Glow on the Go - SLIM Broth
Current Post:

Why You Need to Add Fermented Foods to Your Diet

Eating fermented foods is one of the most powerful ways to keep your gut healthy. Here’s a look at these remarkable super-foods.

← Return to Digestion and Gut Health page Related Resources:


Have you ever wondered why your body would produce hormones that promote the synthesis and storage of body fat? Especially…

I know that being slim is at the top of your wish list, and it’s a big deal for me…

One of the first things I tell my patients is to eliminate dairy foods from their diets. And I won’t…

No doubt about it—summer can be cruel to your skin. You’re probably defending yourself already, with floppy hats and sunscreen.…

Is someone you love suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? If so, you know how devastating this tragic disease is—not only for…

Remember the last time you had hours to relax, read a novel, go for a swim, get your nails done,…

Every time I walk into a gym, I’m always shocked to see just how crowded the treadmills and ellipticals are.…

I’m all about being healthy, but hey… I also believe in living it up a little! So if you run…

When you stagger out of bed in the morning, does that first cup of coffee bring you back to life?…

Why You Need to Add Fermented Foods to Your Diet

Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci


I’m a nutritionist, so it’s no surprise that many of my conversations with my patients revolve around food. And often, here’s how these conversations go.

I say, “Eat healthy proteins, healthy fats, and lots of veggies,” and my patients nod cheerfully.

I say, “Nuts and berries are good,” and they smile at me.

Then I say, “Be sure to add some fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi.” And they look at me like I’ve just asked them to lick the bottom of the dog’s dish.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that most Americans—unlike people in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America—shun fermented foods. They might occasionally toss a little sauerkraut on a hot dog or try a bite of kimchi at a Korean restaurant, but make these staples of their diet? No way.

That’s too bad, because eating fermented foods is one of the most powerful ways to keep your gut healthy. Here’s a look at these remarkable super-foods, and why it’s smart to develop a taste for them.

What are fermented foods?

Fermentation occurs when bacteria feed on the natural sugars in foods. In the process, they create natural preservatives, like lactic acid. The bacteria also partially “predigest” the foods, making their nutrients more available.

Most important of all, the bacteria in fermented foods hitch a ride right into your gut, happily becoming part of your interior ecosystem. So each time you eat fermented foods, you’re replenishing your gut’s population. And that’s a good thing, because here are just some of the jobs these bugs do for you:

·       They help synthesize hormones  and nutrients like biotin and vitamin K.

·       They police your gut to prevent bad fungi and bacteria from making inroads.

·       They modulate your immune system and protect against inflammation that can lead to weight gain, illness, and skin problems.

·       They help you digest your food efficiently.

·       They help protect you from anxiety and depression.

In short, good gut bacteria help keep you slim, healthy, vibrant, attractive, and happy. So you definitely don’t want to run short on them!

Unfortunately, modern life isn’t kind to your gut flora. Stress, sleeplessness, a sugary or high-carb diet, or medications (for instance, antibiotics, NSAIDS, and antacids) can cause your good gut bacteria to dwindle. That’s when fermented foods can save the day.

Of course, it’s true that you can get beneficial microbes from probiotics as well—and I often prescribe probiotics to my patients. But the absolutely best way to make sure you’re getting a good mix of the right bugs is to get them the most natural way: in food.

Tips for Getting the Most from Fermented Foods

When you’re shopping for fermented foods, keep this in mind: You want healthy, vibrant microbes. So if you’re buying sauerkraut or kimchi, choose packages in the refrigerated section of the store. Check the label and make sure the product isn’t pasteurized, which kills off the bacteria.

Better yet, consider making your own fermented foods at home. Here’s my favorite recipe for kimchi; if you try it, make sure to let it sit overnight (or at least for several hours) so the good microbes can multiply. If you’re feeling more ambitious, PaleoLeap has a great article here about making your own sauerkraut and other fermented veggies. Also, check out this recipe for cortido, a Latin American version of sauerkraut.

You can ferment just about any vegetables, so also consider experimenting with everything from cauliflower to red peppers. Just make sure you start out with clean veggies, clean hands, and clean equipment, and that you always use clean utensils to dip into your fermenting foods. You’ll find more tips here for fermenting food safely.

No matter which route you choose—store-bought or home-made—try to eat at least a quarter of a cup of fermented foods a minimum of two or three times a week. I’m betting that even if you’re saying “ick” right now, you’ll quickly develop a taste for them. After, the billions of people on the planet who adore these foods can’t all be wrong!

Keep Thinking Big & Living Bold!




Click here to subscribe