Fermented foods are popular for good reasons; they improve digestion, weight management and boost immunity. Incorporating these foods to your diet is one way to boost your overall gut health. Like pickles, kimchi, and yogurt, fermented food items are rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that thrive on the food during the fermentation process.

If you’re curious about what fermented foods you should eat, here are eight of them with their health benefits:

1. Yogurt

Perhaps, this is the most popular source of probiotics. Yogurt is made from good bacteria, mainly bifidobacteria and lactic acid.

Eating yogurt is often associated with stronger bones. It also helps reduce the chances of diarrhea and relieves irritable bowel movements. However, not all yogurts contain live probiotics, as live bacteria are killed during the process. Because of this, look for one that says with live or active cultures.

2. Pickles

Pickles are cucumbers and other vegetables soaked in water and salt. They are left to ferment on their own bacteria, making them taste sour. Pickles are a great source of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. Other than the grocery store, you can find pickles online in many different varieties.

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is often served as toppings on hotdogs and sausages. Made from finely chopped cabbage, sauerkraut delivers a healthy dose of fibre, vitamins B, C and K. You can either make them on your own or grab one from the grocery. Be sure to get one from the fridge section as it has more probiotics than the canned or jarred varieties on shelves.

4. Kimchi

Sauerkraut’s Korean cousin, kimchi is spicy, fermented cabbage. It is flavoured with a mix of spices, such as ginger, garlic and red chilli pepper flakes. Look for one in the grocery’s refrigerated section, near the Asian goodies or the pickle area. You can eat it on its own or serve it as a side dish.

5. Kombucha

This is a fermented black or green tea that’s rich in good yeast and bacteria. This drink usually comes in fruity flavours to enhance its taste. Just like finding pickles online, you can find kombucha in online health shops and groceries, too.

6. Sourdough

With the advent of quick-rise bread, sourdough fermentation has become less popular. But this type of bread is much healthier than the processed ones we commonly have today. Although sourdough does not have active probiotic cultures, it has a lower glycaemic index than those made from commercial yeast.

7. Tempeh

Tempeh, a type of fermented soybean, is described to have an earthy and nutty flavour. Interestingly, its fermentation produces vitamin B12, a nutrient not found on soybeans and which is common in meat, dairy and fish.

8. Kefir

Kefir is cow’s or goat’s milk that’s fermented using kefir grains. Since it’s milk, it is rich in calcium, which improves bone health. It also helps alleviate digestive problems and boosts the immune system.

There are many healthy probiotic foods available out there, including fermented vegetables and dairies, such as those mentioned above. Although it’s perfectly fine to take probiotic supplements, there’s also nothing wrong with incorporating these healthy preserves to your everyday diet. Nevertheless, they are as delicious as they are healthy!

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Mark Henry

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