Hypothetical Scenario

Jan is a 35-year-old marketing manager who leads a stressful life trying to juggle work, raising her 2 kids, and managing household responsibilities. Jan follows a Western diet and tends to snack on high-fat foods when stressed. Jan has been noticing that her gut health has been deteriorating recently and because of her lactose intolerance she can’t have probiotics, like yoghurt, in her diet. Jan wants probiotic foods that are quick and easy to make, are dairy free, and are convenient to purchase.

A bowl of yogurt with fruit.

Why not Yoghurt?

Yoghurt is made when bacteria, most commonly Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, is combined with milk and heated, for several hours, to around 43 – 46°C. Sometimes additional types of lactobacilli and/or bifidobacteria are added to the yoghurt (Harvard T.H. Chan, 2019).

Benefits and Limitations

Yoghurt offers great probiotic benefits (e.g., protection from weight gain, heart disease and type 2 diabetes) and is a source of protein, calcium, phosphorous and B vitamins (riboflavin and B12) (Harvard T.H. Chan, 2019). The limitations of yoghurt as a probiotic nutraceutical are as follows:

  • Dairy-based yoghurts are not always suitable for those with lactose intolerance.
  • Dairy-based yoghurts aren’t vegan friendly.
  • Some yoghurts have high sugar contents.
  • Low bacterial strain diversity in yoghurts (learn why bacterial strain diversity is important here).
A bucket full of Happy Culture water kefir and ice.

Water Kefir

Water kefir is made by fermenting a combination of sugar water and water kefir grains for between 24 and 48 hours. Water kefir grains are a culture of bacteria and yeast, most commonly Lactobacillus paracasei, Lb. hilgardii, Lb. nagelii and S. cerevisiae, and have an appearance similar to that of rice (Ajmera, 2023) (Guzel-Seydim, et al., 2021).


Although yoghurt offers great probiotic benefits, water kefir offers better probiotic benefits, as it provides a diverse range of bacterial strains (Ajmera, 2023). Studies have shown that water kefir may offer the following health benefits (Guzel-Seydim, et al., 2021):

  • Anticarcinogenic or anticarcinomic effect (prevention or delay in the development of cancer).
  • Hepatoprotective effect (prevention of damage to the liver).
  • Cholesterol lowering effect.
  • Blood-sugar reducing effect.
  • Anti-microbial effect.
  • Modification of gastrointestinal system.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor activity (helps to relax the veins and arteries).
  • Improve wound healing.
  • Anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Anti-oxidant effect.
  • Gastroprotective effect.

How to Make Water Kefir at Home

How to make Water Kefir recipe.

Coconut Water Kefir recipe.

Water kefir with pineapple recipe.

Stack of tempeh on a plate surrounded by soybeans


Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food that is made by fermenting soybeans, wheat or a mixture of soybeans and wheat. Mycelium strains, such as R. oligosporus, R. oryzae and R. stolonifera, are commonly used to ferment Tempeh and Lactobacillus families are present in the fermented Tempeh (Teoh, et al., 2024). Tempeh is similar to tofu, with the exception that it is fermented. Tempeh has a firm, dry and chewy texture, with a slightly nutty taste, similar to mushrooms. Tempeh is a great vegan or vegetarian high protein meat alternative, which is also packed with nutrients (Ajmera, 2021).


The fermentation process of Tempeh involves breaking down phytic acid instead of the conventional fermentation process (e.g., in yoghurt production), which breaks down sugars (Buckle, 1984). Furthermore, Tempeh contains types of fiber that act as prebiotics and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut (Kuligowski, et al., 2013). Studies have shown that tempeh may offer the following health benefits (Teoh, et al., 2024):

  • Anti-diabetes effects.
  • Cognitive function improvement.
  • Cholesterol lowering properties and cardiovascular health improvement.
  • Antitumor and anticancer properties.
  • Anti-aging effect.
  • Antihypertensive effect (reduces high blood pressure).
  • Gut health improvement and antidepressant effect.

