Various forms of naturally fermented probiotic foods

12 Probiotic foods that support your gut health

Did you know that there are foods that can help support your gut health?

Your gut is responsible for many functions in the body, such as digestion and immunity.

The type of food we eat has a direct impact on our gut microbiome which affects how well it works.

One way to make sure your gut is healthy and functioning properly is to include probiotic foods in your diet.

They may help with digestion, depression, and cardiovascular health. Some data suggests they may even improve the appearance of your skin.

Probiotics are commonly obtained from supplements, but they can also be obtained from fermented foods too.

What are probiotics in food?

A probiotic is a bacterium that lives naturally in cultured foods and helps to improve the health of its host (you).

Probiotic foods are foods that naturally contain probiotic yeast or bacterium cultures. Probiotic bacteria have a critical role in maintaining a healthy immune system, metabolism, and digestion.

Unbalances in the gut microbiota have been related to a variety of disorders, including cancer and type 2 diabetes, according to research.

Your dietary choices have a significant impact on your gut microbiome, which you can easily support by including more probiotic-rich items in your daily diet.

The following is a list of 12 very beneficial probiotic foods that are naturally rich in probiotics.

Healthy breakfast yogurt parfait with granola and fresh raspberries on rustic background
Healthy breakfast yogurt parfait with granola and fresh raspberries on rustic background

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, which are good microorganisms that can help you feel better.

It’s manufactured from milk fermented by friendly bacteria, primarily lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.

Yogurt consumption has been linked to a variety of health advantages, including increased bone health. It’s also good for folks who have high blood pressure.

Yogurt may aid in the reduction of antibiotic-induced diarrhoea in youngsters. It can even assist with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms (IBS).

Yogurt may also be good for persons who are lactose intolerant. This is because bacteria convert some lactose to lactic acid, which is why yogurt tastes sour.

Fermented milk products like yogurt often contain less lactose than whole milk and are better suited for those with lactose intolerance. Today, yogurt can even be made from non-dairy milk like coconut milk or almond milk.

Keep in mind, however, that not all yogurts contain live probiotics. Live bacteria have been killed in some situations during processing. As a result, look for yogurt that contains active or live cultures.

Also, always read the label on yoghurt before purchasing it. Even if it’s marketed as low-fat or fat-free, it could still contain a lot of added sugar.

Probiotic yogurt has been related to a variety of health benefits and may be good for lactose intolerant individuals. Remember to choose yogurt that contains active or living cultures.

Yogurt – a great source of probiotics
Milk kefir grains on wooden spoon on top of a jar of kefir
Milk kefir grains on wooden spoon on top of a jar of kefir

2. Kefir

Kefir is a probiotic milk drink that has been fermented. It’s prepared by fermenting cow or goat milk using kefir grains.

The micro-organisms present in kefir turn lactose into lactic acid, resulting in the similar sour taste of yogurt, but with a more liquid consistency.

Kefir grains aren’t cereal grains; they’re lactic acid bacteria and yeast cultures that resemble cauliflower.

Kefir is thought to be derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good” after eating.

Kefir has been linked to a number of health advantages. It may aid with bone health, digestive issues, and infection prevention.

While yogurt is the most well-known probiotic meal in the Western diet, kefir provides a superior source. Kefir is a varied and effective probiotic because it contains several major types of friendly bacteria and yeast.

Kefir, like yogurt, is generally well tolerated by lactose-intolerant people.

Kefir is a milk drink that has been fermented. Kefir is a better source of probiotics than yoghurt, and lactose intolerance sufferers can typically drink it without difficulty.

Kefir – a great source of probiotics
Sauerkraut in a wooden barrel and cabbage soup in the background
Sauerkraut in a wooden barrel and cabbage soup in the background

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, which is the European version of kimchi, is made by fermenting cabbage.

Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been coarsely shredded and fermented by lactic acid bacteria.

It is one of the world’s oldest traditional cuisines, and it is enjoyed in many nations, particularly in Europe.

An essential part of German cuisine, traditionally sauerkraut, was made by the process of dry curing cabbage with salt. The resulting mixture was left to ferment anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Today, you’ll find canned sauerkraut and sauerkraut made by pickling cabbage in vinegar. While these are both delicious options, they do not offer the same gut-healthy benefits as the dry-cured sauerkraut.

The process of canning kills the probiotics present, as does the use of an acid like vinegar.

Sauerkraut is frequently served as a side dish or on top of sausages. It has a sour, salty flavour and can be kept in an airtight jar for months.

Sauerkraut is high in fibre and vitamins C, B, and K, in addition to its probiotic properties. It also contains iron and manganese and is heavy in sodium.

The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for eye health, are also found in sauerkraut.

