Back to Basics: Fermented Foods for Better Health

The rates of chronic disease, like diabetes and heart disease, are rising in the United States. With an estimated 45 percent of the population suffering from at least one chronic disease, Americans are feverishly exploring nutrition and wellness trends to regain control of their health. Between fad diets, workout routines, and an ever-growing list of supplements, Americans are looking for a quick fix. However, adding certain foods to the diet may help Americans in their health journey.

According to registered dietitians surveyed in Today’s Dietitian magazine, fermented foods, which includes fermented dairy like yogurt and kefir (a fermented milk drink), were the number one superfood trend in 2019. But fermented foods are not new, they have been around for centuries. Going back to basics with fermented foods may help contribute to a healthy body.

Yogurt, kefir, sourdough bread, buttermilk and kombucha are all examples of fermented foods Americans are incorporating into their diet. These foods are created by tiny, living organisms feeding on an initial food, like milk or sugar. Fermentation can change the taste and texture of the food, along with enhancing it in other ways like improving digestibility. For example, yogurt and kefir are thicker and tangier than milk due to fermentation, and most people who are lactose intolerant can digest them better than regular dairy because of the changes made by the beneficial bacteria.

Consuming certain fermented foods can add beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract. The bacteria and other tiny organisms present in the digestive tract play a role in the immune system. Furthermore, vitamin D plays an important role in a healthy immune system- fortified yogurt and kefir can be a delicious source. Studies also show yogurt consumption may be associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate fermented foods into your daily routine! Add kefir or yogurt to your morning smoothie, enjoy a sandwich or taco topped with kimchi, or snack on a hard cheese like aged cheddar. While more studies are needed to fully realize the impact of fermented foods on our health, a daily dose may do a body good. To find the right fermented food for you, work with a registered dietitian and visit for recipes that include fermented dairy foods.

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Back to Basics: Fermented Foods for Better Health was last modified: June 21st, 2023 by Sprout Media Lab Testing