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Helping Your Gut Help You...The Benefits of Fermented Foods

Trillions of bacteria live inside your intestines. But don’t be grossed out! Many of them are “good” because they keep you healthy. One way they do that is by eliminating the toxins that bombard your body each day. This process is known as detoxification.

Detoxification mainly occurs in your liver. It “re-packages” the toxins before sending them out. The toxins then take a trip through the intestines, where things can get a little complicated. For instance, having an imbalanced gut, where bad bacteria outnumber good bacteria, can cause toxins to get reabsorbed instead of removed.

Detox with fermented foods

Stepping up your good gut bacteria for better detoxification can be as easy as eating fermented foods. Filled with live, beneficial microbes called probiotics, these foods aid in digestion and fight off bad bacteria in the gut.

Check out these fermented foods for restoring gut balance and supporting detoxification:

1. Tempeh

If you’d rather “eat” your probiotics, try tempeh. It’s a tofu-like cake made from fermented soybeans. It tastes a bit nuttier than tofu and feels firmer, too. Plus, tempeh is loaded with protein, so it’s a great substitute for meat or fish. Cut it into thin slices and fry for a quick side, or crumble it to make taco “meat” and fillings. You can try baking, steaming or sauteeing tempeh, too.

2. Kombucha

Kombucha has been making the rounds in recent years as the latest wonder drink to hit health food stores, for good reason. This tangy fermented tea contains tons of good-for-you bacteria. It also has a slight fizz, which makes it a good alternative to sodas and other sweetened drinks.

3. Miso

Miso is a type of paste commonly used in Japan as a seasoning. It’s made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, a type of fungus. Grains like rice and barley may also be fermented with soybeans to produce various miso types. Take care to use only a little at a time of this strong-tasting paste.

4. Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made by fermenting cabbage. Think sauerkraut but spicy. You can find it in many Asian groceries. Kimchi can be enjoyed on its own or used in sandwiches and homemade tacos.

5. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is an Eastern European staple traditionally made from just cabbage and salt. It delivers a huge dose of fiber and probiotics. Slightly salty and tangy, sauerkraut pairs well with sandwiches, salads and egg dishes.

6. Yogurt

Yogurt is made from milk fermented with lactic acid bacteria. Rich in many important nutrients like potassium and B vitamins. Just make sure you’re eating the plain, unprocessed kind of yogurt.

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