Are you getting enough probiotic-rich foods in your diet? Chances are you’re probably not. Probiotics are a form of good bacteria found in your gut that are responsible for a range of functions, including nutrient absorption and immune health.
Probiotics are not only essential for digestion, but there are hundreds of other health benefits of consuming probiotic-rich foods that you might not be aware of.
The journal ISRN Nutrition published a review that claims probiotics could help lower cholesterol, prevent allergies, and cancer.
You don’t need to buy expensive pills, powders, or supplements to get more probiotics. There are many probiotic foods that are tasty, versatile, and easy to integrate into a healthy, well-rounded diet.
We will look at a list of probiotic foods and how they can improve your health. In addition to discussing how these fermented foods can improve your gut health, we will also provide some tips on how to incorporate them into your diet to get the most out of their probiotic content.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found in the gut microbiome. The microorganisms present in our body play a very important role in our health and are also involved in various bodily functions like immunity and digestion.
If you do not consume enough probiotics, you may experience digestive problems, skin issues, candida, autoimmune disease and frequent colds and flus.
Traditionally, people obtained their probiotics from consuming fresh foods grown in rich soil and fermented foods to prevent them from rotting.
Dangerous agricultural practices and decreased diet quality have significantly decreased the amount of probiotics in our food supply today. Many foods contain antibiotics both good and bad for our bodies.
There are many probiotic foods people can eat to help provide these essential micro-organisms in addition to taking probiotic supplements. By adding more probiotic foods into your schedule, you could see all of the following health benefits:
- Stronger immune system
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy from production of vitamin B12
- Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
- Healthier skin, since probiotics improve eczema and psoriasis
- Reduced cold and flu
- Healing from leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease
- Weight management
Top Probiotic Foods
Where can you find probiotics? This beneficial bacteria can be found in the top 16 foods.
Kefir is a dairy product that has been fermented, and that it contains kefir grains.
Kefir has been consumed for a long time and originates from Russia and Turkey. It has a slightly acidic and tart flavor and contains probiotics.
The final product of kefir is similar to yogurt, but it is higher in probiotics and lower in lactose because it is fermented with yeast and more bacteria. This makes kefir a suitable choice for many who are lactose-intolerant.
Sauerkraut is a probiotic food that is high in organic acids. These acids support the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Sauerkraut is extremely popular in Germany today. It is high in vitamin C and digestive enzymes. This food is also rich in natural probiotics like lactobacillus.
Kombucha is a bubbly drink made by fermenting black tea using a SCOBY, which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha has been consumed for over 2,000 years, with its origins stemming from Japan.
Some benefits that have been claimed about kombucha are that it aids digestion, provides more energy, and helps detoxify the liver.
4. Coconut Kefir
This beverage is made by fermenting the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains. Young coconuts contain fewer probiotics than the traditional variety of coconuts. However, there are still several strains of the virus that are beneficial for your health.
Coconut kefir has a great flavor, and with the addition of stevia, water and lime juice, you can create a great-tasting, refreshing drink.
The dish natto, which is popular in Japan, contains the probiotic Bacillus subtilis. This probiotic has been shown to be extremely powerful, and has been proven to bolster your immune system, support cardiovascular health and enhance digestion of vitamin K2.
Natto is a probiotic food that contains a powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme called nattokinase. Nattokinase has been proven to prevent blood clotting.
One of the most popular probiotic foods is live cultured probiotic yogurt or Greek yogurt, which is made from the milk of cows, goats, or sheep. Yogurt is one of the best probiotic foods you can eat, especially if it comes from grass-fed animals and has not been pasteurized.
There is a lot of variation in the quality of yogurts available today. The best yogurt to buy is organic and grass-fed, and made from goat’s or sheep’s milk.
Yogurt consumption is linked to numerous health benefits, one of which is stronger bones. This is also beneficial for people who have high blood pressure. Diarrhea caused by antibiotics can be reduced by eating yogurt, especially in children. Not only does it boost your mood, but it can also help with your digestive issues.
Yogurt may be suitable for people with lactose intolerance who are looking for an alternative to dairy products. Bacteria are able to turn lactose into lactic acid, which is also responsible for the sour taste in yogurt.
Although not all yogurt has live probiotics, it is still a good source of them. The bacteria have been killed in some cases during processing. This is why you should pick yogurt that has active or live cultures.
Yogurt labels should always be read before purchase. Despite being labeled low fat or fat-free, many foods still contain high levels of added sugar.
Yogurt that contains probiotics may be beneficial for some people’s health and can be an option for those who are intolerant to lactose. Choose yogurt with active or live cultures for the best results.
Kvass is a common fermented beverage in Eastern Europe for a long time. It was traditionally made by fermenting rye or barley, but in more recent years it has been created using probiotic fruits and beets along with other root vegetables like carrots.
Kvass is a drink that uses Lactobacilli probiotics and is known for its ability to cleanse the blood and liver, as well as its mild sour flavor.
8. Raw Cheese
Goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, and cow’s soft cheeses contain high levels of probiotics, including thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus, and acidophilus. If you want to receive probiotics, you should always buy raw and unpasteurized cheeses. The beneficial bacteria are lacking in pasteurized and processed varieties.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Is apple cider vinegar a good source of probiotics? Apple cider vinegar can not only help control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and even promote weight loss, but it can also help increase probiotic intake.
