Probiotic Foods to Support Gut Health
A healthy diet is ideal for a long, active, and happy life. And did you know a diet rich in natural probiotics can enhance your overall health? Probiotic foods are not only good sources of the necessary bacteria your digestive system needs—they add a unique twist for your tastebuds.
The Good Bacteria
The lining of your digestive tract has two types of bacteria: good and bad. And like all things in life, balance is key. That’s why it’s important to support your digestion system with good, healthy probiotics to help offset the bad bacteria.
Probiotics contain the good bacteria you need to help keep your body working at peak performance. And when you bring balance to your system, you’re helping your microbiome—the microorganisms that live in and on your body. A healthy microbiome aids digestion and can benefit other symbiotic relationships. In an article published on Healthcanal.com, probiotics are said to bring many health benefits such as weight loss, energy remains, hunger reduction.
Here’s a list of delicious probiotic foods to help fortify your body and support your microbiome:
A great source of protein and a tasty way to start your morning, Greek yoghurt is packed with two strains of bacteria— Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus—that go a long way for digestion. Made from pasteurised milk, Greek yoghurt is thickened by lactic acid with millions of live, active cultures. Look online for a myriad of sweet and savory ways to enjoy this probiotic-filled staple.
It’s not just for hot dogs at the ballgame. Made of shredded cabbage fermented by lactic acid bacteria, sauerkraut carries a healthy punch of probiotics. Not only does it contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, sauerkraut is rich in fibre plus vitamins C, B, and K. When shopping, look for unpasteurised sauerkraut—pasteurisation kills the live and active bacteria your body needs.
Meet sauerkraut’s Korean cousin. Kimchi is a delicious, fermented combination of cabbage, radishes, and scallions. Its distinct colour comes from red pepper, salted shrimp, and kelp powder. With its spicy pop of flavour, this probiotic-rich superfood can do wonders for your microbiome. Not only that, research has shown the Lactobacillus brevis in kimchi can support weight loss.
Bring on the bubbles. Fermented green or black tea with a dollop of bacteria and yeast makes for a zesty and delicious sweet-and-sour beverage that’s excellent for digestive health. A natural antioxidant, kombucha can help with weight loss, boost immune health, and support your digestive tract. Like all the best probiotic foods, choose kombucha that is unpasteurised.
Pickles are the classic fermented food. The perfect side dish at any backyard BBQ, pickles are low in calories, high in fibre, and a good source of vitamin K. But don’t eat the pickles made with vinegar—to reap the full benefits of probiotics, pick up the fermented varieties.
If you haven’t heard of natto, here’s your chance to experience a real probiotic powerhouse. Natto is fermented soybeans, and to be fair, it does have a unique texture—slimy, sticky, and stringy. But natto is incredibly nutritious. It’s rich in fibre, potassium, zinc, calcium, and other key nutrients. Plus, natto has a wonderful nutty flavour that compliments many Asian dishes.
Your favourite martini garnish is also great for your gut. When green olives are brined, they undergo a natural fermentation process that produces lactic acid bacteria. Two strains of live cultures—Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus pentosus—help balance your gut and decrease bloating. And they’re tasty, healthy and natural probiotic foods morsels sans the martini, too.
A Probiotic Supplement
If kimchi and natto are a bridge too wide for you to try, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.
A probiotic supplement can provide millions of living strains of good bacteria for your digestive system. When selecting your supplement, make sure it offers a real, reliable dose of beneficial bacteria. Your gut is at the core of good health, and it deserves a high-quality product to promote healthy nutrient absorption, maintain digestive comfort, and help support healthy gut flora. Your tummy, and your body, will thank you.
Ben Raskin is a communications writer and beach volleyball judge. Follow him on Instagram @USANAben.