One of the best ways to do this is to increase your intake of fermented foods. But for those of us who thrive on particularity and strict guidelines, this advice seems relatively vague, doesn’t it? This is what inspired us to wonder whether or not there is an ideal number of portions that we should pursue per day and that would look like in practice.
Find out below as we review the latest research and discuss with a registered dietitian how many servings of fermented foods a day are best for optimal gut health.
How many servings of fermented food per day are ideal?
A June 2021 study by researchers at Stanford University found that participants who ate a diet rich in fermented foods – which was specifically called “rich” – consumed six servings of fermented foods daily. reduction in 19 inflammatory proteins. and less activation of four types of immune system cells within a period of 10 weeks. In addition, another group of participants who increased their fiber intake failed to show the same downward trend in the same inflammatory markers and immune cells.
So are six servings of fermented foods a day * really * the gold standard if you want to reap the many benefits of fermented foods?
“I think that’s a good goal, but not everyone can tolerate six servings of fermented foods a day,” says Sarah Greenfield, RD, CSSD, founder of Fearless Fig and a dietitian specializing in gut health and functional medicine. “Just because a study showed a benefit does not mean that this exact diet will work for everyone.”
In addition, jumping in six portions immediately could end up doing more harm than good to some people – especially those already struggling with intestinal problems and other imbalances. “For example, if you have bacterial overgrowth, known as SIBO, eating fermented foods could lead to even more gas and indigestion,” says Greenfield. “And if you have candida overgrowth, fermented foods could feed candida, creating more fog in the brain, skin irritations and diarrhea or constipation.”
Of course, the goal of adding fermented foods to your diet is supposed to help rather than further aggravate your well-being concerns. With that said, if you want to increase your intake of fermented foods, Greenfield says aiming for one to two servings a day is a great place to start. If your gut agrees with this amount, do not hesitate to pick up more pickles and Greek yogurt – just do it little by little. “This slow and steady approach will ensure that you begin to reap the benefits of these gut-friendly food sources safely, while minimizing the chances of reactivity,” says Greenfield.
With that in mind, do not hesitate to mix and match the following fermented foods with the contents of your gut.
Serving sizes of fermented foods
The next time you go to the grocery store (or stand with your eyes wide open in front of your refrigerator door), Greenfield advises you to keep these fermented foods in mind and the corresponding serving sizes:
- Yogurt: 1 cup
- Kimchi and sauerkraut: 2 tbsp
- Kombucha: 1 cup
- Kefir: 1 cup
- Miso: 1 cup
- Night: 1 cup
- Pickles: 1/2 to 1 full pickle
Next, if you want to do the above mile, it is advisable to pay attention to a few thoughts when it comes to selecting specific fermented species. “For yogurt, make sure the label indicates that live probiotic strains are included. “Otherwise, you may not have as much gut toning benefits,” says Greenfield. In addition, it is advisable to look for low-sugar kombucha varieties, as high sugar intake can feed the “bad” gut bacteria (in addition to working against your health goals in other ways).
The bottom line
While fermented foods offer many clinically supported benefits for gut health – and therefore digestion, the immune system, your mood and more – you need to make sure you put them in a healthy, balanced diet that works according to your nutritional preferences and nutritional needs. Read: Do not consume half a dozen servings of kimchi and expect a stronger immune system, energy piles and cleaner skin overnight. (Believe me, I have tried.)
Greenfield notes that in some cases, some fermented foods will prove to be more beneficial to you than others. For example, your body may be sensitive to cabbage. “In this case, sauerkraut would not be a good food to eat – no matter how healthy it may be on its own – and you should look for other fermented foods and beverages that are best for your body.” shares.
As for this six-share quota? “Although only “If your gut is in balance, aiming for six servings of fermented foods a day is a great goal – but again, it’s not infallible.” In any case, picking with only one serving or a few sips a day should lead your gut and general health in the right direction.
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