Fermented Foods: A Fusion of Nutrition and Flavour


| Nutrition | Fermented Foods: A Fusion of Nutrition and Flavour

Fermented Foods: A Fusion of Nutrition and Flavour


Fermented Foods – Health and Flavour

Fermented foods have been a staple in many cultures for centuries. From the tangy taste of yoghurt to the salty bite of sauerkraut, these foods are not only delicious, but also claim to have numerous health benefits. Let’s take a quick dip into the world of fermented foods and beverages, understand what they are and uncover the reasons behind their health-promoting properties.

What are fermented foods?

Food fermentation is when naturally occurring bacteria and yeast break down the sugars and starch in food. This process preserves food, along with changing the texture, taste, nutritional profile, and can make food easier to digest.

Common fermented foods include:

  • Fermented vegetables such as pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut
  • Sourdough bread
  • Cultured milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Fermented drinks such as kombucha and kefir
  • Soy foods such as tempeh and miso

What makes fermented foods healthy?

During the fermentation process, beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, and various strains of probiotics are produced. Probiotics are live bacteria that can provide health benefits for the body.

Dependent on the fermented food and its unique population of micro-organisms, these health benefits can include:

  • Gut health – some probiotic strains in fermented foods help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora which aids digestion and overall gut health.
  • Immune system support – fermented food can support a healthy gut, which in turn contributes to a strong immune system to support the body’s natural defenses.
  • Breakdown of lactose and gluten – for those with lactose intolerance, fermented dairy products may be more easily digested. Likewise, many who are gluten-intolerant find they can digest sourdough bread.

There are other health benefits associated with fermented foods, such as reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and inflammation.

The health benefits of fermented foods are promising, but nutrition research is always evolving. A recent paper (Dimidi, 2019) reviewing studies on different fermented foods did not find a lot of science to back up the health claims and suggested further clinical trials are needed.


How much fermented food should we eat?

If you enjoy them, daily inclusion of some fermented foods is fine and may be helpful for your health. Key is to have them in moderation alongside plenty of fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, which are also essential for gut health.

Fermented foods may be nutritious and healthy for us, but there is no single food that improves our health – it is always our overall diet. And we’ve got some delicious beef and lamb recipes with fermented foods to get you started.


Bell, V., Ferrão J., and Fernandes T. (2017). Nutritional Guidelines and Fermented Food Frameworks. Foods, 6(8):65. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6080065

Dimidi E., Cox S.R., Rossi M., Whelan K. (2019). Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients. Aug 5;11(8):1806. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081806 . PMID: 31387262; PMCID: PMC6723656.

Leeuwendaal N.K., Stanton C., O’Toole P.W., Beresford T.P. (2022). Fermented Foods, Health and the Gut Microbiome. Nutrients, 14(7):1527. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14071527

Oak S., Jha R. (2019). The effects of probiotics in lactose intolerance: A systematic review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59:11, 1675-1683, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2018.1425977

Rapson, J. (2018). Fermented foods: the latest trend. Retrieved from https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/about-us/news/blogs/fermented-foods-the-latest-trend

Şanlier N., Gökcen B.B., Sezgin A.C. (2019) Health benefits of fermented foods, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59:3, 506-527, https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355


Posted by Regina Wypych