Kombucha, Kimchi, Kefir & ‘Kraut: Meet the Kardashians of gut health

By Marie-Antoinette Issa |

IQS- Kombucha, Kimchee, Kefir and ‘Kraut: Meet the Kardashians of Gut Health

Wondering why your gut needs fermented foods like the Kardashians need paparazzi?

Sarah Wilson has discussed in depth, why she’s a fan of fermentation. In fact, your interior health is one of the cores of her new book I Quit Sugar: Simplicious.

With the benefits of live-bacteria-rich foods including; replenished microbiome; removal of toxins from your body; better nutrient absorption and supporting immune function, it’s obvious that fermentation and digestive wellness go together like, well, Kimmy and Kanye.

Kurious? We decided to get to the (ahem) ‘guts’ of Sarah’s favourite four fermented family members, and here’s what they (over)shared.  


Kimchi, Kimmy… given the similar names, the confusion between these two superstars is a common one. But here’s what you need to know about our famous find of the fermented kind.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables, usually cabbage, and occasionally onions, garlic and red capsicum. Fermentation occurs with water and spices added to the veggies, with the lactic-acid bacteria that is created renowned for increasing good gut bacteria.

Koreans claims that just one or two tablespoons of their national enzyme/vitamin/probiotic-rich condiment, tossed into salads, spread over burgers, or even eaten on its own, can dramatically improve digestive health.  

And it’s not just patriotic pride talking. Numerous independent reports have confirmed the other health benefits of kimchi. These include:

  • A 2011 study published in the Nutrition Research Journal which found that kimchi could help overweight patients shed weight and improve blood sugar and blood pressure.
  • Another study published the same year in Food Science and Biotechnology, which revealed the role of kimchi in regulating inflammation and slowing down the ageing process.
  • A 2013 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food which concluded that regular consumption of kimchi had a beneficial effect on lowering cholesterol levels in the body.


Kind of like Kourtney, just a pint-sized serve of this product packs a powerful fermented punch. Want to get to know kefir a little more intimately? (not live-delivery-on-tv intimately, that would just be weird!). A fermented dairy product, similar to yoghurt, but with a slightly sour taste, kefir’s gut-healing benefits include:

  • Potent doses of probiotics.
  • High in vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus B2, magnesium B12, and vitamin K2- which helps calcium metabolism, and strengthening of bones and teeth.
  • Anti-bacterial properties due to the presence of lactobacillus kefiri.
  • Immune system boosting bacteria, which has been found to help moderate allergic response.

Interested in kicking back with kefir? Use it just like you would yoghurt, milk or buttermilk and get your gut grinning.


We consider this slightly fizzy fermented tea-based beverage the Khloe of the klan; think bubbly, crowd-pleasing and definitely having a moment. Kombucha is created when a SCOBY (AKA a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”), activates and propels the drink (by eating sugar, yes sugar!) to become an “alive” gut-healing beverage.  

As a result, we can give you at least 17 reasons to sip the stuffHappy with a top three? In terms of gut health, these include:

  • Maintaining healthy gut flora and improving digestion by increasing the number of beneficial organisms.
  • Preserving nutrients and breaking them down into an easily digestible form, which allows you to absorb them better.
  • Enhancing the absorption of minerals, particularly calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and copper.


The Kris of the krew, sauerkraut refuses to conform with a silly konventions (like appropriate use of the letter C when naming her children, for example). However, fermented cabbage still has much in common with the other members of the fermentation family. Some of sauerkraut’s health benefits include:

  • As per all cruciferous veggies, cabbage contains natural isothiocyanate compounds (such as sulforaphane), which have cancer-fighting properties. 
  • Sauerkraut’s fermentation process produces beneficial probiotics now linked to improvements in immune, cognitive, digestive and endocrine function.
  • The result of super-charging your gut bacteria? A range of body benefits including lowered risk of digestive disorders like leaky gut syndrome and IBS; reduced risk of mood conditions such as depression and anxiety; and improvement to inflammation of various auto-immune diseases.

Sniffing around for a good sugar-free DIY sauerkraut recipe? (We get it, it’s an acquired scent!) Try this one by Sarah Wilson.

Do the four Ks deserve the hype? What’s your favourite fermented food?

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