Fermented Foods & Probiotic Foods List

Why Do We Need Fermented Foods?

Probiotics are not a new medical discovery, humanity has been eating fermented foods, the best source of probiotics, since the beginning of history. The modern era has rediscovered the probiotics, hence the extra attention given by the medical world, the health industry, and the media.

Probiotics (link is external)are tiny life forms, such as bacteria, and yeast, that live in symbiosis (link is external)with humans, and other mammals. The probiotics live inside our gut, and help us maintain in shape in a few ways. They fight other bacteria, by releasing substances that are toxic to other bacteria, named bacteriocins (link is external), to kill the bad bacteria. They also help us boost our immunity, the mechanism is not fully known. There are a lot of other benefits associated with probiotics (link is external), they are documented scientifically, but the mechanisms are not yet fully understood.  
Fermented Foods Source of Probiotics

Controlled Fermentation for Probiotics

All fermented foods contain probiotics in large quantities, and as a general rule, it is safe to get large quantities of probiotics, and in many cases, it is recommended to get more probiotics, rather than less. We have to make a distinction between raw fermented foods and processed fermented foods. The only fermented foods that contain probiotics are the raw ones. Once heated over around 113o F, (around 45o C), the bacterial cultures start to die. There are some strains that are thermo resistant, but those aren’t present in our typical fermented foods diet, and the temperature of the thermotolerant bacteria is still lower than the cooking temperature, around 160o F, (70o C). That means that cooking fermented foods destroys the bacterial cultures present in foods.

It is probably not necessary to mention that not all bacteria are beneficial for our health, everybody knows that. Therefore, the fermentation process needs to be controlled in some way, on order to restrict the bacterial growth to only beneficial bacteria, and inhibit wild bacteria that will spoil the food, and will make us sick. The process can be controlled in a few ways:

  • Inoculate the food with specific bacteria, that are known to be beneficial, (lactic acid bacteria, are the most used class of probiotics).
  • Add salt to the water where we ferment the foods so that wild bacteria does not develop
  • Ferment in an anaerobe medium, (without air)
  • Control the fermentation temperature
  • Add specific foods to the fermentation process, so that we feed the good bacteria, which in turn will eliminate the bad cultures

List of Fermented Foods with Probiotics

In many countries, fermented foods are part of the daily diet. All fermented foods are very tasty, nutritious, and easy to digest. Most of these foods are not what you call the glamorous food, that you would get in a restaurant, but you would certainly eat them at home every day. For more information go to Fermented Foods on this website.

Here is a fairly comprehensive list with probiotic foods not often encountered:

