One reason, besides taste, that I am interested in fermented foods is the fact that it might be healthy food. A reason often quoted for the health benefits of fermented food is that it contains live bacteria.

Tasty and healthy?

Research is being done on why bacteria might be beneficial in our guts, or in this case the guts of flies and mice (and by extrapolation maybe us humans?)

The study looks at the way bacteria (in this case lactobacilli) interact with host cells when the system comes under threat from external sources.

bacteria relaxing

Some bacteria today

Flies and mice were used that don’t have bacteria in their gut (germ free) and those with bacteria including lactobacilli. The animals were then subjected to different environmental stresses: the flies were fed paraquat and the mice were exposed to radiation.

It was found that the animals with the lactobacilli had a much better chance of surviving.

graph showing the benefits of gut bacteria in fruit flies

The study postulated that the mechanism for this effect was on the cellular level.

The suggestion is that the animals evolved together and have a symbiotic relationship, the organisms help each other out, in this case the bacteria is helping at a cellular level to protect the host cells from damage.

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist! And have no experience reading scientific papers, or ascertaining their validity. On the surface the paper appears authentic. I write the article as an interested individual.