There’s a pretty big variety of fermented food and drinks, and the reason we consume them is typically because they’re known for having powerful microorganisms such as probiotics and other good bacteria.

These kinds of bacteria have been linked to promoting a healthy gut [1] and studies suggest that they have the capabilities to even aid in weight loss, sustain a robust immune system, and improve digestion.

In this article, we’ll explore what the top fermented foods are on a keto-diet and why exactly they’re so good for your health.

To begin, let’s first take a look at what goes on during the fermentation process.

The Fermentation Process

Fermentation has been part of our culture for thousands of years and still lives on today. But what does fermenting something actually involve?

Fermentation, simply put, is a process that consists of both yeast and various bacteria breaking down the carbs in what you’re trying to ferment, which then get turned into the necessary alcohol and acids required to ferment and preserve the mixture.

It’s during this process that the probiotics and other bacteria are created which can yield plenty of health benefits.

Overall Gut Health Benefits & What To Watch Out For

So, what are the notable benefits of fermented food, and is there anything bad to look out for?

Probiotics are the biggest advantage of consuming fermented foods. They’re an extremely healthy bacteria where your stomach is concerned, and they do a great job at a few different things.

Probiotics can improve digestion, promote a healthy heart, and have even been linked to helping with mental health.

There are lots of interesting, keto-friendly options for you to implement into your diet, but you have to be aware of certain setbacks such the sugar and carb levels in certain foods, especially store-bought produce.

Don’t let that stop you from trying out different fermented foods though, as they can indeed be consumed in moderation.

Now, on to the five best fermented foods for your keto diet:

Kombucha

This ancient Asian-derived tea has numerous healthy perks. It’s known for its high probiotic level which, as we know, can do wonders for your gut.

Kombucha is made from either green tea or black tea—green tea contains polyphenols that contain powerful antioxidants known for destroying harmful free radicals.

Another fermented product is vinegar. One of the main benefits of vinegar is that it’s a source of acetic acid. You can find the same acid in kombucha which is great, as it has the ability to kill pathogens and other harmful bacteria.

Additionally, caffeine has been linked to boosting people’s Ketone levels. A study [2] showed caffeine could raise these levels from 88% up to a high 116%.

Therefore, the caffeine-content found in green tea-based kombucha can be a great help in your body’s journey to becoming ketogenic.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a form of fermented cabbage that, yet again, has a massive nutritional impact on your body. It’s even better for you than raw unfermented cabbage, so it should be considered as an excellent contender for your diet.

A single-cup serving boasts a wealth of nutrients, including 4.1 grams of dietary fiber. That’s 16% of your recommended daily intake and can certainly be beneficial to your gut’s health as well as your ability to digest food properly.

The surplus of B vitamins in sauerkraut can be great for you in many ways too, alongside a generous helping of Vitamin C and Vitamin K which can be advantageous to your cells, skin, and the effectiveness of proper blood clotting.

Kimchi

Like sauerkraut, kimchi is another fermented cabbage, but this one hails from Korea.

You can also make kimchi from other fermented vegetables such as radishes. Kimchi has a few different health benefits to share around.

The reason that it’s so good for your gut is that it contains bacteria such as Lactic acid, which can help with digestion of lactose when it reaches your intestine.

A study [3] on 21 average humans consuming Kimchi for eight weeks, showed that it could cause their blood sugar, body weight, and insulin resistance to all decrease. With that said, it might be a good idea to think about putting kimchi on your next shopping list!

Kefir

Kefir is a milky, fermented drink that’s made by adding kefir grains to cow or goat milk, which can then be fermented.

It’s an excellent source of nutrients and probiotics which helps your digestive system along with your gut health due to the probiotics having the ability to reduce symptoms of diarrhea [4].

You’ll have access to a source of protein and calcium, which is good for muscle recovery and bone strength.

To top that, it has solid levels of Phosphorus, B vitamins and Vitamin D. Lastly, kefir has very low levels of lactose compared to regular milk, making it a perfect fit for anyone with lactose intolerance.

Yogurt

Did you know that yogurt is yet another fermented food? It’s fermented by adding milk to live bacteria, which creates the thicker texture found in store-bought yogurt.

Plain natural yogurt can be a tremendous keto-friendly product to add to your diet as it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and, due to its fermented nature, probiotics, which will help you towards better digestion.

It can be a good source of protein too— with a 100-gram serving providing 5.7 grams. Just be careful when buying yogurt.

Many store-bought brands add extra sugar and they can have a relatively high carb-content. Extra care should be taken if you’re consuming on a more-than-regular basis.

Conclusion

These five options should be enough to keep you going if you’re looking for probiotic foods while in the pursuit of a ketogenic lifestyle.

As long as you’re keeping track of the commonly hidden sugars and carbs in your portions, you’ll be able to enjoy the health benefits and taste of fermented food and drinks, guilt-free.

References:

[1] Ritchie ML, Romanuk TN. A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases.
PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34938. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034938. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

[2] Vandenberghe, Camille & St-Pierre, Valérie & Courchesne-Loyer, Alexandre & Hennebelle, Marie & Castellano, Christian-Alexandre & C Cunnane, Stephen. (2016). Caffeine intake increases plasma ketones: An acute metabolic study in humans. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 95. 10.1139/cjpp-2016-0338.

[3] An SY, Lee MS, Jeon JY, Ha ES, Kim TH, Yoon JY, Ok CO, Lee HK, Hwang WS, Choe SJ, Han SJ, Kim HJ, Kim DJ, Lee KW. Beneficial effects of fresh and fermented kimchi in prediabetic individuals. Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;63(1-2):111-9. doi: 10.1159/000353583. Epub 2013 Aug 17.

[4] Ritchie ML, Romanuk TN. A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34938. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034938. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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