Fermentation is a process where bacteria and yeast are used to break down foods. The fermentation process has been around for centuries and was initially produced to preserve foods, improve flavor and eliminate toxins. Research has found that eating fermented foods can also increase the beneficial bacteria/probiotics in the gut. Functional medicine practitioners recommend these foods for their health benefits, including improved digestion, increased immunity, and weight loss and maintenance.Fermented Foods and Gut Health: Functional Medicine Clinic

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods and beverages undergo controlled microbial growth and fermentation in which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down food elements like sugars/glucose into other products like organic acids, gases, or alcohol. The process gives fermented foods unique taste, aroma, texture, and appearance. There are many different types of fermented foods, including:

Whole foods like vegetables, fruits, cereals, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds can go through fermentation. These foods are nutritious in their original form, but through fermentation, they can provide probiotic and prebiotic health benefits.


Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit the gut by creating a more favorable digestive environment. This helps:

  • Digest food easier.
  • Support a healthy immune system.
  • Support organ health – lungs, reproductive organs, skin.
  • Improves mood.

However, not all fermented foods contain probiotics, especially commercially produced foods that are pasteurized, killing bacteria and their associated health benefits.


Prebiotics are food ingredients that the microorganisms like gut bacteria consume to grow and live, leading to improving the digestive environment. These include:

  • Milk
  • Honey
  • Tomato
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye

However, most fruits, vegetables, and legumes contain prebiotics.

The Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermented foods’ health benefits include reduced risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity

They have also been linked to:

  • Better weight management
  • Improved brain activity
  • Increased bone health
  • Faster recovery after exercise and physical activity

There are currently no official guidelines regarding how often individuals should eat fermented foods. It is recommended to consult a nutritionist or dietician to figure out the best nutrition plan for the individual and their needs.

The Science


Aslam, Hajara, et al. “Fermented foods, the gut, and mental health: a mechanistic overview with implications for depression and anxiety.” Nutritional neuroscience vol. 23,9 (2020): 659-671. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2018.1544332

Dimidi, Eirini, et al. “Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease.” Nutrients vol. 11,8 1806. 5 Aug. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11081806

King, Sarah, et al. “Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 112,1 (2014): 41-54. doi:10.1017/S0007114514000075

Kok, Car Reen, and Robert Hutkins. “Yogurt and other fermented foods as sources of health-promoting bacteria.” Nutrition reviews vol. 76, Suppl 1 (2018): 4-15. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuy056

Parker, Elizabeth A et al. “Probiotics and gastrointestinal conditions: An overview of evidence from the Cochrane Collaboration.” Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.) vol. 45 (2018): 125-134.e11. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2017.06.024

Şanlier, Nevin, et al. “Health benefits of fermented foods.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition vol. 59,3 (2019): 506-527. doi:10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Fermented Foods and Gut Health: Functional Sciatica Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.