13 Most Sour Foods on Earth (And Their Health Benefits)

From lemons and limes to grapefruits and currants there are all sorts of delicious—and healthy—foods out there with a tart, acidic flavor.

Here are 13 of the sourest foods on earth, along with their health benefits.


Top 13 Sour Foods:

1. Umeboshi Sour Plums

Umeboshi sour plums are hands-down the sourest food out there. These little fruits pack a serious punch, with a pH level of around 2.5. That’s about as sour as vinegar!

Umeboshi Sour Plums

Umeboshi sour plums are typically used as a condiment in Japan and are often served alongside rice. They can also be used to make sour plum tea, which is said to aid in digestion.

If you’re looking for a sour food that will really make your face pucker, look no further than umeboshi sour plums. Just be warned – a little goes a long way!

2. Tamarind 

Tamarind is a fruit that originates from Africa but is now grown in tropical climates all over the world. It’s often used in Asian cooking, and its sour flavor pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes.

tamarinds in a wooden basket

Tamarind is also a good source of fiber and minerals like iron and potassium

3. Lemons 

Lemons are one of the most versatile—and sour—foods out there. They can be used to add flavor to both sweet and savory dishes alike, or simply enjoyed on their own.


Lemons are also a great source of Vitamin C, which is essential for a strong immune system.

4. Limes 

Like lemons, limes are incredibly versatile. They can be used in everything from marinades to cocktails, and they make a great garnish for fish or poultry dishes.


Limes are also a good source of antioxidants and can help improve your digestive health.

5. Grapefruits 

Grapefruits are a delicious—and healthy— breakfast option. They’re also a great source of fiber, which can help promote bowel regularity and prevent constipation.

close up of slices of grapefruits - sour food

Additionally, grapefruits contain compounds that can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

6. Tart Cherries:

Tart cherries are a type of sour cherry that is similar to the sour cherries you find in pies and other desserts.

However, they have a higher concentration of nutrients, including vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.

tart cherries

While more research is needed to confirm the health benefits of tart cherries, some studies have shown that they may help to improve sleep quality, reduce inflammation, and speed up recovery from exercise.

So if you’re looking for a sour food that’s not only delicious but also good for you, reach for a bag of tart cherries the next time you’re at the supermarket.

7. Cranberries

Sour cranberries are not only a delicious addition to recipes, but they also offer a host of health benefits.

Cranberries are rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

red cranberries

They are also a good source of Vitamin C, providing a boost to the immune system.

In addition, cranberries contain flavonoids, which have been shown to promote digestive health and prevent urinary tract infections.

So, the next time you are looking for a healthy snack, reach for some sour cranberries. You’ll be getting a tasty treat and giving your body a boost of nutrients at the same time.

8. Kimchi

Kimchi is a sour food that is full of health benefits. It is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as iron and calcium. The kimchi also contains a type of sour probiotic bacteria that is good for gut health.

In addition, kimchi has been shown to boost immunity, improve digestion, and reduce inflammation. Sour food lovers who are looking for a healthy option will find that the kimchi fits the bill perfectly.

While it may take some getting used to the sour taste, the health benefits of the kimchi are well worth it.

9. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a sour food that is often used in pies and other desserts. It is a member of the Polygonaceae family, which includes other sour fruits like sorrel and buckwheat.

Rhubarb is native to Asia and has been cultivated for centuries. The stalks of the plant are the part that is typically eaten, and they can be cooked or raw. When cooked, they are often sweetened with sugar or honey to offset their sourness.


Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and it also contains antioxidants. While it is most commonly used as a food, it can also be used as a medicine.

Rhubarb has laxative properties, and it is sometimes used to treat constipation.

It can also be helpful in treating diarrhea and stomach pain.

10. Gooseberries

While gooseberries might not be the most popular fruit, they are certainly unique. These sour little berries have been enjoyed for centuries, and their tart flavor has made them a popular ingredient in pies and other desserts.

fresh green gooseberries in a bowl

In addition to their culinary uses, gooseberries are also known for their medicinal properties. Some believe that these berries can help to improve digestion and relieve stomach pain.

Whether you enjoy them in a recipe or simply as a snack, gooseberries are definitely worth a try.

11. Currants

While they may not be the most popular fruit, currants have a lot to offer. These small, sour berries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, making them a great addition to any diet.

white red and black currants

Currants can be used in a variety of ways, from jams and jellies to pies and pastries. They can also be added to savory dishes for a pop of flavor.

Whether you’re looking for something healthy or delicious, currants are worth considering.

12. Horseradish Pickles

Horseradish pickles are a sour food that is often eaten as a side dish or condiment. They are made by combining horseradish and vinegar, and they can vary in spice level depending on the amount of horseradish used.

Horseradish pickles are often served with meats or cheeses, and they can also be used as a condiment for sandwiches or salads.

In addition to being sour, horseradish pickles are also spicy and slightly sweet. They are an acquired taste, but once you get used to them, they can be quite addictive.

If you’re looking for a new flavor to add to your meals, horseradish pickles are definitely worth a try.

13. Kombucha

Kombucha is a sour, slightly fizzy drink that has been gaining popularity in recent years for its purported health benefits. Some believe that kombucha can help improve digestion, boost energy levels, and even fight depression.

While there is still much research to be done on the subject, some studies have shown that kombucha does indeed have several health-promoting properties.

For example, it is a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health, and it also contains vitamins B and C.

In addition, kombucha is thought to promote detoxification by helping the liver to process toxins more effectively. While more research is needed to confirm these claims, there is no doubt that kombucha is a healthy addition to any diet.

Health Benefits of Sour Foods:

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of incorporating sour foods into your diet.

1. Vitamin C

As we mentioned before, sour fruits are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly it boosts the immune system.

A strong immune system is a key to preventing sickness, so make sure to eat your sours if you want to stay healthy!

2. Weight Loss

In addition to being packed with Vitamin C, sour foods can also help with weight loss.

Studies have shown that the acetic acid in vinegar (a common sour ingredient) can help increase metabolism and reduce belly fat.

So if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, add some lemon juice or vinegar to your next meal.

3. Improved Digestion

Sour foods can also help improve digestion. Acids present in sour fruits help break down food, which makes it easier for your body to absorb nutrients.

In addition, the probiotics in fermented sour foods like yogurt and kimchi can help keep your gut healthy.

So if you’re having trouble with digestion, reach for yogurt or pickle next time you’re feeling bloated.


Next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t bypass the lemons and limes! Though they may not be everyone’s favorite flavor, sour foods offer a host of health benefits that are worth incorporating into your diet.

From boosting your immune system to aiding in weight loss, sours are good for you in more ways than one.

If you’re looking for a delicious—and healthy—way to add some zing to your diet, look no further than these 13 tart and Tangy foods. From Lemons and limes to sourdough bread and tamarind fruit, these sour options are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that can boost your health in a variety of ways.

So go ahead and pucker up—your body will thank you!

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About the author

Natalie is a food enthusiast who spends all of her time trying out new recipes, testing out new appliances, and making her kitchen as awesome as possible. She is a professional writer and blogs here about her love of food & kitchen.

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