One health, fermented foods, and gut microbiota

Victoria Bell, Jorge Ferrão, Lígia Pimentel, Manuela Pintado, Tito Fernandes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in present-day society such as diets with more sugar, salt, and saturated fat, bad habits and unhealthy lifestyles contribute to the likelihood of the involvement of the microbiota in inflammatory diseases, which contribute to global epidemics of obesity, depression, and mental health concerns. The microbiota is presently one of the hottest areas of scientific and medical research, and exerts a marked influence on the host during homeostasis and disease. Fermented foods and beverages are generally defined as products made by microbial organisms and enzymatic conversions of major and minor food components. Further to the commonly-recognized effects of nutrition on the digestive health (e.g., dysbiosis) and well-being, there is now strong evidence for the impact of fermented foods and beverages (e.g., yoghurt, pickles, bread, kefir, beers, wines, mead), produced or preserved by the action of microorganisms, on general health, namely their significance on the gut microbiota balance and brain functionality. Fermented products require microorganisms, i.e., Saccharomyces yeasts and lactic acid bacteria, yielding alcohol and lactic acid. Ingestion of vibrant probiotics, especially those contained in fermented foods, is found to cause significant positive improvements in balancing intestinal permeability and barrier function. Our guts control and deal with every aspect of our health. How we digest our food and even the food sensitivities we have is linked with our mood, behavior, energy, weight, food cravings, hormone balance, immunity, and overall wellness. We highlight some impacts in this domain and debate calls for the convergence of interdisciplinary research fields from the United Nations’ initiative. Worldwide human and animal medicine are practiced separately; veterinary science and animal health are generally neither considered nor inserted within national or international Health discussions. The absence of a clear definition and subsequent vision for the future of One Health may act as a barrier to transdisciplinary collaboration. The point of this mini review is to highlight the role of fermented foods and beverages on gut microbiota and debate if the need for confluence of transdisciplinary fields of One Health is feasible and achievable, since they are managed by separate sectors with limited communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195
Number of pages17
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Fermented foods
  • Health benefits
  • Nutrition
  • Probiotics


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