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Fermented Foods for Gut Health

Wednesday, June 19, 2019



Fermentation was used historically as a food preservation process where sugars are broken down by bacteria and yeasts. As such, fermented foods are a great source of probiotics because they contain live bacteria. Pickling is another food preservation process, that uses an acid such as vinegar or a brine (salty water) to preserve the food. ONLY pickles fermented with salt, not vinegar, contain probiotics. You will likely find the truly fermented foods in the refrigerated section rather than on the shelves. 

Through the process of fermentation of dairy products, the bacteria help break down the lactose (a sugar) making fermented dairy foods such as kefir, yogurt, and cottage cheese (be sure to choose the fermented with active cultures!) acceptable for individuals with lactose intolerance.

Try incorporating at least one serving of one or more of the fermented foods below to support your gut health. When cooking with fermented foods, add them as a topping or mix them in at the end to avoid killing the beneficial probiotics with high heat. 

Top Fermented Foods

  • Kefir
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Dry Curd Cottage Cheese or Farmer’s Cheese, or fermented cottage cheese
  • Certain aged cheeses (check label for live and active cultures)
  • Fermented Vegetables
  • Tempeh (choose gluten free)
  • Miso (refrigerated)
  • Pickles (in salt, not vinegar)
  • Sauerkraut (choose refrigerated)
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha (no sugar)
  • Other probiotic drinks (no sugar), like beet Kvass, apple cider
  • Various other cultured products
  • You can also easily make fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut at home!

For an easy recipe try making a Miso Sauce for topping vegetables, fish, or chicken!


  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (all natural)
  • 1/2 cup miso
  • 2 tbsp honey – local is best, or use spices if you prefer a savory taste
  • 1/2 C hot water


Mix all ingredients well.  Use on salads, vegetables, fish.  Be creative!