Fermented foods are created through fermentation (duh), in which components of foods, like the natural sugars, are broken down by yeast and bacteria and result in food chock-full of probiotics (aka, the good bugs). Some examples include kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut (Pedre’s personal favorite), miso, and yogurt, plus others.
While we recommend getting enough fiber into your diet, you might want to start with fermented foods if you have an inflamed gut. Pedre references a study2 in which researchers measured microbial diversity in folks who ate five to eight servings of fiber per day, versus those who ate six cups of fermented foods per day.
“What [they found] is that a high-fermented-foods diet increased microbial diversity in that group and lowered 19 inflammatory markers,” he explains. The fiber-rich group did see positive effects on microbial function and immune response, but it’s interesting that the fermented foods had such a significant effect on inflammation.
Both fiber-rich and fermented foods are necessary for a flourishing microbiome. However, if you have an unhealthy, inflamed gut (like, say, after a round of antibiotics), you might want to especially load up on the latter.