You can support your gut health with fermented, nutrient-potent foods. Ranging from tangy to bitterly-sweet in flavor, these foods originated decades ago in the cultures of Japan, China, India, and Germany.
Fermenting imbues foods with the health-enhancing properties of live bacteria, providing an ample source of probiotics, which are essential to a strong digestive tract. Probiotics help build up antibodies to pathogens and provide for a strong “gut immunity” which is key to maintaining overall vibrant health.
Fermented Foods Short List
- Cultured Dairy: Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream, and some cheeses
- Veggies: Beets, radishes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, kimchi, green beans, sauerkraut
- Condiments fermented at home or commercially: ketchup, relish, salsa, chutney
- Other: Miso, tempeh, tofu, soy sauce, and kombucha (check that sugar content is not high on any pre-packaged or bottled fermented food).
Tips for Choosing & Storing Fermented Food
- Food labels must be marked “fermented.”
- Fermented and “pasteurized” do not go together. Pasteurization kills live cultures.
- Pickled is not the same as fermented (unless indicated on the label). Pickled foods are soaked in vinegar or brine.
- Choose organic, non-GMO items or locally farmed products.
- All fermented foods must be kept cool to maintain the live cultures.
Adding Fermented Foods to Your Daily Diet
When introducing fermented foods to your daily diet, start with small servings such as 1-2x a day. A few easy ways to sneak in fermented foods: Toss fermented veggies into salads or rice dishes. Enjoy fermented food as a snack or as a side dish (e.g., beets, tempeh, kimchi). Add a spoonful of a fermented food to your morning smoothie (e.g., beets, kefir).
- Rawlings, Dierdre, Ph.D., N.D (2013).Fermented Foods for Health: Use the Power of Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Digestion, Strengthen Your Immunity, and Prevent Illness. Fair Winds Press.
- Nevin Şanlier, Büşra Başar Gökcen & Aybüke Ceyhun Sezgin, “Health benefits of fermented foods.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. (2017) DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355
- Chilton, Stephanie N., et. al. (2014). Inclusion of Fermented Foods in Food Guides Around the World. Nutrients7(1), 390-404. http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/7/1/390
- Fermented Foods that Boost Digestive Health. http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/traditional-fermented-foods-examples/
- Fermented Foods: How to ‘Culture’ Your Way to Good Health http://articles.mercola.com/fermented-foods.aspx
- Schwenk, Donna. (2013) Cultured Food for Life: How to Make and Serve Delicious Probiotic Foods for Better Health and Wellness. Hay House, Inc.