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17 Naturally Fermented Foods that Are Powerful Probiotics

Naturally fermented foods are teeming with beneficial bacteria that improve and restore gut health. Our ancestors reaped the benefits of these natural probiotics for centuries but today most people are missing out—and paying the price.

Good gut flora have been proven to:

  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Improve mood and mental health
  • Boost energy levels
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Regulate hormone levels
  • Reduce yeast infections
  • And more

Fortunately, it’s easy and surprisingly delicious to add gut-boosting fermented foods to your diet.

Here are my 18 favorite naturally fermented foods you can eat daily to boost your body’s beneficial bacteria and improve your health. Enjoy a serving size of these foods once or twice daily with meals.


Yogurt has been used to cure bowel troubles and diarrhea for centuries. Regular yogurt (not the low-fat kind) even contains the hormone-like substance called prostaglandin E2, which can prevent ulcers. The type of yogurt, however, makes a difference.

3 Ways to choose the best yogurt  

  • "Active cultures” are essential - pasteurization kills beneficial bacteria making it useless!
  • “L. acidophilus” – this strain of bacteria has the greatest benefits.
  • “No sugar added” –  is better for your health, sweeten with real fruit.

Cottage Cheese

Traditionally fermented, home-made cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and to a lesser degree beneficial bacteria. Look for low-salt products.


Whey is the liquid remaining after the curds and cream have been removed from buttermilk. It’s a high quality source of protein that supports heart health, immunity, bone health, and more. You can use it in soups, add it to steamed vegetables, or mix it into fruit juice or blender drinks for extra zip.


Kefir is an excellent milk-based beverage that you can make at home simply by adding kefir grains to milk. The grains, which look like clumps of rice, are colonies of yeast and bacteria. In 12 hours, four ounces of grains added to one quart of milk will produce naturally fermented kefir.

Naturally Fermented Soy and Vegetables

In Asia, natural probiotics have been eaten for centuries as part of the daily diet, contributing to better health. Enrich your daily diet with dose of these probiotic gems:

  • Pickled cucumbers
  • Pickled garlic
  • Pickled beets
  • Pickled radish
  • Pickled corn relish
  • Korean kimchi
  • Natto
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Soy sauce
  • Fermented tofu

My personal favorites

No list of naturally fermented foods would be complete – in my opinion – without my two personal favorites:

Remember, the key to keeping your gut flora healthy and robust is to enjoy these naturally fermented foods every day. So enjoy the flavor and savor the benefits!

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