A healthy gut is a key to happiness and energy. The human body contains trillions of microorganisms, mostly bacteria, which outnumber human cells ten to one; it's these bacteria in our bodies (and on our skin) that make up our microbiome – an incredibly important ecosystem for overall health. To keep this healthy ecosystem going strong, we need good bacteria – also known as probiotics – from both food and supplements. Here are thirteen of the best sources when looking for probiotic foods:
This is one of the best probiotic foods, containing healthy bacteria that help with digestion and can even help prevent diarrhea. The live cultures in yogurt will also boost your immune system. Although not all yogurts are created equal, be sure to avoid any low-fat or nonfat varieties as they may not have the same amount of live cultures. Fruit-flavored yogurts are also to be avoided as many contain added sugar and therefore are not a good choice.
Adding cabbage to this fermented food gives it both probiotic properties and cancer-preventing ones, so you're getting two important benefits with one food. Sauerkraut is high in a vitamin called folate, which helps prevent cancer and heart disease. Sauerkraut is often paired with braised cabbage.
This tasty dish contains fermented tomatoes that are believed to be full of healthy probiotic bacteria that help boost the immune system and relieve constipation, among other things.
A traditional soyfood from Asia is a high-protein meat replacement that's become popular in the Western hemisphere in recent years. It has 13 grams of protein per cup with about 50 percent less fat than most meats, so it's a healthy option to make meatless meals that are still full of protein.
5) Miso Soup
This traditional Japanese dish is a favorite for its unique taste and is full of healthy gut bacteria. Miso soup has been shown to help fight against cancer due to the fermentation process during the creation of this dish, which creates substantial amounts of probiotics.
This funky fermented dish is super popular in Korea. It makes a great condiment to almost any meal due to its high amounts of vitamin B and iron, as well as many healthy gut bacteria. Just be sure to avoid kimchi that contains added sugars or salt, as this defeats the purpose of improving your gut health.
That's right! You read that correctly. While many people steer clear of dairy due to its lactose content and potential inflammation issues, all cheeses are actually full of probiotics that will help boost your digestive system and prevent constipation. But be careful with your choice of cheeses, as the probiotic content can vary greatly, and many are actually made using a lot of milk, which will counter these probiotics. Instead, choose goat or sheep's milk cheese.
8) Saucy Food
Another benefit of eating saucy food is that it will strengthen your immune system and give you a better chance of warding off infections. Some sauces like marinara, BBQ sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, peanut butter, hot sauce, and even mayonnaise are probiotic foods. In addition, hot sauce is filled with capsaicin, which will help your body burn more calories.
This traditional Japanese dish is a fermented bean product that has been shown to have remarkable cholesterol-lowering abilities and even prevent cancer. It tastes pretty funky, but it's becoming popular in the U.S., with many restaurants and grocery stores now offering it. In addition, natto is high in vitamin K, which can help with blood clotting and lower the risk of a heart attack.
This low-calorie food is super popular in the U.S. and is a great way to add probiotics to your diet, especially when you're longing for something salty without the extra calories. Pickles are easy to make at home too. In addition, pickles also have antioxidants and can help with arthritis, and even help prevent cancer.
That's right. The benefits of this popular alcohol go far beyond just a relaxing evening after work! In addition to the joy it brings your taste buds, wine is actually full of probiotics good for your gut. Red wine, in particular, contains a special kind of probiotic called propionic acid that can help prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading throughout the body.
12) Fermented Soy
Distilled soy sauce and fermented soy such as tempeh, miso, natto, and tamari have healthy bacterial content that will help keep you regular. Be sure to always look for traditional soy products, as the non-fermented ones do not contain live cultures and are full of harmful substances that could cause digestive upset and other health issues like allergies.
This fermented tea is full of probiotics that help improve digestion, reduce constipation, and boost immunity. It can be made using black or green tea and sugar or honey, making it sweet and delicious. In addition, it is a great diuretic and helps with kidney stones. In addition, kombucha helps reduce inflammation and can even help with skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
A probiotic-rich diet will add many health benefits to your life, from improved digestion and better immune system function to weight loss. The key is finding foods that contain live cultures and avoiding those with added sugars or chemicals. In addition, you should combine these probiotic foods with a healthy lifestyle for even greater results.