Fermented foods and drinks to boost your health

Fermented foods are a great addition to your diet if you follow a healthy lifestyle. Fermentation helps increase the shelf life and health benefits of many plant-based foods. The process of fermentation is a chemical breakdown of sugar by yeast and bacteria. Not only can it preserve food in your pantry for longer, but it also boosts your health thanks to the beneficial probiotics. By eating fermented foods, you promote the good bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods are associated with improved immunity, digestion, minimising inflammation, weight loss, and overall better gut health. 

Here's the list of healthy fermented foods you should have in your kitchen pantry. 


1. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is made of shredded cabbage fermented by lactic acid bacteria. Sauerkraut is a low-calorie condiment popular in Central Europe. 

It contains a lot of fibre and is packed with vitamins C and K and antioxidants. It's excellent for your eye health and reduces your risk of eye diseases. Eating more sauerkraut may also prevent cancer diseases. You can eat it straight, or as a salad. You can add it to many dishes, including soups, stews, casseroles and more. Choose unpasteurised sauerkraut to make you get the most of its benefits. 

2. Tofu

Tofu is made from fermented soybeans. It a healthy food staple in Japanese cuisine. It is naturally gluten-free and low in calories. It is packed with protein, iron and calcium and contains no cholesterol. It contains isoflavones such as phytoestrogens which are anti-inflammatory antioxidants that may help protect against diseases such as hearth disease, cancer and osteoporosis, especially for women. It an excellent source of fibre, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. Tofu is usually available plain or in many interesting flavours when marinaded. It can be added to salad, sandwiches, cooked as a meat replacement. It can successfully replace cheese when making a vegan cheesecake. 

3. Tempeh

Tempeh is a plant-based product traditionally very popular in Asia and gaining popularity in the rest of the world. It is made from fermented soybeans and therefore is very high in protein. Often used as a meat alternative, it can be fried, sautéed, roasted, baked and used in many healthy recipes, especially stir-fries, salads and sandwiches. As a product of fermentation, it is rich in probiotics and other beneficial nutrients, including antioxidants. 

Eating more tempeh can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

4. Miso

Miso is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a special type of fungus called koji. It is a traditional flavourful seasoning often used in Japanese cuisine. The most popular dish with it is miso soup. 

Miso is linked with a reduced risk of stroke and breast cancer among Japanese women. I can also help decrease and normalise blood pressure and promote heart health. You can add miso to soups and use it for dressings and sauces, glaze for vegetables and marinades. 

5. Kombucha

Kombucha is a drink made from fermented green or black tea. It has become trendy in recent years. You can easily buy kombucha online in health food shops or make it at home using particular bacteria. However, when you make it at home, you should be careful to avoid overfermentation. 

Drinking kombucha may help reduce the damage caused by exposure to harmful chemicals. Some studies have found that kombucha may help block cancer cell spread. 

6. Kimchi

Kimchi is usually made from fermented Chinese cabbage alone or with the addition of other fermented veggies like radish, ginger etc. It is one of the food staples in Korean cuisine, where it's consumed every day, with almost every dish. Kimchi is linked to lower cholesterol, including LDL (bad cholesterol) and may help reduce insulin resistance. It also helps to lose weight and normalise blood pressure. You can easily buy kimchi online or make it at home. You can simply add it to every meal! 

7. Probiotic kefir and yoghurt

Kefir and yoghurt that contain live bacteria are also beneficial for your health. Kefir is a type of cultured product made of dairy milk on dairy plant-based alternatives. Kefir is simply made by adding yeast and bacteria to milk resulting in a thick creamy drink with more liquid than yoghurt. Kefir may help improve the digestion and bone health of people suffering from osteoporosis and reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease and cancer.  

Yoghurt is produced from dairy milk or plant-based milk that has been fermented with lactic acid bacteria. It is rich in essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus. It also contains riboflavin and vitamin B12. 

Probiotic yoghurt is linked to reduced blood pressure and improvements in bone mineral density. It also helps to prevent weight gain (if it doesn't contain sugar and fat). 

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