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Top 5 Fermented Foods for Gut Health on Keto

There’s a large variety of fermented food and drinks. 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] Studies suggest that they have the capabilities to 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. This process creates the necessary alcohol and acids required to further ferment and preserve the mixture – ceasing as the carbs and acidity reach a specific point.

It’s during this process that the probiotics and other bacteria populate in great numbers, which can yield plenty of health benefits for us.


Overall Gut Health Benefits

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 extremely healthy bacteria, 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. However, 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.


Top 5 Best Fermented Foods for the Keto Diet

1. Kombucha

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

Whats Kombucha made from?

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

What is in Kombucha?

Kombucha contains three primary components that can be helpful on the ketogenic diet.

  1. The fermentation of green or black tea into kombucha first begins with adding a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to the tea [5]. This is specific beneficial colonies that make kombucha unique and healthful, which multiply and thrive to create the fermentation process.
  2. Vinegar is a main byproduct of the fermentation process. 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 can kill pathogens and other harmful bacteria.
  3. Caffeine from the tea is preserved during the fermentation process. 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.

What are the general macros for Kombucha (on average)?

  • 6 grams fat
  • 9 grams net carbs
  • 9 grams protein

Per 1 cup serving size (macros will vary between brands).


2. 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. These can be advantageous to your cells, skin, and the effectiveness of proper blood clotting.

What are the general macros for sauerkraut?

  • 2 grams fat
  • 2 grams net carbs
  • 3 grams protein

Average per 1 cup serving size.


3. 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 the colonies in kimchi produce great amounts of both lactic acid and lactase. Lactase, which can help with digestion of lactose.

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!

What are the average macros for Kimchi?

  • 8 grams fat
  • 2 grams net carbs
  • 7 grams protein

Per 1 cup serving size.


4. Kefir

Kefir is a milky, fermented drink that’s made by adding kefir grains to cow or goat milk, which can then be fermented. Kefir grains are unique naturally occurring mother culture [6] that can be compared to the SCOBY required to make kombucha, kombucha.

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.

Average Macros in Kefir:

  • 1 grams fat
  • 9 grams net carbs
  • 5 grams protein

Per ½ cup of Kefir. Very high in carbs for the keto diet compared to the previous 3 fermented foods.


5. 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. 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.

What are the average macros for Yogurt? This fermented food varies too much brand-by-brand to approximate. We recommend inspecting nutrition labels at your grocery store to find an ideal keto-friendly yogurt.


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. Is there a special keto-friendly fermented food that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!

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