Fermentation has had a long history in human food production and consumption. Fermented foods and beverages can comprise anywhere between 5-40% of the human diet in some populations. Not only is this process beneficial for extending shelf-life for foods and beverages, but also fermentation can enhance nutritional properties in a safe and effective manner. In many developed countries, traditional methods are now replaced with specific technologies for production of fermented foods, and an emerging industrial practice allows for higher quality standardization of food products in the market place. Due to changes in fermentation processes and the increased consumption of these products, a detailed review of recent patents involving fermented foods and beverages and their impact on health is warranted. Fermented food products that can enhance nutrition, improve health, and prevent disease on a global level will require consistent fermentation methods, evaluation of nutritional compositions, and food safety testing. This review is intended to guide the development of fermented foods for enhanced human health benefits and suggests the need for multidisciplinary collaborations and structural analysis across the fields of food science, microbiology, human nutrition, and biomedical sciences.