Choose unpasteurized sauerkraut instead than pasteurised, as processing eliminates the live and active bacteria. Sauerkraut in its unprocessed form is available online.

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage that has been finely chopped. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants abound. Choose brands that are not pasteurised and contain live microorganisms.

Sauerkraut – a great source of probiotics
Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.
Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.

4. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. It makes a solid patty with a flavour that has been characterised as nutty, earthy, or mushroom-like.

Tempeh is a high-protein meat replacement that originated in Indonesia and has now spread throughout the world.

The cooking process turns tempeh into dense cakes that can be sliced into strips or cut into cubes, perfect for grilling or sautéing.

The nutritional profile of the fermented product is actually rather remarkable.

Soybeans are high in phytic acid, a plant component that prevents minerals like iron and zinc from being absorbed.

Fermentation, on the other hand, reduces phytic acid levels, potentially increasing the number of minerals your body can absorb from tempeh.

Fermentation also produces vitamin B12, which is a component that soybeans lack.

With animal foods, such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, being high in vitamin B12 this makes tempeh an excellent alternative for vegetarians and anybody wishing to supplement their diet with a healthy probiotic.

Though tempeh is best recognised for its nutty flavour, chewy texture, and propensity to absorb marinades, its true value lies in its nutritional composition. A 200-calorie serving of tempeh has 21.1 grammes of protein, or 42 per cent of the Daily Value for protein, according to the USDA.

It also includes all nine essential amino acids and is high in minerals including potassium, iron, and magnesium, making it a complete vegetable protein source.

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that is widely used as a high-protein meat alternative. It has a good amount of vitamin B12, which is mostly found in animal products.

Tempeh – a great source of probiotics
A bowl of traditional Korean napa cabbage Kimchi.
A bowl of traditional Korean napa cabbage Kimchi.

5. Kimchi

Kimchi is a hot, fermented Korean side dish. The main ingredient is usually cabbage, but it can also be created with other vegetables.

Kimchi is a Korean side dish made by fermenting vegetables (cabbage is most common) with several spices and herbs in an airtight container for a few days or up to a week. This popular fermented food is known for its pungent aroma, spiciness, and for being rich in probiotics.

Seasonings such as red chilli pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, scallion, and salt are used to flavour kimchi.

Lactobacillus kimchii, as well as other lactic acid bacteria, are found in kimchi and may help with digestive health.

Kimchi produced from cabbage is high in vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and iron, among other vitamins and minerals. Kimchi can be found on the internet.

The process of lacto-fermentation results in the resident micro-organism culture breaking down the sugars present into lactic acid, which increases the shelf-life of the vegetables by preserving them.

Kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish consisting primarily of fermented cabbage. Its lactic acid bacteria could help with digestion.

Kimchi – a great source of probiotics
Close up of miso soup, a traditional Japanese soup
Close up of miso soup, a traditional Japanese soup

6. Miso

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning. It is usually prepared by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, which is a sort of fungus.

Soybeans can also be combined with other components including barley, rice, and rye to make miso.

This paste is most commonly used in miso soup, a classic Japanese breakfast dish. Miso has a salty flavour. It comes in a variety of colours, including white, yellow, red, and brown.

Miso is a high-protein, high-fibre food. It is also high in vitamin K, manganese, and copper, among other vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals.

Miso is typically used in soups and salads but can be used in seafood and meat marinades. Just remember, a little goes a very long way.

Some health advantages that have been associated with miso include a decreased incidence of breast cancer in middle-aged Japanese women, according to one study.

Women who ate a lot of miso soup had a lower risk of stroke, according to another study.

Miso is a popular Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybean paste. It contains several essential nutrients and may lower the risk of cancer and stroke, particularly in women.

Miso – a great source of probiotics
Homemade fermented raw kombucha tea with different flavourings. Healthy natural probiotic flavoured drink.
Homemade fermented raw kombucha tea with different flavourings. Healthy natural probiotic flavoured drink.

7. Kombucha

Kombucha is an effervescent tea that’s made by fermenting either black or green tea with SCOBY (symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria). With a tang similar to that of vinegar, the process of making kombucha is very similar to that of the vinegar-making process.

Kombucha is typically sold in a variety of herbal and fruit flavours which has a friendly colony of bacteria and yeast that ferments this famous tea. It is widely consumed around the world, particularly in Asia.

There are several claims on the internet concerning kombucha’s purported health benefits. However, there is a scarcity of high-quality research on kombucha.

The researches that are available are animal and test-tube studies with outcomes that may or may not apply to people.

However, because kombucha is fermented with bacteria and yeast, its probiotic characteristics are likely to provide health advantages.

Kombucha is a tea that has been fermented. It is reported to offer numerous health benefits, but additional research is required.

