Fermentation is a process where bacteria and yeast are used to break down foods. The fermentation process has been around for centuries and was initially produced to preserve foods, improve flavor and eliminate toxins. Research has found that eating fermented foods can also increase the beneficial bacteria/probiotics in the gut. Functional medicine practitioners recommend these foods for their health benefits, including improved digestion, increased immunity, and weight loss and maintenance.
Fermented foods and beverages undergo controlled microbial growth and fermentation in which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down food elements like sugars/glucose into other products like organic acids, gases, or alcohol. The process gives fermented foods unique taste, aroma, texture, and appearance. There are many different types of fermented foods, including:
- Cultured milk
- Fermented sausage
Whole foods like vegetables, fruits, cereals, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds can go through fermentation. These foods are nutritious in their original form, but through fermentation, they can provide probiotic and prebiotic health benefits.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit the gut by creating a more favorable digestive environment. This helps:
- Digest food easier.
- Support a healthy immune system.
- Support organ health – lungs, reproductive organs, skin.
- Improves mood.
However, not all fermented foods contain probiotics, especially commercially produced foods that are pasteurized, killing bacteria and their associated health benefits.
Prebiotics are food ingredients that the microorganisms like gut bacteria consume to grow and live, leading to improving the digestive environment. These include:
However, most fruits, vegetables, and legumes contain prebiotics.
The Benefits of Fermented Foods
Fermented foods’ health benefits include reduced risk of:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
They have also been linked to:
- Better weight management
- Improved brain activity
- Increased bone health
- Faster recovery after exercise and physical activity
There are currently no official guidelines regarding how often individuals should eat fermented foods. It is recommended to consult a nutritionist or dietician to figure out the best nutrition plan for the individual and their needs.
Aslam, Hajara, et al. “Fermented foods, the gut, and mental health: a mechanistic overview with implications for depression and anxiety.” Nutritional neuroscience vol. 23,9 (2020): 659-671. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2018.1544332
Dimidi, Eirini, et al. “Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease.” Nutrients vol. 11,8 1806. 5 Aug. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11081806
King, Sarah, et al. “Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 112,1 (2014): 41-54. doi:10.1017/S0007114514000075
Kok, Car Reen, and Robert Hutkins. “Yogurt and other fermented foods as sources of health-promoting bacteria.” Nutrition reviews vol. 76, Suppl 1 (2018): 4-15. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuy056
Parker, Elizabeth A et al. “Probiotics and gastrointestinal conditions: An overview of evidence from the Cochrane Collaboration.” Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.) vol. 45 (2018): 125-134.e11. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2017.06.024
?anlier, Nevin, et al. “Health benefits of fermented foods.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition vol. 59,3 (2019): 506-527. doi:10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355
Professional Scope of Practice *
The information herein on "Fermented Foods and Gut Health: Functional Health Coach Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Blog Information & Scope Discussions
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez DC or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card