Our intestines are home to about 500 million bacteria, some of which good and some bad. The more of the good bacteria you have in your gut, the stronger your immune system will be. Probiotics are usually referred to as “good bacteria” in that they help the body absorb important vitamins and minerals, which include calcium, iron, chromium, and vitamins A, D, E, and K, just to name a few.
Various probiotic strains have been shown to support the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, prevent inflammation, boost immunity and alleviate conditions ranging from allergies to diarrhea.
Usually, when you hear about probiotics, you typically think of yoghurt or supplements. However, there are several other incredible and typically better sources of healthy gut bacteria. Among these is a wide range of cultured and fermented foods.
The modern diet is mostly lacking in foods that nourish your gut bacteria in a healthy way. This is because many of our foods are pasteurized, irradiated or created in a sterile lab. Adding probiotic rich foods and drinks to your diet is an easy way to give gut bacteria a boost and to keep the digestive system in proper balance.
Take a look at this YouTube video to understand why Pickles, Probiotics, and Why Rotten Food Is Good For You.
Probiotic Foods Improve Gut Health
Probiotic foods are very good for maintaining healthy gut flora. This promotes healthy digestion, clear skin, metabolic health, a generally good mood, easier weight loss, just to mention a few. The ‘good bacteria’ in probiotic foods are the very same as most of the bacteria in your gut. Eating these foods gives you an improved healthy flora. More specifically, a lot of fermented foods contain different strains of lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria ferment carbohydrates into lactic acid. The list of foods below will give you some idea as to the foods that are fermented.
Live-cultured yoghurt is one of the best known probiotic foods, especially homemade. When choosing a yoghurt from the local store you must read the label. Many of the popular brands contain high levels of fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors. As with most food, the more health claims made on the packaging does not necessarily mean more nutritional value.
Soft fermented cheeses like Parmesan, Gouda and Swiss can contain “good” bacteria. Probiotic cheese might be a wise choice for the elderly as the daily consumption of one slice of probiotic Gouda for four weeks can increase immunity. Also, cheddar cheese containing probiotic strains of L. casei and L. acidophilus had ACE-inhibitory activity, which may help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Soy naturally contains some probiotic benefits, however, the new soy milk products on the market have added extra live cultures. These are recognised by having “live and active cultures” stated on their label.
Especially for the chocaholics. Dark chocolate contains probiotics and antioxidants to keep your stomach healthy and your sweet tooth satisfied.
Olives in brine have large amounts of probiotics. This is because the brine allows the probiotic cultures to thrive. Use as a snack or add to a salad or pizza.
This fizzy, naturally fermented, probiotic drink originated in England in the 1800s. Ginger beer is normally considered as non-alcoholic because it contains less than 0.5% alcohol. It does have a small amount of alcohol resulting from the fermentation process. There are soda alternative available in the local store.
Miso is a paste made from fermented soya beans and barley or rice malt that is used in Japanese cookery. It is also one the mainstays of traditional Japanese medicine. Adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup.
Traditionall made from fermented cabbage, and sometimes other vegetables, sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but might also help with reducing allergy symptoms. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B, A, E and C.
This is very similar to yoghurt. It is a fermented dairy product that is a unique combination of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains. It is high in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria and is also rich in antioxidants.
This is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast that contains a high amount of healthy gut bacteria.It is sometimes known as kombucha mushroom tea. Kombucha is not a mushroom, it is a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and tea, and allowing the mix to ferment. This probiotic drink is believed to help increase your energy, enhance your well being, and maybe even help you lose weight. However, kombucha tea may not be the best fit for everyone, especially those who’ve had problems with candida.
Although this is not exactly a food, it is beneficial to add it to your morning smoothie. Microaglae refers to “super-food” sea based vegtables such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae.
The ordinary green pickle is an excellent food source of probiotics. Lacto-fermentation is a traditional method of making pickles without using vinegar. Pickles made in this manner are alive and rich in probiotics
This is an Indonesian dish made by deep-frying fermented, probiotic-rich soya beans. As long as it is not GMO, tempeh can be a good substitute for meat or tofu. It is an excellent source of vitamin B12 and can be sautéed, baked, or eaten crumbled on salads.
A Korean dish of spicy pickled cabbage very similar to pickled sauerkraut. It is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage and is normally served as an accompaniment to meals. It is also a good source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2. It is possibly one of the best probiotic foods you can include in your diet
Kvass is a fermented drink, low in alcohol, made from rye flour or bread with malt. It is classified as a non-alcoholic drink by Russian and Ukrainian standards, as the alcohol content from fermentation is typically less than 1.2%.
Are you Lactose Intolerant?
Dairy products are a good source of essential minerals, vitamins and protein. However, if you are Lactose Intolerant you may experience uncomfortable symptoms after consuming dairy products. Lactose is a type of sugar which is found in milk. Lactase is an enzyme that is produced in the small intestine of humans. It is essential to allow for the complete digestion of whole milk as it breaks down the lactose. If you have an absence of lactase, you may experience the symptoms, known as lactose intolerance.
You should try probiotic or fermented dairy foods to determine if you can tolerate these. Fermented dairy products like yoghurt and kefir are much easier to digest than milk. This is because the bacteria destroy all the lactose by fermenting it into lactic acid.
Unfortunately, if you’re allergic to dairy protein, this won’t help you,