Probiotics: 10 fermented foods that help the gut, metabolism and immune system

The best fermented foods to introduce into the diet to improve intestinal functions, but also metabolism and the immune system

Discover the best fermented foods to integrate into your vegan diet to improve intestinal functions, but also metabolism and the immune system

We have spoken several times about the functions of probiotic and prebiotic foods on the health of the intestine and more generally of the body. But today we want to list a series of plant foods that can be integrated into one's diet to improve intestinal functions, the immune system, metabolism and consequently maintain good health.

Probiotics are none other than "good" bacteria that colonize the intestine and allow the flora to be kept in balance with all the advantages that this entails. They are found in particular in fermented foods, the fermentation process promotes the growth and diffusion of millions of microorganisms.

These are foods that often belong to the oriental tradition, they are not always well known and used even if in recent years the health-conscious kitchens all over the world have been relaunching and re-evaluating them.

These foods are suitable for those who also follow a vegan diet, but not for those suffering from irritable bowel and swollen belly therefore all fermented foods according to the so-called FODMAP diet are not recommended.

So let's see what they are:



Of Japanese origin is the miso that is used for example to make the typical soup of macrobiotic diet. It is a kind of broth that can be enriched with vegetables, seaweed and tofu but which is basically based on miso. This food comes made thanks to the fermentation of rice, soy or barley. It is then used as the common vegetable nut even if to maintain its properties, since it is a "live" food, it should never be cooked but dissolved in not too hot water. (Read also: MACROBIOTICS CUISINE: MISO)

Soy Yogurt and Water Kefir 

Among the probiotic foods par excellence there are yogurt and kefir in the classic versions made with cow's milk, but even those who cannot or do not want to use animal proteins can use equally effective and 100% vegetable alternatives. There are versions of yogurt vegan which also contain probiotics, for example soy yogurt, and it is also possible to prepare it yourself at home. As for the kefir, fermented drink, there is also that of water. Read also: HOW TO PREPARE SOY YOGURT AT HOME


Not everyone likes it, because it has a somewhat particular taste. This is the Tempeh, food of Indonesian origin, made from fermented soybeans. It is a food not only rich in probiotics but also in proteins, which is why it is very expensive for vegetarians and vegans. You can marinate, cook in a pan, add to salads or use it to fill sandwiches. It goes well with curry, as Asian cuisine teaches. It is an expensive food but even in this case you can choose to prepare it at home.


From fermented cabbage sauerkraut is obtained, a food widely used especially in Germany and Eastern Europe, with a strong and slightly spicy flavor and therefore not always appreciated. Also in this case the fermentation process makes the food rich in probiotics, a process that can also be recreated at home to make your own DIY sauerkraut preserves.


It is a food of the Japanese cuisine which is obtained from the fermentation of soybeans and usually paired with rice, miso soup or other ingredients in some traditional Japanese recipes. The fermentation of natto takes place thanks to Bacillus subtilis, also known as Bacillus natto or natto-kin which provides it with probiotic qualities useful for the intestine. Read also: NATTO: WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO PREPARE IT AT HOME


It is a typical Korean dish made from the fermentation of cabbage, onions, garlic and spices such as red pepper. There are different variations depending on the vegetables and spices that are used but all, given the presence of the fermentation process, guarantee a good presence of probiotics.

Lactofermented vegetables

also the canned vegetables they are a good food source of probiotics, thanks to the fermentation better if done with sea salt and water, rather than with vinegar. It is not difficult to make a do-it-yourself gardener in a simple and economical way using different mixed vegetables depending on the season. 

Bread with sourdough

Naturally leavened bread made with sourdough is perhaps the easiest way to secure a certain amount of probiotics every day. It is a bread that requires a longer time to prepare but which is tastier, more satiating and beneficial, especially if made with wholemeal and stone-ground flours. Read also: WHOLEMEAL BREAD WITH MOTHER PASTA

Kombucha land 

Tea can also be fermented, and that's exactly what happens to Kombucha tea, popular in China and Russia. This drink has a strong but sparkling taste that can help the stomach digest food better. It is not easy to find on the market but even in this case it is possible to make this infusion at home to taste it when needed. 


Few people know about amasake, a natural sweetener made from the fermentation of rice or millet and used mainly in oriental traditions. Also in this case it is possible to prepare amasake at home.

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