Tempeh Recipes

Marinated Peanut Tempeh (7 Ingredients!) recipe.

Tempeh and Wild Mushroom Fricassee recipe.

Thai Tempeh Nourish Bowl recipe.

Where can I get Tempeh?

Tempeh is available at almost every Asian Market in South Africa (SA) and is sold at some Woolworths stores across SA. The following is a list of some Asian Markets in major cities across SA:

  • Durban – Sun Sun Asian Market; Wu Chi Fresh market
  • Johannesburg – Ka Ka Lok Chinese Supermarket; Sui Hing Hong; Kokoro
  • Cape Town – Korea Market; HelloAsia!; N1 Chinese Supermarket
A jar of kimchi.


Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that consists of fermenting cabbage with seasonings (e.g., salt, onions, garlic, ginger, sugar, chili peppers etc.). Kimchi may also contain other vegetables like celery, carrot, cucumber etc (Snyder, 2023). Fermented Kimchi contains Lactobacillus kimchi and other Lactic acid bacteria, over 34 amino acids and at least 10 different minerals (Patra, et al., 2016).


Kimchi is produced using lacto-fermentation, meaning that Lactobacillus bacterium breaks down sugars into lactic acid. The lactic acid gives kimchi its unique sour taste profile (Snyder, 2023). Studies have shown that kimchi may offer the following health benefits (Park, et al., 2014 (Snyder, 2023):

  • Antioxidative and anticancer effect.
  • Antimutagenic effects.
  • Boosts immune function.
  • Antiobesity effect.
  • Antimicrobial activities.
  • Improved gut health.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Prevent yeast infections.

How to Make Kimchi at Home

Nappa cabbage kimchi recipe.

How to Make Easy Cabbage Kimchi recipe.

Traditional Kimchi recipe.

Where can I get Kimchi or the Ingredients to Make Kimchi?

Kimchi and its ingredients are available at almost every Asian Market in South Africa (SA) and kimchi is sold at some Dischem stores across SA. The following is a list of some asian Markets in major cities across SA:

  • Durban – Sun Sun Asian Market; Wu Chi Fresh market
  • Johannesburg – Ka Ka Lok Chinese Supermarket; Sui Hing Hong; Kokoro
  • Cape Town – Korea Market; HelloAsia!; N1 Chinese Supermarket
A person pouring Happy Culture kombucha into a glass.


Kombucha was first used in China over 2,000 years ago and has garnered a global reputation as a health and wellness probiotic drink. Kombucha consists of sugar, black tea and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The SCOBY consists of several species of Lactic acid bacteria and ferments the sugar and black tea over the course of a week (Smith, 2022) (Leech, 2023).


The benefits of kombucha are mostly attributed to the synergistic effect of the vitamins, organic acids, minerals, sugars, and antioxidants in the kombucha (de Oliveira, et al., 2023). Although studies are ongoing, the following lists some potential health benefits of kombucha (Kapp & Sumner, 2019):

  • Antimicrobial benefits.
  • Improved liver and gastrointestinal function.
  • Health prophylactic and recovery through immune stimulation.
  • Detoxification effects.
  • Antioxidant effects.
  • Antitumour properties.
  • Inhibiting the development and progression of cancer.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes managements.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Normalisation of central nervous system function.

How to Make Kombucha at Home

How to Make a Scoby – Simple Steps recipe.

The Simple Guide to Kickass Kombucha recipe.

Easy Kombucha Cocktails recipe.

Where can I get Kombucha?

Click here to view our range of kombucha products.

A jar of pickles.


When thinking of pickles, one tends to think of gherkins preserved in dilute brine (2 to 5% salt). The act of fermentation pickling is broadly defined as the preservation of fruits, vegetables etc. in a mixture of salt and water. The pickled substance ferments over many days using its own naturally present Lactic acid bacteria to produce a sour and salty tasting side dish (Stevens, 2023).


