Professor Emeritus Etsuko Fukushiyama, Kagoshima Women’s Junior College

Having fermented foods that improve the intestinal environment on the dining table

It has been a long time since the correlation between the westernization of the Japanese people’s diet and the increase in lifestyle-related diseases has been pointed out. As a result, the Internet, TV, and magazines are filled with information related to food and health. Professor Emeritus Etsuko Fukushiyama of the Kagoshima Women’s Junior College is continuing her research on traditional Japanese food and health of the Japanese people. At the same time, she is also making efforts to convey food education activities to the next generation.
When she was a student, Professor Fukushiyama learned the depth and importance of tea-kaiseki cuisine from the late Kaichi Tsuji, a well-known Japanese cuisine researcher of Tsujiru tea kaiseki. We asked her about the ideal way for eating habits rooted in traditional culture and the relationship between Japanese food and our health, especially cooking with fermented foods.

──Foods that claim to improve the intestinal environment are booming.

Now, there is not a day when I do not see advertisements for supplements and dietary supplements on TV and in the newspapers. I think it is very good that more and more people are conscious of maintaining and improving their health through food. However, each person’s constitution and physical condition are different. There is a difference in body size between Westerners and Japanese, and the digestion time of food is also different. First of all, I think it is necessary to get to know your own body and think again about “what and how eating leads to good health” from various angles.
Numerous studies have shown that the intestine has an important role in controlling the systemic immunity and that the intestine digests and absorbs without commands from the brain and is deeply involved in emotional control. It is becoming clear that the intestine is the “second brain.”
The importance of preparing such an intestinal environment has become known, and recently, attention has been focused on foods related to lactic acid bacteria and related foods. Many of the fermented foods we eat on a daily basis contain lactic acid bacteria and other substances that are said to help improve the intestinal environment. In particular, traditional Japanese foods have many fermented foods, and the menu is designed so that you can continuously ingest useful foods for intestinal bacteria.