The surprising benefits of sour food
Sour foods are becoming a popular flavor alternative to sweet and salty tastes, while having real health benefits.
Sour foods go through a fermentation process that gives off their unique and distinct texture and flavor. The more acidic the substance, the more sour the taste.
“Sour foods are not bad for you. Sourness is the result of high amounts of acid in the food,” said Melodi Peters, registered dietitian at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, IL.
The detection of sour is thought to be important for survival. It can help identify foods that could be dangerous to consume, as rotten or spoiled foods often have a sour flavor due to the growth of bacteria.
This doesn’t mean that sour foods are always unsafe to eat. In fact, many sour foods are quite nutritious and rich in plant compounds called antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage. Citrus fruits, for example, contain a high concentration of citric acid-a naturally occurring compound found in a variety of fruits that imparts a tart, sour flavor. In addition to being the best natural sources of citric acid, these fruits are known for being high in Vitamin C, which is essential for a strong immune system and skin health.
Foods such as rhubarb, tart cherries, gooseberries, kimchi, yogurt, and kefir are non-citrus examples of sour foods that are nutritious.
“All food is to be enjoyed in reasonable amounts, and sour flavors add interest to dishes, “said Peters.
For some people, acidic foods may contribute to acid reflux or GERD. If you find that too many acidic foods upset your stomach, it is best to eat them with other foods or in moderation. Mint, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, high fat, and spicy foods may also trigger an acid reflux flare-up.
Sour foods can also have a surprising benefit. As we age, the number of taste buds decreases, and our remaining taste buds begin to shrink and do not function as well. Sour and tart foods such as citrus flavors like lemons, lime and grapefruit can enhance and stimulate the taste buds, and appetite.