Who Should Not Eat Fermented Foods: Important Considerations

Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kefir, have gained popularity for their potential health benefits. However, it’s important to note that while fermented foods can be beneficial for many people, there are certain individuals who should exercise caution or avoid them altogether. In this article, we will explore who should not eat fermented foods and the reasons behind it.

1. People with Histamine Intolerance

Fermented foods often contain high levels of histamine, a compound involved in allergic responses. For individuals with histamine intolerance, consuming fermented foods can lead to adverse reactions such as headaches, digestive issues, hives, or nasal congestion. If you suspect histamine intolerance, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional and consider limiting or avoiding fermented foods.

2. Those with SIBO or Gut Imbalances

If you have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or other gut imbalances, fermented foods may exacerbate your symptoms. Fermented foods can contain high levels of beneficial bacteria, which may worsen bacterial overgrowth or disrupt the delicate balance of gut flora. It’s best to work with a healthcare provider who can guide you on an appropriate diet for your specific condition.

3. Individuals with Autoimmune Conditions

Some individuals with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, may need to be cautious with fermented foods. While fermented foods can have probiotic benefits, they can also stimulate the immune system, potentially triggering autoimmune flare-ups in susceptible individuals. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine whether fermented foods are suitable for you.

4. Those with Mold or Fungal Sensitivities

Fermented foods are created through the natural process of microbial fermentation, which can involve the growth of certain molds or fungi. If you have a known sensitivity or allergy to molds or fungi, consuming fermented foods may lead to adverse reactions. It’s crucial to be aware of your sensitivities and consider alternative options that don’t involve fermentation.


While fermented foods can offer numerous health benefits, including improved digestion and a diverse gut microbiome, it’s essential to recognize that they may not be suitable for everyone. People with histamine intolerance, SIBO or gut imbalances, autoimmune conditions, or mold/fungal sensitivities should approach fermented foods with caution or avoid them altogether. As with any dietary change, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs.