What are Fermented Foods?

Fermented foods are a type of food that are preserved with the help of microorganisms. The process involves using different ingredients to help change the chemical structure of the food whether it’s through the use of bacteria, sugar, alcohol, or yeast.

Foods that are pickled or soured are also considered fermented foods and they are produced by using a type of acid such as vinegar or lemon juice. This is a great way to preserve food and make it more nutritious!

The real star is a bacteria called lactobacilli which converts starches and sugars in fermented food into lactic acid. This is what gives the food its distinct sour flavor. What’s more amazing is that fermented foods are available around the world.

Throughout history, different cultures have developed their own versions of fermented foods. For example in South Africa, they have a fermented milk that’s similar to yogurt which is called amasi. Philippines has the atchara, a side dish made from pickled papaya. In southern parts of India as well as its neighbor Sri Lanka, they have a pancake made by mixing fermented rice batter with coconut milk.

You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to find fermented foods. There could already be a couple that’s in your fridge right now! Here’s a quick list of the more common fermented foods items that are available at your local grocery store:

  • Yogurt
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Pickles
  • Kimchi
  • Cheese
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

It’s important to note that not all fermented foods were made equal. Some are powerful in cultivating the bacteria in your gut since they have higher probiotic content in them. Most of the foods mentioned above are high probiotic foods that you can include in your diet.

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Fermented Foods and Probiotics

Fermented foods are not new. We’ve been having them for many centuries. It’s only the rising popularity of probiotics did we begin to bring back more fermented foods into our diets.

Fermented foods are known to be great sources of probiotics which may help increase good bacteria in the gut. The bacteria in your gut can help with your immune system’s response to bad and good bacteria.

When you consume probiotic rich foods, you maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. You also help it kill bad bacteria that cause certain illnesses like diarrhea, eczema, IBS, UTI, Crohn’s, bladder cancer, ulcerative colitis, and more.

Gout and Fermented Foods

There’s scientific evidence showing that fermented foods may help with gout. A study led by Chandan Prasad found that probiotics have an influence on how purine is absorbed by the body. This in turn helps reduce inflammation. This makes probiotics found in fermented foods a potentially helpful in managing uric acid levels in gout sufferers.

Researchers of the study highly recommended using probiotics found in natural foods instead of pills and capsules. Thankfully, fermented foods are available in many forms whether as a dessert (yogurt), drink (kombucha), side dish (pickles) or as a meal (miso soup).

There is only one problem though and that is product labeling. Because fermented foods are trendy, some companies market their products to the point of misleading the customer. A fruit yogurt claimed to have probiotic benefits may actually just be filled with artificial sugars. Then there’s probiotic supplements which don’t specify the genus or species of the bacteria, or don’t indicate the level of probiotic available in the product.

As a consumer, this can be frustrating. But you need not to be. For as long as there are conscious buyers like you, companies will listen and strive to produce quality products that meet their customer’s needs. A good place to start is the back of the product. Make it a practice to check labels and see if it matches with the claims made in the front. Research the company. Find out if they have a reputation for being transparent with their customers or if they have a history of dubious practices. The internet makes it easy to find out this information. Use it to your advantage,

There’s also some basic fermented food staples which might already be in your kitchen. Take raw apple cider vinegar for example. It’s a type of fermented food which you can use to make salad dressings. You can also consume it by itself. Apple cider vinegar is a known remedy for gout since it breaks up uric acid crystals and prevent build up in the joints. It also alkalizes in the body making it less acidic. 

Dairy is another example. Milk on its own serves as a good base for good bacteria to multiply. It’s also worth noting that dairy has a uricosuric effect on gout, meaning it increases uric acid excretion in the body. Certain gout medications have the same mechanism helping to reduce uric acid concentration in the blood.

If you’d like more probiotic benefits, consider getting cultured dairy. This is dairy that’s been fermented with lactic acid bacteria. It’s been consumed for thousands of years and it doesn’t hurt to try it yourself. Fermented dairy tastes better and is easily digested by the body.

Easy Fermented Food Recipes

Making fermented food at home is very easy. No need for special equipment or ingredients. In fact, some of it might already be in your pantry!


Ingredients: 1 medium sized green cabbage, 1 ½ tablespoons of salt

  1. Slice the cabbage into thin ribbons
  2. Place it into a mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Massage the salt onto the cabbage until it becomes watery and limp.
  4. Place the cabbage into a canning jar making sure it’s packed to the bottom. You want to make sure it’s submerged in liquid. If there’s not enough, add a cup of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Store in a cool area, away from sunlight. Check in on your cabbage every few hours to make sure it’s still submerged in the liquid.
  6. Let it ferment for at least 3 days or longer.
  7. You may see bubbles form on top of your cabbage. Don’t fret, this is a good sign. If you see mold, simply scrape it off the top ensuring that the cabbage is still submerged in the liquid.
  8. Enjoy your sauerkraut! As long as it tastes and smells good, you can still eat it for several months!

