Good for Your Gut: Benefits of Fermented Food

| 2 min read

benefits of fermented foods
The word fermented may sound scary, but if you’re looking to eat healthier, you should get to know it. Foods and drinks that have undergone the fermentation process are especially good for you because they produce good bacteria in your digestive system. This aids with digestion and helps your body absorb more vitamins and nutrients from the food you eat. Here’s everything you need to know about fermented foods and why you should add them to your diet:
How does something become fermented?
Foods that are fermented have gone through a process called lactofermentation, which occurs when there’s no oxygen. Natural (good) bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating something called lactic acid. This process actually preserves the food, which is why fermented foods can last for a long time on a shelf without refrigeration.
Why are fermented foods so healthy?
They contain probiotics, which are live bacteria that are created during the fermentation process. These aren’t the bad bacteria that can make you sick—probiotics are actually beneficial to your digestive system by helping you properly digest food and absorb nutrients into your body. Probiotics also help you get rid of bad bacteria, while increasing the production of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, B12, B5 and biotin. As a result, probiotics improve digestive health and can even shield your body from harmful bacteria. (There are also things called prebiotics, which are carbohydrates that nourish and feed the probiotics in your gastrointestinal tract.)
What foods are fermented?
There are common foods that are naturally fermented and contain probiotics, like yogurt, but there are lots of other fermented foods at the grocery store. Some to stock up on are:
  • Kefir, a thick yogurt-like milk drink
  • Kimchi, spicy fermented cabbage
  • Miso
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage
  • Sour Cream
  • Tempeh, fermented soybeans
  • Yogurt
Try adding some of these delicious fermented foods to your diet as a way to boost your immune system and keep you feeling good.
Photo credit: Erin

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.