Fermented foods: are these able to obtain the postulated effcts of probiotics?
The application of the hygiene hypothesis to the emerging knowledge on the human microbiota can also be analysed 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 in relationship with a vast array of probiotics with postulated health effects.
Taking as a starting point the microbiota hypothesis, which describes the existing relationship between diseases of civilization and the modification of the gut microbi-ota, the origin of food fermentation and the possible human adaptation to them is analyzed. During the Neolithic era we gained access not only to new food sources, but also to new methods of preparing them, such as fermentation, otherwise with a risk to fall into disuse. The possible pre- and probiotic effects of fermented food are analyzed.
Whereas new food technologies are paving the way for the design of probiotics with specific health effects, we should not leave apart the study about the health potential of fermented foods.