14 Probiotic Foods to Include in Your Diet for Priceless Health Benefits

Don’t take that bite before you think twice of what it will do to your health! Yes, your busy schedule doesn’t leave you too much time for cooking, and healthy food is neither cheap nor widely available. Still, all those processed foods, stuffed with fillers and preservatives, take their toll on your health.

All those antibiotic treatments you need to take to put an end to your health problems have consequences. All those sugary drinks you enjoy add up to your weight and make you feel bloated and gassy. Why?

They all deplete your gut flora. They kill those tiny but hardworking bugs that help you digest foods and ward off pathogens and diseases. Guess what fills the gap! Other tiny bugs take over, but the kind of bugs that make you sick and tired.

It is time you took a stand! It is time you took control of your health and well-being, and doing that is easier than you would think. All you need to do is include some healthy foods, full of good bacteria, to your diet. Are you not sure which foods fit the profile? The following list should help!

14 Probiotic Foods That Will Boost Your Health

  1. Yogurt – Most varieties contain some probiotic cultures known to induce fermentation, but many producers have begun enriching their yogurts with probiotics in response to the public’s growing interest in it. Always read the label, to find out what probiotic strains they contain and in what count. To make sure you don’t feed the “bad bugs,” stay away from sweetened varieties.
  2. Kefir – You wouldn’t believe how healthy this smooth and slightly tangy drink is. It contains various live probiotic strains, and very little lactose, being much easier to tolerate. It is also rich in protein and low in calories, being a great solution to appease hunger and avoid cravings when you are trying to lose weight.
  3. Pickles – Pickled vegetables are very healthy, low in calories, and rich in probiotics. The best varieties are those conserved only with salt and water, as they contain good bacteria. Some brands have probiotic enriched pickles and mention the live cultures on the label. If you want, you can make your pickles at home, from your favorite veggies, be it beets, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, or green tomatoes.
  4. Chocolate – You may find it hard to believe, but certain brands enrich their chocolate with probiotics, and the colony forming units count goes as high as 6 billion or more per serving. A study published in the international Journal of Food Microbiologyconfirms that chocolate probiotics reach the gut and start colonizing it. Can you think of a more delicious way to boost your digestive and immune health?
  5. Green peas – According to a Japanese study published in 2014 in the Journal of Applied Microbiology fresh green peas are a source of Leuconostoc mesenteroides, probiotics that stimulate the immune system and protect the mucosal barrier of the digestive tract.[1]
  6. Sauerkraut – Contrary to what the association with hot dogs might suggest, this Lacto-fermented cabbage contains potent bacteria that can fight cancer and melt belly fat. Its unpasteurized version abounds in Lactobacillus strains, reducing cholesterol, and improving immunity and overall health. Just read the labels carefully, as many store products rely on pasteurization and vinegar to stay self-stable and have the usual sour taste.
  7. Kombucha – This slightly effervescent drink contains green or black tea and a combination of yeast and bacteria known as a SCOBY. In this case, you should look for pasteurized varieties, to eliminate the risk of contamination with bad bacteria, and, implicitly, infections, liver damage, and allergies. For best results, try making your own kombucha at home.
  8. Kimchi – It is a fermented dish relying on cabbage, scallions, and radishes. It has a distinctive reddish color attributed to red pepper paste or kelp powder. A study performed by the scientists from the Korean Kyung Hee University found that Lactobacillus Brevis, the probiotic in kimchi, can induce weight loss.
  9. Green olives – Brined olives undergo fermentation and take their distinctive flavor from the acids produced by Lactobacillus pentosus and Lactobacillus plantarum, the two probiotic strains in their composition. An American Society for Clinical Nutrition study shows that the latter strain can help reduce belly fat and bloating, and balance gut flora
  10. Miso – This appetizing soup is made from fermented soybeans, using salt and koji (Aspergillus oryzae) for the fermentation process. Besides being a complete protein, rich in amino acids, it boosts digestion and immunity and reduces cancer risks.
  11. Sourdough Bread – The dough for this bread relies on a fermentation process during which wild yeast and probiotics break down the sugar and gluten in wheat flour, releasing protein, minerals, and vitamins. The sour taste comes from the air-borne yeast and may vary from one location to another. Because the probiotics predigest the starches in the grains, sourdough bread is easy to digest.
  12. Beet Kvass – This drink has Russian origins, and a preparation process similar to that of yeast beer with stale rye bread. It uses beets as starch source, and whey to expedite lacto-fermentation. The flavor depends on how long the beets ferment. The fermentation process amplifies the already impressive digestive properties of beets, which abound in dietary fiber and potassium.
  13. Cheese – Not all cheese varieties are rich in probiotics. If you read the label carefully, you will discover a few brands of cottage cheese and cheddar, parmesan, gouda, and swiss cheese that are. Their fermentation begins with the addition of lactic acid bacteria cultures to milk. The longer the fermentation and maturation processes last, the richer in live cultures the cheese will be.
  14. Tempeh – t is the vegan replacement for bacon, a much healthier alternative. It is made by fermenting soy with a yeast starter known for its meaty, tender bite and neutral flavor. It can make a great opening for seasonings. Besides bringing numerous belly benefits, the standard serving of 3-ounce of tempeh contains 8% of the daily recommended dose of calcium and 16g of protein.

How to Boost Your Digestive and Immune Health with These Probiotic Foods

In their original, healthy version, the above foods are rich in probiotics and can help you improve your health. Unfortunately, in their struggle to make cheap foods and boost their sales, many producers have neglected concepts like quality, healthiness, or naturalness, stuffing their products with chemicals or speeding up processing, to release more products faster.

It is your responsibility to read the labels carefully. Choose only those products that provide the desired benefits without representing a threat to your health and well-being. It might take a little time, but you’ll discover the best brands and the healthiest varieties to stick to in order to reap the most benefits.

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