DBM Comment:We have provided this information for educational purposes only.  Certain foods such as dairy products from cow’s or soya products are NOT permitted on DBM programs.  If we allow dairy on your program it MUST be from goat, sheep or ewes.   Not all our clients are “allowed” dairy of any kind.  Please confirm with your DBM Physician or Practitioner before using these foods as part of your probiotic / synbiotic / fermented food program.
  1. Sour Pickles: It is important to understand that brine pickles, are probiotics and vinegar pickled vegetables are not. Make sure the sour pickles are not pasteurized, as all the microorganisms are killed through pasteurization. That means to buy locally. Sour pickles include cucumbers, cabbage, (also called sauerkraut, or kim chi), and any other vegetables that you would eat raw. 
  2. Kombucha tea: Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea, which uses as a fermentation agent an active culture of both yeast and bacteria. The Kombucha tea is a concoction of probiotics known as a liver detoxification agent, but it is also great for treating conditions as any other probiotic. Do not take kombucha capsules, or tea bags, or any extract, they won’t help at all. Only the live tea, slightly fizzy is the one that works.  Make absolutely SURE that the tea has been fermented for at least ten days to ensure that the sugar used as the starter is converted.  We would prefer that if you are NOT sure that you not purchase the tea, especially if you have been diagnosed with cancer.  Because most commercially manufacturers do not long-ferment their tea, we recommend that you make it yourself.
  3.  Miso: A Japanese seasoning, in the form of paste, obtained by fermenting soybeans, and sometimes also rice and barley. The fermentation is done with salt and the fungus koijin. The resulted paste is used to season soups, sauces, and meats. The most famous dish in the Western world is the miso soup. Miso is prohibited on ALL DBM Programs.  For more information on GM and Soya follow these links. 
  4. Olives: If made in brine, they are just like any other pickles in brine, full of probiotics.
  5.  Cultured cottage cheese. Make sure your cottage cheese is from goat or sheep dairy, and confirm with your DBM Physician if dairy is permitted on your program.
  6.  Fermented Poi: Not readily available in most countries, but it is a paste made from the root of taro. Poi can also be fermented after preparation, so it gets a delicate sour taste. In the process, healthy bacteria develops.
  7.  Eastern Cheeses:Feta cheese, telemea,  sirene, or sir, are Eastern European cheeses, made with rennet as a starter, and traditionally contain probiotics in moderate quantities. Lately, many producers try to improve the number of probiotics in the cheese by adding lactic acid bacteria to the starter. Both feta and telemea are NOT traditionally made from cow’s milk. 
  8. Fermented Dairy: Yogurt, Kefir, Sour Milk are fermented milk products, using different bacteria. Make sure the milk is NOT from cows. Some yogurts on the market are not real yogurts, in other words they don’t contain any good bacteria, so many people choose to make your yogurt at home.
  9. Fermented fruit juices: Fermented fruit juices such as Must, and hard apple cider, are a great source of probiotics. Just make sure you don’t let them ferment too much, because the more they ferment the more sugar transforms into alcohol, and the more aldehydes contain.
  10. Fermented Drinks: Boza, or Braga is a fermented drink, very popular in the Eastern Europe countries, with a slightly sweet, and acidic taste. As any fermented beverage, boza, (braga as it is also known), is loaded with probiotics. Boza used to be one of the preferred soft drink in the Eastern Europe, but with the spread of commercial soft drinks such as Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, and Fanta, the interest has declined. Part of the problem is the short shelf life of any fermented food.
  11. Kvass: A Russian-origin beverage, obtained by fermentation of bread, with a slight alcohol content, (under 1%). By extension, some other fermentation juices are also called kvass, although the ingredients are different. The most famous is the beet kvass, which is made from beets, and it is in fact the brine from the sour pickled beets.
  12. Active Brewer’s Yeast: This contains Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Brewer’s yeast was used for a long time for treating or managing various health issues. The inactive sort, is not a probiotic, it is rather a supplement loaded with vitamin B and chromium. The active yeast though works best because of the live bacteria. One might ask, why beer is not included on this list, and that is a great question. The truth is that all beers in stores, are pasteurized, which means that all bacteria and the yeast that makes the beer ferment are killed, in order to give it a longer shelf life. So beer is a probiotic food only if it’s taken fresh from brewery and is not pasteurized, or if you make your own. Additionally, alcohol is not recommended on any DBM programs.
  13. Labneh: Also known as Leben is strained yogurt. It is also called pressed yogurt, or yogurt cheese, and it is obtained by straining the yogurt in a cloth, to remove the whey. The result is a cheese like paste, tasting like yogurt, full of probiotics, and very nutritious. If you are to make use of this type of fermented food, make sure that it is from sheep or goat.
  14. Water kefir: This is a drink obtained by fermenting a sugary water, using a special culture of yeasts and bacteria named named Tibicos. The cultures are enveloped in a biofilm that holds them together, in a structure commonly named kefir grains. The grains contain a complex mix of Lactobacilli, Streptococcus, Leuconostoc, and Pediococcus bacteria, and yeasts strains from Saccharomyces, Kloeckera, and Candida. Water kefir is probably one of the best non-dairy fermented drinks, source of probiotics. 
  15. Rejuvelac: A fermented beverage obtained through fermentation of sprouted grains, such as wheat, quinoa, oats, millet, or barley. It is a great probiotic drink, with bioavailable vitamin B, K and E, easy to digest proteins, and enzymes. It is somewhat similar to boza. 
  16. Bors: A Romanian fermented drink made from water and wheat bran. Traditionally, it is used as an ingredient in Romanian sour soups, (ciorbă), to give it the specific tart taste. Borş is also drunk raw, and this form is the best for health, because it contains all the prbiotics intact, whereas by cooking it in soups, all the live cultures are destroyed. Borş is very similar to Rejuvelac. 

Adapted from Article: Source: FermentedFoods