Fermented foods support a healthy gut

January 2024 – The microbiome is the community of microorganisms that live in your gut, and help regulate your digestive system. Growing research shows that a healthy gut may also support the immune system, mitigate chronic disease, and positively impact mental health. While the science behind the microbiome is complex, eating well to support your health is relatively simple. The guidance is to increase prebiotic and probiotic foods in your diet, and to limit processed foods, sweeteners, caffeine, and alcohol.

Prebiotic foods feed friendly bacteria in your gut, which leads to a healthier digestive track. Prebiotics create nutrients including Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs), which absorb into the bloodstream and support healthy metabolism. Prebiotic foods include raw garlic and onion, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats, and dandelion greens.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. There are many different types of these living microorganisms, and you can take them as food or supplements. A healthcare provider may suggest a specific kind of probiotic to support your wellness journey, or to rebuild your microbiome after a round of antibiotics. While research is still emerging about the science behind probiotics and the microbiome, fermented foods are readily available.

At the market, we carry a range of probiotic food and supplements to support your health. Here is sample of what you can find in our fridges:

Sauerkraut and Pickles

Fermented foods have a long history in many cultures, with sauerkraut being one of the most well-known. Considered an Eastern and Central European dish, a traditional sauerkraut is made with sliced cabbage and salt. Golden State Pickle Works offers an award-winning cabbage kraut, and a range of outstanding salt-brined pickled veggies. Salt-brined pickles retain probiotic cultures, while vinegar-based pickles do not.


Miso is a traditional Japanese ferment. It’s a thick paste produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and kōji and sometimes rice, barley, seaweed, or other ingredients. Miso Master has been producing unpasteurized, naturally fermented miso in the US since 1970.


A Korean fermentation of cabbage with spicy pepper, garlic, ginger and more. We carry a number of outstanding kimchis, including Ozuké’s traditional style, and Twins Premium Cubed Radish “KKakduki” style.


Kefir is a fermented drink with a consistency comparable to yogurt. While traditionally made from dairy milk, we carry plant-based options as well. Kefirlab offers probiotic kefir made with either dairy milk, or coconut milk.


Yogurt is made by adding beneficial bacteria to milk. In addition to dairy milk yogurts, we carry a range of plant-based yogurts including Cocojune’s coconut milk yogurts. Look for yogurts made with “live, active cultures”.


Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black tea drink. Here in northern California, we are lucky to have an ample selection of locally made Kombucha, including House, made in Oakland.


Probiotic supplements add to your existing supply of friendly microbes. We carry a few options in our dairy fridge. PB8 is a combination of eight strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, the beneficial bacteria that naturally occur in a healthy digestive tract. Available in vegetarian and original capsules.