It is worth noting that only pickles that contain raw and unpasteurised vinegars (e.g., Apple Cider Vinegar) retain probiotic bacterial cultures. Correctly fermented pickles have shown the following potential health benefits (Behera, et al., 2020):

  • Lowers serum cholesterol.
  • Immunity booster and prevents cellular damage.
  • Protector from diabetes.
  • Antimutagenic activity.
  • Broad spectrum antimicrobial, auto aggregation, and co-aggregation.
  • Improve digestion and enhance gut microbiome.

Note that pickles are high in sodium, so caution is advised for those with high blood pressure.

How to Make Pickles at Home

Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles recipe.

Pickled Vegetables – Indian Mixed Vegetable Pickle recipe.

Lime pickle recipe.

Where can I get Pickles or the Ingredients to Make Pickles?

Pickles can be purchased at leading retailers across SA, along with the ingredients needed to make your own pickles at home. Always check the product labels on your pickles to ensure that the pickles weren’t fermented in vinegar (this process does not produce probiotic cultures).


  1. Ajmera, R., 2023. What Is Water Kefir? Benefits, Uses and Recipe. [Online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/n trition/water-kefir [Accessed 20 May 2024].
  2. Ajmera, R., 2023. What Is Water Kefir? Benefits, Uses and Recipe. [Online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/n trition/water-kefir [Accessed 20 May 2024]
  3. Behera, S.S., El Sheikha, A. F., Hammami, R. & Kumar, A., 2020. Traditionally fermented pickles: How the microbial diversity associated with their nutritional and health benefits?. Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 70, p. 103971.
  4. Buckle, K.A., 1984. Phytic acid changes in soybeans fermented by traditional inoculum and six strains of Rhizopus oligosporus. Journal of Applied Bacteriology, Volume 58, pp. 539-543.
  5. de Oliveira, P. V. et al., 2023. Kombucha benefits, risks and regulatory frameworks: A review. Food Chemistry Advances, Volume 2, p. 100288.
  6. Guzel-Seydim, Z. B., Gökırmaklı, Ç. & Greene, A. K., 2021. A comparison of milk kefir and water kefir: Physical, chemical, microbiological and functional properties. Trends in Food Science & Technology, Volume 113, pp. 42-53.
  7. Harvard T.H. Chan, 2019. Yogurt. [Online] Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu nutritionsource/food features/yogurt/ [Accessed 20 May 2024].
  8. Kapp, J. M. & Sumner, W., 2019. Kombucha: a systematic review of the empirical evidence of human health benefit. Annals of Epidemiology, Volume 30, pp. 66-70.
  9. Kuligowski, M., Jasińska Kuligowska, I. & Nowak, J., 2013. Evaluation of bean and soy tempeh influence on intestinal bacteria and estimation of antibacterial properties of bean tempeh. Pol J Microbiol, 62(2), pp. 189-194.
  10. Leech, J., 2023. 7 Evidence Based Health Benefits of Kombucha. [Online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/n trition/8-benefits-of kombucha-tea [Accessed 20 May 2024].
  11. Park, K. Y., Jeong, J. K., Lee, Y. E. & Daily III, J. W., 2014. Health benefits of kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables) as a probiotic food. Journal of medicinal food, 71(1), pp. 6-20.
  12. Patra, J. K., Das, G., Paramithiotis, S. & Shin, H. S., 2016. Kimchi and Other Widely Consumed Traditional Fermented Foods of Korea: A Review. Front Microbiol, 28(7), p. 1493.
  13. Smith, M., 2022. Kombucha. [Online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diet/the-truth-about-kombucha [Accessed 20 May 2024].
  14. Snyder, C., 2023. 9 Surprising Benefits of Kimchi. [Online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/n trition/benefits-of-kimchi [Accessed 20 May 2024].
  15. Stevens, C. J., 2023. Are Pickles Good for You?. [Online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/h alth/food-nutrition/are-pickles good-for-you [Accessed 20 May 2024].
  16. Teoh, S. Q. et al., 2024. A review on health benefits and processing of tempeh with outlines on its functional microbes. Future Foods, Volume 9, p. 100330.
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