To get the most benefits from ACV, drink a small amount of it each day or use it as a salad dressing.
Read More: Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss Diabetes
10. Salted Gherkin Pickles
Probiotics are living microorganisms that promote gut health. Foods that are a source of probiotics include fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir. Pickles are a readily available source of fermented foods.
When you’re out shopping for pickles, it’s a good idea to choose a smaller food manufacturer that uses organic ingredients in their products. If you can find a local probiotic maker, you will be getting some of the best probiotics for your health.
11. Brine-Cured Olives
Brined olives are an excellent probiotic food source. It is important to choose an organic product when selecting brine cured olives. Olives are rich in vitamin E, copper and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
You should avoid olives that contain sodium benzoate, as it can cancel out the health benefits of this probiotic food.
This fermented soybean product originates from Indonesia and is an excellent source of probiotics. Tempeh is a soybean product that is created by adding a tempeh starter to soybeans. After the mixture has sat for a day or two, it will have solidified into a cake-like consistency.
Tempeh can be eaten raw or boiled and eaten with miso. Tempeh can be used as a replacement for meat in a stir fry meal. It can also be baked, grilled, marinated, or sautéed.
13. Fermented Cheese
Not all fermented cheeses contain probiotics. Cheese is a food that is high in nutrients and a great source of protein. This food is also packed with vitamins and minerals that are important, such as calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.
The good bacteria that gives these cheeses their flavor survives the aging process.
Evidence suggests that moderate consumption of dairy products like cheese can actually reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease and osteoporosis.
Pickles are cucumbers that have been preserved in a solution of salt and water. This process makes them sour.
Pickled cucumbers can be source of probiotic bacteria, which could improve digestive health. They contain few calories and a lot of vitamin K.
You should be aware that pickles are often high in salt content. Pickles made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics, it is important to note that they do have other benefits.
15. Traditional Buttermilk
The term “buttermilk” refers to a variety of fermented dairy drinks. There are two primary types of buttermilk: the traditional method and culturing.
Traditional buttermilk is just the liquid left over from making butter. This probiotic is often called “grandma’s probiotic” because it is the only one that contains probiotics.
In India, Nepal, and Pakistan, traditional buttermilk is mainly consumed. Cultured buttermilk that is commonly found in American supermarkets does not have any probiotic benefits.
Buttermilk is a low-fat, low-calorie drink that is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, and phosphorus.
Kimchi is a fermented, spicy Korean side dish. Cabbage can either be the main ingredient or one of many vegetables in a dish. Kimchi is a Korean fermented vegetable dish that is usually made with cabbage and a mix of red chili pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, scallion, and salt.
Kimchi made from cabbage is packed with nutrients like vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and iron.
Its lactic acid bacteria may benefit digestive health.
Probiotics Impact on Digestive Health
The effects of probiotics on digestive health are extensively researched.
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can be cured with probiotic supplements. Antibiotics may cause diarrhea even after the infection is gone. The antibiotics kill many of the natural bacteria in your gut, which shifts the gut balance and allows harmful bacteria to thrive.
Probiotics can help with IBS by reducing gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
Research on whether or not probiotics can help treat IBS is inconclusive. The review found that seven out of eleven studies showed that probiotic supplementation led to improvements in IBS symptoms, while the remaining four studies found no such connection.
Multi-strain probiotic supplements seem to be the most effective at improving IBS symptoms, especially when taken for more than 8 weeks, according to research.
However, much remains unknown about probiotic treatment for IBS. Questions like the following have yet to be answered:
- Which IBS symptoms improve with probiotics?
- Which probiotics, or probiotic mixtures, are most effective?
- What dosages and durations of probiotic treatments are best?
- Do different types of IBS require different probiotic treatments?
The researchers found that the IBS probiotic treatment showed promise, but they said that more large trials are necessary before healthcare providers can prescribe probiotic treatments for IBS.
Some studies also suggest that probiotic supplementation may help reduce inflammation in people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The researchers say that more research is needed before the treatment can be confirmed as effective.
Probiotics may also help to reduce the Helicobacter pylori infections, which is a common cause of ulcers and stomach cancer.
If you currently have digestive problems that you can’t seem to defeat, a probiotic supplement may be something to consider. However, be sure to consult your healthcare provider first.
Probiotics may help alleviate various digestive issues, such as antibiotic-induced diarrhea and IBS.
Some research indicates that the gut bacteria of people with obesity is different than that of people who are lean. The research shows that there is a connection between gut microbes and obesity in both infants and adults. This text suggests that microorganisms present in the gut may contribute to the development of obesity in adulthood.
Many scientists believe that your gut bacteria are important in determining body weight. While more research is needed to fully understand how probiotics may aid weight loss, initial studies suggest that certain strains may have a positive effect.
Despite this, researchers warn against coming to this conclusion too quickly, as there are still many things that are unknown. These unknowns include:
- the specific strains of probiotics to be used
- the dosage and duration of treatment
- the long-term effects of treatment
- the interaction of age, gender, health conditions, and lifestyle
There are many foods that are very healthy for you and contain probiotics. Probiotics promote gut health and can help protect your overall health. Check labels when looking for probiotic content in food from the grocery store.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” hearkens back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine.
You can also take a probiotic supplement if you cannot or do not want to eat any of these foods. Always consult a physician before taking any new supplements.