Problem with your tummy?
The best way to solve that is to add probiotic-rich food on your diet list.
Probiotics are the good bacteria found in your gut and are responsible for everything from immune health to nutrient absorption. Probiotics are not only crucial for good digestion, but there are over hundreds of other health benefits of eating probiotic-rich foods— from protecting against allergies to lowering cholesterol levels to lively skin.
And the good news is, you won’t need to buy expensive supplements, powders or pills just to add some probiotics into your diet. There are various probiotic-enriched foods out there that are not only delicious but also quite versatile and easy to add as a part of a healthy and well-rounded diet.
10 Best Probiotic Foods To Improve Gut Health
Probably the most popular probiotic food there is Greek yogurt or live-cultured probiotic yogurt is made from the milk of sheep, goats or cows. It contains live strains of bacteria which ease your digestive issues as well as diversifying your natural flora.
The problem, however, is that there are various yogurts available in the market, and some come in low quality. So, when buying for yogurt, be sure to look for the organic, grass-fed varieties which are made from sheep’s or goat’s milk.
One of the oldest traditional foods and is quite popular in various countries including Europe, Sauerkraut is a finely shredded cabbage which has been fermented. It is often used as a side dish or on top of sausages, offering a salty, sour taste.
Although it is not diverse in probiotics, its high amount of organic acid that gives it a sour taste helps in supporting the growth of good bacteria. It is also rich in fiber and vitamins K, B, and C, iron, manganese, and sodium.
Quite similar to yogurt, Kefir is also a cultured dairy product and is made by adding kefir grains to a goat’s or cow’s milk. Kefir grains are actually not a cereal grain, but cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast which look like cauliflower.
Although yogurt is more popular in the western diet, kefir is a better source of probiotics. In fact, kefir has more yeast and bacterial strains than yogurt and remains viable in the digestive system, making it a potent and diverse probiotic.
A traditional Korean side dish, Kimchi is made from fermented veggies— think radishes and cabbages— which have been flavored with chili powder, ginger, and other herbs, spices and garnishes.
The mixture is left aside to ferment for 3 – 14 days that result in a probiotic-packed and flavor-filled dish that helps diversifies the good bacteria in your gut.
A fermented soybean product from Indonesia, tempeh forms a firm patty with an earthy and nutty flavor that is quite similar to mushrooms. It is created by adding tempeh starter to soybeans which are then left to sit for a day or two, resulting in a cake-like product.
Tempeh also becomes a popular substitute for meat in stir-fry meals and can be sautéed, marinated, grilled or baked. You can even eat this raw or by boiling it and eating it with miso.
Speaking of Miso, this traditional Japanese food is made of fermented soybeans with salt, barley or rice and mixed with a fungus called Koji. The fermentation can take anywhere from a few days up to a few years to complete.
It is one of the mainstays of traditional Japanese medicine and is usually used in macrobiotic cooking for digestive regulation. This Japanese seasoning is usually used in miso soup and is available in several varieties including brown, red, yellow and white.
Also known as gherkins, pickles are cucumbers which have been pickled in a solution of water and salt. Then it is left to ferment for a few days or weeks, using their own lactic acid bacteria, making them sour.
Low in calories, pickles are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria that helps in improving your gut flora and serves as a tasty treat when a craving for something sour.
Kombucha originated around Japan and has been around for over 2,000 years. Quite popular these days, this is a fermented green or black tea drink that is started by using SCOBY, a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria.
There are various claims about the health benefits of Kombucha, however, its primary health benefit includes liver detoxification, increased energy, and digestive support.
A common and potent ingredient in fermented beverages in Eastern Europe since ancient times, Kvass was traditionally made by fermenting barley or rye. Nowadays, it is created using probiotic fruits as well as other root veggies such as carrots and beets.
10. Raw Cheese
Raw cheese, particularly sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, and A2 cow’s soft cheeses are high in probiotics including acidophilus, bulgaricus, bifudus, and thermophillus.
Be sure to get unpasteurized and raw cheeses if you wish to get strong probiotics since the processed and pasteurized varieties are quite lacking in the beneficial bacteria.