintaining a healthy immune system. Disruption of certain gut microbes, scientists believe, might be responsible for a wide range of common health problems, too.

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The May issue of delicious. has everything you need for the best bank holiday feasting, with a laid-back brunch, juicy tarragon roast chicken, proper lemon curd sponges and more. If you’re planning a walk, be sure to pack the brilliant picnic dishes from River Cottage’s Gill Meller. You’ll also find homemade scampi, duck ragù, good-for-you veggie ideas and easy midweek meals, plus the rules and recipes guaranteed to lift your cooking to the next level.
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