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So what are probiotics? In a nutshell they’re tiny living bacteria that are beneficial to your health. These little microbes are the good guys, helping you digest your food, promoting good bacteria in your gut, and even boosting your immune system.
There are lots of foods out there that contain probiotics, but lately it’s become a challenge to find probiotic-rich choices.
Historically, people ate plenty of probiotics thanks to the multitude of fresh foods available and the practice of fermenting food to prevent it from spoiling.But today we have refrigeration, pasteurization, and all kinds of food processing methods that actually kill off the probiotics in your diet. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of probiotic-rich choices out there.
To get you started we’ve tracked down twelve great examples:
If you’ve heard of one food that has probiotics in it, chances are that food is yogurt. There are tens of billions of bacteria in just one serving of yogurt, so grab yourself a tasty cup for your daily snack. If you’re looking for something really healthy, go for plain Greek yogurt sweetened with honey and cinnamon.
2. Miso soup
Miso is a delicious soup that’s famous throughout the world and also packed with probiotic goodness. Originally from Japan, this soup is made from a paste of fermented soybeans and several different grains. Try it! Although be sure to enjoy this soup in moderation since it’s very high in sodium.
If you’ve never heard of kefir, it’s basically a yogurt beverage—drinkable yogurt. Made from fermented milk and kefir grain, it contains not one but several different strains of probiotics that your stomach will love. Combine kefir with fresh fruit in a blender and it makes a truly wonderful and filling breakfast.
This traditional Korean side dish is made with fermented cabbage, cucumber, or radish and comes with lots of probiotics and fiber too. It might be an acquired taste, but research has actually linked kimchi consumption with all kinds of immune system benefits. Give kimchi a try.
If you’ve never heard of kombucha before, it’s basically fermented tea. By fermenting black or green tea with mushroom-like colonies of fungus, you get a sweet and slightly fizzy drink that contains literally billions of probiotics. Just be sure to check the label of the drink you buy to be sure it contains probiotics.
Yet another great source of probiotics is fermented cabbage, also known as sauerkraut. Enjoy some sauerkraut as a side dish or as a topping on your Polish sausage and you’ll also be eating something great for your health. Just be sure your sauerkraut isn’t pasteurized, since this process destroys probiotics.
Another traditional Japanese food, natto is made from fermented soybeans and is best if eaten with rice. This dish may have a pungent smell, but it’s also proven to boost your immune system, support cardiovascular health and help your body digest the vitamin K2. Add probiotics on top of that and this is basically a super food.
This drink is from Eastern Europe and made with fermented rye and barley. Sometimes it’s even made with fermented beets or other root vegetables. Kvass is known for its mild sour flavor and for being a great blood and liver cleanser for the body. Plus, it’s got loads of probiotics in it too.
9. Raw cheese
If you’re looking for another easy source of probiotics, raw cheeses made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, and A2 cow’s milk are all great choices. Always be sure you’re buying raw cheese that’s unpasteurized and you’ll be getting your fill of several different types of probiotics.
10. Sourdough bread
Yes, bread actually can be a source of probiotics if it’s made with a sourdough starter. This starter functions like yeast and will fill your bread bowl with lactobacillus bacteria that’s great for your gut. Plus sour dough is low on the glycemic index to help you feel full longer.
11. Sour pickles
If you’re a pickle lover, grab yourself a nice pickle spear that’s been brined in sea salt water instead of vinegar. Vinegar stops beneficial bacteria from growing, but pickles straight from salt and water will give you a nice boost of probiotics. Also note that pickle juice itself is full of healthy electrolytes.
Often used as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians, tempeh is a firm, white food made from fermented soybeans. It looks a lot like tofu, but be forewarned that it has more calories than tofu. Then again, it also has more protein, fiber, and probiotic potential.
A great dietary supplement can also help you get probiotics into your diet. LifeVantage’s probiotic is unlike any other on the market. PhysIQ Probio uses BIO-Tract® technology to time-release probiotics deep into your gastrointestinal tract and help with optimal digestion. Just take it with water and you’ve instantly added probiotics to your usual diet.