Are you including enough probiotic-rich foods in your diet? Do you know that probiotics are not only essential for digestive health but for overall health?
In this article, we will learn all about probiotics and its benefits for overall health along with some best natural probiotic foods.
Let’s get started…
Probiotics are the good bacteria (or friendly bacteria) that line your gut and help in the absorption of nutrients from the food and thus boost up your immune system.
Digestive disorders, candida, frequent attack of cold and flu, autoimmune disease, skin problems, etc. are some side effects we will experience due to lack of enough probiotics.
In this modern world, due to unhealthy agricultural practices (little or no probiotics in food) and the intake of antibiotics for every health problem (kill the existing good bacteria). So, we have to include more probiotic-rich foods in our diet.
Types of Probiotics:
There are many types of probiotics that offer different types of beneficial bacteria to help for the proper functioning of the body. Here are the 7 types of probiotics.
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Lactobacillus Reuteri
- Lactobacillus Bulgaricus
- Streptococcus Thermophilus
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum
- Saccharomyces Boulardii
- Bacillus Subtilis
Health Benefits of Probiotics:
Most people think that probiotics are essential for proper functioning of gut but there are unaware of other health benefits of consuming probiotic – rich foods. Here are some health benefits explained.
- It improves digestion by restoring the natural balance of the gut bacteria and aids in getting rid of constipation or diarrhea and other digestive problems.
- It strengthens your immune system and thus reduces the recurrence of cold, flu and other respiratory problems.
- It is proven to be beneficial for treating candida yeast infection by killing the yeast fungus causing infection and also helps to reset the system for proper functioning.
- It aids in weight loss by reducing the cholesterol levels.
- It improves eczema and psoriasis to make your skin healthy and free from allergies and infections.
- It reduces the abdominal bloating and flatulence (stomach gas) that caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- It increases the energy levels from the production of vitamin B12. This beneficial bacteria helps to reduce the depression, promotes heart health, boost up your brain and body.
- It effectively heals the leaky gut and also clears inflammatory bowel disease.
- In some study, it is started that intake of probiotics will alter the mood, stress, anxiety and pain sensitivity.
After knowing about its health benefits, hope we’ll definitely consume the probiotic foods in your diet for grabbing these benefits.
Natural Probiotic – Rich Foods:
Here are the natural probiotic rich foods that have to be included in your diet to enjoy many health and skin benefits. Have a look at these foods.
Kefir (means – feeling good) is a fermented dairy product prepared with a unique combination of milk (cow’s or goat) and fermented kefir grains. It has a tart flavor and slightly acid that has 10 – 34 strains of probiotics.
Kefir is fermented with more bacteria and yeast, which in turn makes it as a best natural product with a rich content of probiotics. Enjoy kefir (prefer on an empty stomach) or add it to smoothie or cereal instead of milk.
You can also find coconut kefir that made by fermenting the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains. It is a diary free option that contains several strains of probiotics. You can drink it by adding a little of stevia, water, and lemon juice to enhance its favor.
Note: Intestinal cramping and constipation will be experienced when starting the intake of kefir. So, begin with 1/8 cup and gradually increase it to 1 – 2 cups of kefir per day. But it is suggested to take a break of one day after completing each week.
Yogurt with live and active cultures is an excellent source of probiotics. Regular intake of yogurt will help for proper digestion and thereby promotes a healthy balance of microbes in the digestive system.
But be sure while choosing probiotic yogurt that it should be free from high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors or sweeteners. Prefer only plain yogurt (or Greek yogurt) and add some fresh fruits in it while consuming.
Sauerkraut is made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables. It is high in organic acids and thus makes the food to taste sour. It has a variety of probiotics strains that supports the growth of good bacteria and improves the gut flora.
Do you know that intake of 2 ounces of homemade sauerkraut has more amount of probiotics rather than a bottle of 100 probiotic capsules? It is used as a condiment in raw form without heating or cooking it. Avoid usage of excess amounts, as it causes harm for thyroid functioning.
Miso is a traditional spice in Japan that used in many traditional foods. It is made by fermenting soybean, brown rice or barley with koji (fungus). This fermentation process takes from few days to few years to complete.
