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Kombucha. Kimchi. Fermented vegies with your burger? Take a look at the science behind the latest food fad.

With the current interest in gut health and probiotics, an increase in the availability and popularity of some fermented foods is not surprising. A few years ago, it was rare to see kimchi on an Australian café menu. Now it is all the rage. Kombucha, a sweetened fermented tea made from yeast, is being offered on tap in several locations near me.

So, the question is – are there benefits to be gained from eating and drinking such foods?

I’ll jump right into the short answer: possibly, but probably not in the way you think or how they are being promoted. While clinical studies of fermented foods and drinks remain sparse, there is growing evidence to support their use.

Most products are being sold and marketed as “probiotics”. This term is brandished around quite loosely and without much control on food and drink products. Importantly, the mere presence of bacteria in the product is not sufficient to call it a probiotic.

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