A review of fermented foods with beneficial effects on brain and cognitive function

Binna Kim, Veronica Minsu Hong, Jeongwon Yang, Heejung Hyun, Jooyeon Jamie Im, Jaeuk Hwang, Sujung Yoon, Jieun E. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Around the world, fermentation of foods has been adopted over many generations, primarily due to their commercial significance with enriched flavors and high-profile nutrients. The increasing application of fermented foods is further promoted by recent evidence on their health benefits, beyond the traditionally recognized effects on the digestive system. With recent advances in the understanding of gut-brain interactions, there have also been reports suggesting the fermented food's efficacy, particularly for cognitive function improvements. These results are strengthened by the proposed biological effects of fermented foods, including neuroprotection against neurotoxicity and reactive oxygen species. This paper reviews the beneficial health effects of fermented foods with particular emphasis on cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective effects. With an extensive review of fermented foods and their potential cognitive benefits, this paper may promote commercially feasible applications of fermented foods as natural remedies to cognitive problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-309
Number of pages13
JournalPreventive Nutrition and Food Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the SME Tech Convergence Development Project (S2175707) funded by the Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA, Korea), Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (IPET) through High Value-added Food Technology Development Program, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) (116004-2), and Fire Fighting Safety & 119 Rescue Technology Research and Development Program funded by the Ministry of Public Safety and Security (MPSS-Fire Fighting Safety-2016-86). Funders had no role in the design, data collection, interpretation of the materials, manuscript preparation, or decision to publish.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 by The Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition. All rights Reserved.


  • Cognition
  • Fermentation
  • Functional food
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Neuroprotection


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