Abstract of the chapter

Fermented foods: are they able to obtain the postulated effects of probiotics? 

Alvaro Daschner

The application of the hygiene hypothesis to the emerging knowledge on the human microbiota can also be carried out by studying foods, which are not only a source of possible pathogens. Especially in their fermented forms foods are also able to pro-vide us with beneficial microorganisms and their products. These microorganisms are related to the multitude of probiotics for which healthy effects are postulated.

Starting from the microbiota hypothesis, which describes the relationship between the diseases of civilization and the modification of the intestinal microbiota, the origin of the fermentation of food and the possible adaptation of humans to these is analyzed. During the Neolithic, we have not only had access to new sources of food, but also to new forms of preparation, fermentation being one of them, which on the other hand is at risk of falling into disuse. The possible pre- and probiotic effects of fermented foods are also analyzed.

While the new food technologies open the doors to the design of probiotics with specific effects on health, we should not leave aside the studies on the possible healthiness of traditionally fermented foods.