After some health complications with antibiotics a few years back, Jenneta Mammedova thought there had to be a better way to heal. So, she decided to start fermenting foods and eating them for the health benefits. After four years eating kimchi, sauerkraut and fermented beets, she thought it was time to bottle her creations, and Prescription Foods was born.
“I started this business because I have seen so much healing brought to me and my family,” says Mammedova, who runs the business out of her North Side home. “I wanted to share what I have experienced.”
Fermented foods create probiotics (a.k.a. “good bacteria”) that can have a positive effect on gut health. And when probiotics are created without the use of sugars or vinegar, like Prescription Foods products, those probiotics can be very beneficial. And Mammedova says that ingesting good bacteria created naturally in food is better than taking over-the-counter supplements.
“You should make food your medicine,” says Mammedova, who believes this can get to the core of health problems. “You shouldn’t just take medication that masks the symptoms.”
She was inspired to introduce more fermented foods into her family’s diet due to her upbringing in the central Asian country of Turkmenistan. There, Mammedova says, fermented foods are part of every meal, typically as condiments to help digest meats and starches.
With Prescription Foods, Mammedova offers Turkmen-style sauerkraut, as well as fermented coconut products that are unique to the Pittsburgh region. (She says fermented coconut water and milk provide benefits of dairy-like cultures, without the dairy.)
For those turned off by the sour taste of fermented foods, Mammedova says people should start slow, with just a tablespoon a day. “If someone gives you medicine, it can taste nasty,” she says. “Fermented foods are better than that.”
Prescription Foods can be purchased at Allegheny City Market, in the North Side; Sunny Bridge Natural Foods, in Peters Township; and the Health Hut, in Beaver Falls.