You’ve probably read the same stories I have online and in other places promoting the value of fermented foods, from the familiar (yogurt, kombucha tea, pickles, cottage cheese, sourdough bread, soy sauce and sauerkraut) to the more exotic (tempeh and miso) to give your gut health an extra boost.
Does this mean eating fermented foods delivers the same dependable gut health benefits you’d receive by taking a probiotic?
The short answer: Probably not. In most cases, there’s no harm in eating fermented foods, but the benefits are debatable and your overall health may get worse if you’re not careful, for several reasons.
- Some of the more familiar fermented foods you see at many grocery stores like yogurt may be produced in high heat environments and are probably pasteurized, so there’s little chance of any active bacteria surviving those processes.
- Don’t assume any foods are fermented, unless they say so on food labels. For example, it’s easy to assume that any jar of pickles you buy at the grocery store is fermented. But, if those pickles were processed with vinegar, they won’t contain beneficial bacteria.
- Monitoring the amount of salt you eat? Popular fermented foods — kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and pickles — contain lots of sodium.
- Are you watching your sugar intake too? The sugar content of many yogurts and kombucha tea you’ll find at local grocery stores may be high, and the amounts contained in organic brands of yogurt can be excessive.
- There’s lots of online resources that provide guidance in making fermented foods at home cheaply. But, the process is labor-intensive, and you have to keep everything sanitary so no extra bugs spoil your fermented foods.
- Adding fermented foods to your diet may trigger problems with gas and bloating in the beginning if you overdo it. And, to make a real difference, experts say you’ll need to eat them every day too.
The $64,000 question even the experts can’t answer is how much or what kinds of beneficial bacteria you’ll actually consume when eating fermented foods.
That’s why taking a product like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic ensures you’re receiving multiple strains of beneficial bacteria your body needs. Plus, our line of EndoMune products features a natural prebiotic that feeds the good bugs in your gut, another feature fermented foods don’t have.