These are the 7 Best Fermented Foods for Gut Health

Over the past few years, fermented foods have made a huge splash in the mainstream food scene. While fermented foods were originally valued by a slew of cultures over history for their longevity (without refrigerators, ancient people needed to preserve their foods somehow), today people around the globe incorporate them for their probiotic microbes, as well as for their stellar shelf-life and taste.

How Do Fermented Foods Help Your Gut?

The human body contains around 100 trillion bacteria and microorganisms in its digestive tract, give or take. Fermented foods bolster gut health by improving the different kinds of flora living in our gut microbiomes, which in turn keeps us digesting healthily and regularly. Additionally, fermented foods assist our bodies in expelling toxins.

Sound good? Then you may be ready to begin incorporating fermented foods into your diet.

Before you start overdosing on the good stuff, just remember that if you’ve never eaten fermented, probiotic-rich foods before, easing them into your diet slowly is your key to success. Begin with eating one serving of fermented food a day, and keep track of how you feel. Too much of a good thing too fast could actually disrupt your gut health and make you feel worse.

These are the Best Fermented Foods for Gut Health

The Best Fermented Foods

The best fermented foods for your gut are the ones that were fermented naturally and therefore contain probiotics, which are those live bacteria that aid in gut health.

Some fermented foods, however, do not contain live organisms, due to the process by which they were fermented. For example, the heat-treatment required to make sourdough bread often inactivates the microorganisms that it would otherwise contain.

The following fermented foods are rich in probiotics and great for your gut health.

1. Sauerkraut

Made from fermented cabbage—which is loaded with gut-friendly B vitamins—sauerkraut is one of the oldest traditional foods. Tangy, pleasantly sour, and crunchy, it is also rich in fiber.

2. Kimchi

Think of kimchi as the Korean version of sauerkraut. Spicy and versatile, you’ll be able to pick up this condiment at most Asian markets in the refrigerated section. If you’re eating vegan, just look out for fish sauce and shrimp paste on the ingredients list.

3. Kombucha

Made with tea, bacteria, sugar and yeast, kombucha is the ubiquitous drink at most health-food stores and comes in a variety of different flavors.

4. Miso

Loaded with umami—a category of taste in food that could be described as deeply savory—miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning that is made by fermenting soybeans and sometimes barley or rice malt. It is intensely salty and bursting with flavor and is the key ingredient in the ever-popular miso soup.

5. Yogurt

Did you know that yogurt is just fermented milk? Not all yogurt is probiotic-rich, so look for yogurt labeled with a “Live & Active Cultures” seal, which denotes yogurt that still contains significant amounts of live and active cultures.

6. Kefir

Much like yogurt, kefir is a fermented milk drink that is chock full of calcium and up to 61 strains of bacterias and yeast. Drink up! You can find both dairy and non-dairy kefir at health food and specialty food stores.

7. Tempeh

Tempeh, which originated in Indonesia, is a fermented soybean product that has a slightly firmer texture than tofu and a pleasant, nutty taste.

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Maria P
Maria P15 hours ago

thank you for sharing

Helen C
Helen Cabout a month ago

Excellent article.

Frances G
Frances G1 months ago

thanks for sharing

Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago


Jan S
Jan S1 months ago

thank you for sharing

Mike R
Mike R1 months ago


hELEN h1 months ago


Sophie A
Sophie A1 months ago

Thank you

Mely L
Mely L2 months ago

I make my own sauerkraut every few months. It's really easy to make and delicious. I love kimchi and miso as well tho it can be expensive where I'm from.