If you’re having issues with your gut health and have yet to turn to fermented foods, you may be overlooking the solution to your problems.

A 2021 Stanford study on fermented food diets revealed that eating more fermented foods enhanced the diversity of gut microbes and decreased inflammation in participants.

You need to maintain a healthy gut biome because bacterial imbalances can lead to weight gain, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar, among other problems. On the other hand, the proper balance supports a healthy gut, aiding your digestive process, reducing inflammation, and strengthening your immune system.

We’ll offer advice on incorporating fermented foods into your daily diet, and how to safely make them at home to reap the above health benefits. But first, let’s go over which fermented foods are best for optimal gut health.


The bacterial fermentation of milk, with the addition of bacterial cultures, produces yogurt.

Yogurt promotes intestinal health. It’s full of probiotics otherwise known as the good bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Constantly consuming probiotics from yogurt helps you maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, strengthening your overall gut and digestive system.

Note that while a fermented food like yogurt can be beneficial for your gut health, there are certain conditions, like Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), it isn’t helpful for.

Dairy products made from cow’s milk and foods high in fat are on the list of foods to avoid when you have GERD. Dairy is a common trigger of acid reflux while foods high in fat relax your esophageal sphincter and slow the emptying of your stomach.

Be mindful of these potentially harmful effects before incorporating yogurt into your diet if you’re navigating GERD.


Kimchi is a traditional Korean food consisting of fermented vegetables and spices.  It is another great source of probiotics, helping you reduce symptoms of GI issues and improve digestive health. You can also prevent inflammation in the stomach and intestines with the probiotics found in Kimchi.

To make kimchi, you first need to cut the vegetables and then brine them in salt water for a couple of hours. Then rinse them, combine cooled rice flour paste with your spices, and toss your vegetables in the mixture. Finally,  put the veggies in a 2-quart glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and let them stand at room temperature for one to five days, depending on how sour you want your kimchi to be.


Aside from its sour taste complimenting hotdogs, sausages, and other foods, sauerkraut is one of the best fermented foods for optimal gut health.

Like yogurt and kimchi, sauerkraut is a healthy source of probiotics. It’s also a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

In addition, the enzymes in sauerkraut can help your body absorb necessary nutrients easier. Keep in mind that if your store does have real, traditional sauerkraut, you’ll find it in the refrigerated section in a glass jar with a label that says it’s fermented, not on the shelves.

Sauerkraut is made by cutting cabbage very thin, covering it with a specific amount of salt, and letting it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, you massage the cabbage, letting the liquid release.

Transfer the cabbage to a clean, dry jar, pack it, cover it with the liquid, and seal it tight. Allow lactic acid fermentation to take place for one to four weeks, depending on how sour you want it.


Instead of fermented foods, you may be more interested in fermented drinks, like kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, also known as SCOBY, to sweetened tea.

You can drink your probiotics with kombucha and access the same health benefits provided by the foods above, like reduced inflammation and the pushing out of bad bacteria in your gut.

Purchase SCOBY at a local natural foods store first. Then, brew your tea, let it cool, and add the SCOBY. Put the mixture in a jar with a breathable lid and let it ferment for about a week in a warm dark location.

Filter and bottle the kombucha, add carbonation, and let it sit another day for the drink to come together.

Tips for Incorporating More Fermented Foods in Your Diet

Incorporating more fermented foods into your diet can be simple. You can buy many of them from the store. Just make sure you’re checking labels to ensure the product has undergone a traditional fermentation process.

Also, focus on storing fermented foods properly to maintain their unique flavors and probiotic qualities and ensure they’re safe to eat. Adopt food storage tips like these whether your fermented foods are homemade or store-bought:

  • Store products in dark, cool areas to prevent molding;
  • Use airtight containers to prevent harmful bacteria from growing;
  • Organize your fermented foods with the ones closest to expiration at the front of the fridge.

Once you have the logistics covered, start with a simple goal, like incorporating one fermented food into one meal per day. Eat yogurt with breakfast. Add kimchi to your lunch salad. Have a glass of kombucha with dinner.

As you nail your simple goals, you can move on to more advanced ones to get more fermented foods into your diet.


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