5 Fermented Foods for Great Gut Health

Having a healthy gut is essential to our overall health and vitality. When it comes to keeping our gut healthy (or bringing it back to health) one of the best places to start is with our diet and ensuring we’re adding in vital gut loving fermented foods.


5 gut-loving foods we’re going to explore are: 

  • Kombucha, which originated in China
  • Kimchi, originated in Korea
  • Sauerkraut, originated in Germany
  • Coconut yoghurt from the Pacific Islands
  • Kefir, originated in Russia

What makes fermented foods so special? Fermented foods are rich in probiotics which help replace and replenish beneficial bacteria in our gut that is constantly being compromised by bacteria of the non-beneficial kind that comes from the likes of stress, poor sleep, highly processed foods and sugar.

Many fermented foods contain a variety of beneficial bacteria (and yeasts) hence it is often beneficial to try and consume a variety of these foods on a daily level to keep up species numbers, their diversity and support a happy, healthy microbiome.

There are plenty of fermented foods that people around the world have been making for generations. Traditionally fermented foods would be included in every meal and people around the world have been making their own versions for generations. The good news is they’re now making their way to supermarket shelves and are also incredibly easy for us to make at home!

1. Kombucha

Kombucha is a probiotic soda made from tea, sugar and a scoby. A scoby is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast and is an organism that consumes the sugar in the brew and ferments it to create a delicious drink that is great for gut health. It’s easy to make at home, is low in sugar, and super refreshing. Give this recipe a go.

What beneficial bacteria strains live in kombucha?

There is a large diversity of bacteria and yeast found in a kombucha scoby and this varies depending on where the scoby is found.

“Our gut needs the large diversity of bacteria and yeasts that are found in kombucha."

The main strain of bacteria found in most kombucha colonies is acetobacter, it’s an aerobic bacteria strain (requiring oxygen) and is what builds the scoby mushroom. Kombucha also contains a unique yeast strain which contributes to the carbonation (fizz) and also the mushroom body of the scoby.

kombucha tea for good gut health


Is kombucha good for everyone?

While kombucha is a great source of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, there are some people we wouldn’t recommend it to.

If someone has SIBO (small intestine bacterial growth) it’s best to avoid kombucha. This applies to all fermented food! For those with SIBO, we need to deal with the overgrowth of bacteria in our gut before adding in any fermented foods. We will talk about this a bit further down.

“Anyone with SIBO should avoid kombucha and all other fermented foods!”

We’d also recommend avoiding kombucha if you have any suspected yeast issues, such as thrush or significant sugar cravings.


2. Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. It is usually quite spicy, although making it yourself means you control the heat. Try making your own with this recipe.

What beneficial bacteria strains live in kimchi?

Kimchi is dominated by bacteria of three different bacteria families: Lactobacillus which also occurs naturally in yoghurt, Leuconostoc which is often used as a starter culture, and Weisella which is known for its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a traditionally prepared dish made with fermented vegetables. It can be expensive to buy from specialist health food stores but is actually really simple to make yourself. We’ve put together this easy recipe to help you make your own ferments at home.

What beneficial bacteria strains live in sauerkraut?

The Lactobacillus bacteria family is the most predominant in sauerkraut, specifically Lactobacillus Plantarum and Lactobacillus Brevis. You’ll also find Leuconostoc Mesenteroides which feeds on sugar and Pediococcus Pentosaceus, a lactic acid bacteria.

homemade sauerkraut for good gut health

4. Coconut Yoghurt

You don’t need to consume dairy to get the probiotics benefits it’s known for. If you’re new to introducing probiotic rich foods into your diet, coconut yoghurt is a great place to start. Making your own coconut yoghurt is the best way to add in the right living probiotics for you. Try making this recipe here.

What beneficial bacteria strains live in coconut yoghurt?

The beneficial strains of coconut yoghurt depend on what living probiotic you add to it. This also makes coconut yoghurt extremely versatile as you can add the bacteria that are specific to our needs. To find out which bacteria will nurture a specific person’s gut health most, gut bacteria testing is available.

“Coconut yoghurt is extremely versatile as we can add the bacteria that is specific to our needs.”

In our recipe we have used the BePure Gut Renew Probiotic. This contains 18 strains of beneficial bacteria and a minimum of 30 billion viable bacteria per serving. The strains found in BePure Gut Renew Probiotic include those from the lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families. At the BePure Clinic, these are the strains we see people needing these most.

coconut yogurt with fruit for good gut health

5. Kefir

Originating from Russia, Kefir is a fermented drink that is normally made from dairy milk and kefir grains. The grains are added to the milk and left to ferment. As with kombucha, the longer or shorter the ferment will impact the flavour and the fizziness of the drink. 

Along with being a great probiotic source, kefir is also known for its powerful antibacterial properties.

What are the beneficial bacteria in Kefir?

Milk kefir grains are a combination of live bacteria and yeasts and which are prevalent in the kefir often depends on how it is made. One of the bacteria unique to kefir is lactobacillus kefir and it commonly includes lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum. Some of the common beneficial yeasts are a variety of saccharomyces, kluyveromyces and Kazachstania yeasts.

When are fermented foods not good for you?

SIBO stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth. This is where some of the bacteria (this may be beneficial or non-beneficial) moves from the large intestine to the small intestine. Even good bacteria in the wrong place can cause problems.

The main symptom of SIBO is bloating around the belly button that tends to increase over the day. This type of bloating happens irrelevant of what food you’re eating. This is because the bacteria in the small intestine start to ferment (or break down) food before we’ve had a chance to digest it ourselves.

What can you do if you have SIBO?

Anyone with SIBO should avoid all fermented foods until they’ve had a chance to deal with the bacteria overgrowth.

If you have SIBO it’s important you work on clearing the overgrowth of bacteria. To do this you need to set up the pH of the stomach properly.

Here are some tips if you are living with SIBO: (H2)

What's next? 

  • The gut is a huge topic when it comes to overall health and we have so many blogs on this topic.
  • If you have a lot of questions, chances are someone else has had the same query. We’ve compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions on gut health which is a great place to start.
  • Because the gut is so vital to health, we have a wide range of digestive and gut-health products that can aid specific concerns you might have or work to keep your base level health at optimum levels! 
  • To aid digestion, try Digest Assist to help break down food. Rest easy knowing you’re giving your body high doses of good bacteria daily with probiotic BePure Two. And, finally, keep your gut lining strong with a daily dose of collagen and vitamins with Collagen+


Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure. We are all unique, for your individual health concerns it is important to discuss these with a BePure Holistic Health Consultant or relevant health professional.