You can use miso to make soups, spread it on crackers or on toast or on freshly cooked corn, stews, use it instead of butter and other cooked dishes. You should use miso in moderation due to its high salt content.
Kimchi is a cultured vegetable made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables (fermented with bacteria). It is a popular side dish in Korea and is served with steamed rice. It is spicy and used as a condiment that added to sandwiches, soups, and stir-fried dishes. Also, remember that not to overcook it, as it may lose the nutrients.
Tempeh is made from fermented cooked soybeans that can be used as a replacement for meat in vegetarian meals. This fermentation process will turn the tempeh into a meaty loaf.
You can use steamed, baked or sautéed and add it to your burgers, sandwiches, salads, stir fries, etc.
Kombucha will help to restore the gut’s ecosystem and it can be prepared from starter bacteria and yeast. It has rich content of vitamins, enzymes, and organic acids that aids in proper digestion, promotes detoxification, treats arthritis, fights depression, boosts immunity and more.
You can drink 3 – 5 ounces of kombucha tea daily but over intake can result in upset stomach, nausea, yeast infections and allergic reactions.
Note: It is not recommended for the people who suffer from weakened immune system or children less than 5 years of age.
8. Sour Pickles:
Sour pickles which are naturally fermented are the excellent source of dairy free probiotics. You can go through this process to make your own sour pickle.
- Take some pickling cucumbers and soak it in ice water for 30 minutes to clear the dirt.
- Place it in a quart jar along with few garlic cloves, black peppercorns and a sprig of dill.
- Now fill this jar with enough brine (salt water) till it covers the cucumbers.
- Cover it with a cloth and let it sit aside for at least 3 days.
- When the cucumbers soured properly then refrigerate the jar and check it daily to ensure that cucumbers remain submerged in brine.
- Enjoy 1 – 2 ounces of cultured vegetables or sour pickles with each meal.
- Also, use other vegetables like carrots, cabbage leaves, beets, green onions, bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, kale, etc. instead of cucumber.
- Remember that sour pickles brined in vinegar don’t offer probiotic benefits.
Natto is a fermented soybean product that has a bacterial strain called bacillus subtilis, which helps for boosting your immune system. It is a Japanese dish that is mixed with rice or served with breakfast. It has rich of protein, vitamin K2, and probiotics that are essential for osteoporosis, digestive tract, and cardiovascular health.
Brine-cured olives have the best source of probiotics why because the brine allows the probiotic cultures to thrive into it. Just like salted gherkin pickles, you have to select organic products and snack on that type of olives or add it to your pizza or salad.
Note: Check that your olives should not contain sodium benzoate.
Other Probiotic Foods:
Other probiotics foods that have to be included in your diet are listed below.
- Traditional buttermilk (liquid left after making butter). You can also take milk that cultured with lactic acid bacteria.
- Cheese that has live and active cultures (like raw, mozzarella, cottage cheese, Gouda, cheddar, etc.)
- Micro-algae are an ocean’s super food that acts as prebiotic foods (which feeds and nourish the probiotics in the internal flora). Add it to your morning smoothies.
- Sourdough Bread has lactobacillus that provides probiotics and makes you feel full for a longer time.
- Include prebiotics like bananas, asparagus, legumes, oatmeal, honey, red wine, artichokes, maple syrup, etc. in your diet either alone or with probiotics foods.
- Kvass is a traditional beverage in Eastern Europe that made by fermenting barley or rye. It has a mild sour flavor that helps for blood and liver cleansing.
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has probiotics. Drink ACV or use it as a salad dressing.
- Soy milk products contain probiotics naturally.
- Ginger ale, kombucha tea, water kefir soda, etc. will have enough of probiotics.
- Dark chocolates help to maintain proper pH of the digestive tract and thereby provide probiotics.
- As a last option, you can take probiotic supplements in capsules, powder, tablet or liquid forms. But be sure to consult your doctor before taking these supplements.
Include these probiotic-rich foods in your diet. What is your favorite probiotic food? Did you experience health benefits from taking probiotics? Share it with us in the below comments box.