BONUS TIP: You can do the same exact process with other types of cabbages


Ingredients: 8 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of commercial yogurt with active cultures

  1. Heat the milk in a Dutch oven and cook on medium heat, stirring it gently.
  2. Transfer the milk to a jar, place a lid on top and let it cool. Stir occasionally, making sure it doesn’t form a layer of skin on top. You can also place the jar in cool water.
  3. Once it reaches 115°F, add the yogurt. It should be 2 tablespoons of yogurt for every quart of milk.
  4. Incubate your yogurt. This can be done several ways whether it’s on a thermos, a heat keeping jug, a microwave, slow cooker, oven, or simply by the window on a warm day. Leave it for 5 to 10 hours. The goal is to leave it sitting at a steady temperature 115°F for the good bacteria to flourish.
  5. Taste your yogurt. The longer and hotter incubation is, the thicker and more sour your yogurt will be. Store it in the refrigerator and consume within 2 weeks.

Peach vinegar

Ingredients: 4 to 6 ripe peaches, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 liters of water

  1. Chop peaches and place in a large jar.
  2. Dissolve sugar in water and pour it in the jar.
  3. Grab a paper towel and secure with a rubber band.
  4. Let it sit at room temperature for a week. Stir it once a day to prevent mold formation. If you
  5. Remove the peaches with a strainer and keep the liquid.
  6. Resume fermenting the liquid for 2 to 3 more weeks. By the 1st week, you should see the mother, a goopy scum, forming. This is beneficial bacteria that is a result of a second fermentation process.
  7. After fermentation and the liquid already smells like vinegar, it’s ready for storage. Simply put it in a tightly sealed jar. The older it gets, the better it will taste.

Notice any pattern here? Fermented foods are basically just vegetables placed in a brine and left to sit for long periods. It can be quite a long process but the end result is very satisfying. One thing to ensure when fermenting your foods is to submerge all solid ingredients in liquid. Bacteria doesn’t need oxygen and will thrive in the liquid brine you created.

In Conclusion

We hope to have inspired you to consume more fermented foods and make some of your own at home. It’s great flavorful food that’s very easy to make and may be beneficial for your gout.

Which recipe above will you try out first? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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    8 replies to "Gout and Fermented Foods"

    • Mildred Colani Simelane

      Good morning Spiro, I discovered joints pain in my fingers, blood tests done in February and doctor confirmed I’m having Gout. What am I going to eat? No meat, no emasi(sour milk) no sour porridge, no mahewu fermented soft porridge drink, just confused what foods to avoid eating. Thanks for your article on fermented foods it gave me hope. I’m also worried about red meat, I thought pork and goat were good for Gout patients?

      • Spiro Koulouris

        Try eating 80% of your daily calories as complex carbohydrates such as fresh vegetables, legumes, some fruit, 100% whole grain breads, pastas and rice. Eat mostly beans for protein.

        10% of your daily calories can be protein such as chicken breast, turkey, fish, lean red beef and lamb. Avoid pork, processed meats like sausages and hot dogs, avoid all seafood as well like lobster, shrimp and crab for example.

        Finally, eat 10% of your daily calories as fat like milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, eggs and so on.

        Drink only water, herbal teas and coffee.

        Avoid processed foods like snack bars, cookies, cereals etc…

        Do not fry your food. Only boil it or bake it in the oven. BBQ meat is fine too.

        Cook only with 100% extra virgin olive oil. Do not use corn oil, vegetable oil, canola or other types of oil that are toxic to your health.

        Good luck!

    • cosuin

      j ai subi l ablation de la vesicule avec complication + de 15 jours hôpital 1 jour avant la sortie crise de goutte
      (il on oublier de me donner mon medoc hypertension pendant 11 jours )
      aujourd hui ma crise de goutte est toujours la (1 mois)
      personne ne peut me dire a quoi elle est du et quoi faire

      • Spiro Koulouris

        Dur à dire.

        Si vous prenez d’autres médicaments, ils peuvent déclencher la goutte, en particulier les médicaments liés à l’hypertension.

        Mieux si vous pouvez obtenir un deuxième avis d’un autre docteur si vous n’êtes pas sûr.

    • Richard

      Hi Spiro,

      Thank you for the latest tip.
      You were there on line when I had my first, and worst, flare up in the middle of the night, no clinic open, no one I can ask, and only the ER with a $3k bill waiting for me.
      Your knowledgeable articles and posts gave me hope while i suffered in agony. I continue to have some pain, but I can now walk like a normal person, and sleep and night. I take 100mg Alopurinol daily, along with Gout and You supplements and your recommended diet whenever my budget can support it.

      The most important thing is that I no longer have such excruciating, flaming joint pains as before.

      Thank you Spiro


    • Barb Randell

      Hi Spiro!

      My husband has been on the gout diet for one month now!

      Im really proud of him.

      He has lost 5 kg now under 100kg!

      However he is experiencing his SECOND attack in the one month period.

      We have been stringent on the vegan diet except for white fish however we are eating normal pasta not whole wheat.

      His brother suffers from gout and we sent him your book link. He said he reacts to wheat and oats.

      I am thinking of changing the pasta and rice to whole grain and throwing out the other stuff – Any suggestions?

      We are off to the Doctors again tomorrow for a follow up but at the first session in comparing his blood tests his uric acid was down, his blood sugars down and he may be able to omit his cholesterol tablets!

      Ill keep you posted. 🙂

      Barbara Randell

      • Spiro Koulouris

        Hi Barbara!

        Thank you for your email!

        Yes please only eat 100% whole grain pasta and rice. I would throw out the other stuff, he will slowly get used to the taste and prefer it. Glad to hear he’s been losing weight.

        As you lose weight it’s very possible to get a attack as the crystals are melting and moving, keep at it and see what his doctor says.

        Good luck!

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