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Do These Fermented Foods Protect Your Health?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

fermented soybeans

Story at-a-glance -

  • Natto — fermented soybeans — can lower the rate of cardiovascular disease in men and women that scientists hypothesized may be related to fiber and bioactive compounds
  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, which can be affected by several modifiable factors including exercise, lowering blood pressure and nutrition
  • Natto is high in vitamin K2 MK-7 form, which is bioavailable, stays in the body longer and helps transport calcium from the arteries into the bones reducing the risk of atherosclerosis
  • Fermented dairy, including kefir and yogurt, also lowers the risk of heart disease; consider making your own at home to avoid the sugar-sweetened, fruit-flavored products commonly found in the grocery

There are several different health conditions that fall under the umbrella term cardiovascular disease. Some are triggered by a process called atherosclerosis — colloquially called hardening of the arteries, a condition in which plaque builds up on the walls of your arteries. When the arteries become blocked, you are at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

When the heart muscle becomes too weak to provide enough blood and oxygen to meet your body's needs, it can lead to heart failure, and cause your kidneys to not function properly. This, in turn, can lead to congestive heart failure, when your body retains fluid and congests vital organs, including your lungs. According to the American Heart Association's 2019 update on heart disease, 6.2 million Americans were living with heart failure between 2013 and 2016.


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