By Elizabeth Keyser
Earthy, tangy, meaty: it’s that indescribable “fifth taste” known as umami. Foods that have been fermented deliver umami, and they also have unique health benefits, especially for people with diabetes. Fermentation is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. It’s what transforms milk into yogurt; cabbage into sauerkraut and Korean kimchi; soybeans into miso; and fruit into vinegar. The best part is that research shows that these foods are good for your blood sugar levels. The acids in fermented foods—lactic and acetic acid—interfere with carbohydrates’ turning into blood sugar, thereby reducing spikes. These benefits can carry over to the next meal—but that’s not all.