Kombucha – a great source of probiotics
Gherkins and pickled gherkins ferment over time.
Cucumbers and pickled gherkins ferment over time.

8. Pickles

Cucumbers that have been pickled in a salt and water solution are known as pickles (also known as gherkins).

They’re left to ferment for a while, with the help of their own lactic acid bacteria. They become sour as a result of this process.

Pickled cucumbers are a good source of probiotic bacteria, which can help with digestion.

They’re low in calories and high in vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting.

Keep in mind that pickles have a high salt content.

Pickles prepared with vinegar, on the other hand, do not contain live probiotics.

Cucumbers that have been pickled in saline water and fermented are known as pickles. They have a low-calorie count and are abundant in vitamin K.

Pickles – a great source of probiotics
Glass cup of Turkish traditional drink ayran , kefir or buttermilk made from yogurt, homemade yoghurt in glass bowl
Glass cup of Turkish traditional drink ayran , kefir or buttermilk made from yogurt, homemade yoghurt in glass bowl

9. Traditional Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a generic word for a variety of fermented dairy beverages. Traditional buttermilk and cultured buttermilk are the two basic varieties with India, Nepal, and Pakistan being the primary consumers of traditional buttermilk.

Buttermilk is simply the liquid leftover after creating butter. This is the only kind with probiotics, and it’s commonly referred to as “grandma’s probiotic.”

Cultured buttermilk, which is widely available in American stores, has fewer probiotic benefits.

Buttermilk was originally created as a byproduct of the butter-making process. The liquid leftover after churning butter was allowed to come into touch with microorganisms in the air, resulting in the conversion of lactose sugars in milk to lactic acid.

Buttermilk is now manufactured by combining a bacterium culture with nonfat or low-fat milk. The end result is a thicker-than-milk sour, fermented liquid. Buttermilk can be used to lighten pancake batter, and it’s the hidden ingredient in coleslaw that gives it its creamy, sour flavour.

Choose a container with an “active cultures” label to ensure that you’re eating buttermilk that’s high in probiotics.

Buttermilk is low in fat and calories, but high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, and phosphorus.

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy beverage that is mostly consumed in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Cultured buttermilk, which can be obtained in most supermarkets in the United States, has no probiotic properties.

Buttermilk – a great source of probiotics
Natto is a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans that is popular for breakfast. During the fermentation process, the soybeans become slimy and gooey.
Natto is a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans that is popular for breakfast. During the fermentation process, the soybeans become slimy and gooey.

10. Natto

Natto, like tempeh and miso, is a fermented soybean product.

Bacillus subtilis is a bacterial strain found in it.

In Japanese kitchens, natto is a must-have ingredient. It’s usually served with breakfast, combined with rice.

It has a distinct odour, a slimy texture, and a powerful flavour. Natto is high in protein and vitamin K2, which is beneficial to bone and heart health.

The use of natto on a daily basis was linked to better bone mineral density in older Japanese males, according to a study. Natto’s high vitamin K2 level is responsible for this.

Other research suggests that natto may help women avoid osteoporosis.

Natto is a fermented soy product used in Japanese cuisine. It contains a lot of vitamin K2, which can help you avoid heart attacks and osteoporosis.

Natto – a great source of probiotics
Assorted range of cheeses which are all fermented
Assorted range of cheeses which are all fermented

11. Some Types of Cheeses

Despite the fact that most types of cheese are fermented, not all of them contain probiotics.

As a result, it’s critical to check food labels for live and active cultures.

Some soft and aged cheeses, such as Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese, the healthy bacteria survive the ageing process.

Certain cheeses can be a source of probiotics, especially if they’re made from unpasteurized milk. For cheese made or imported into the United States, the FDA mandates that it must use pasteurized milk, which kills off the resulting cheese’s probiotic benefits.

Unpasteurized milk is only allowed if the cheese is then aged for 60 days. Aged cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano, cottage cheese, or any artisanal cheese at your local farmers’ market (if made from raw milk) are rich in microorganism cultures that enhance the gut’s microbiome.

Cheese is a nutrient-dense food with high protein content. It’s also high in calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium, among other vitamins and minerals.

Moderate daily consumption, such as cheese-eating, may potentially reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

Probiotics are only found in a few types of cheese, such as cheddar, mozzarella, and gouda. Cheese is a nutrient-dense food that may help with heart and bone health.

Soft & Aged Cheeses – a great source of probiotics
Green olives are a fantastic source of probiotics

12. Green Olives

The natural salt-water fermentation process of brined olives means that they’re rich in Lactobacillus, a kind of gut-friendly bacteria.

It might be strange to think of olives as healthy food, but it’s true.  They are rich in Lactobacillus, a kind of gut-friendly bacteria. The natural saltwater fermentation process means that they have many health benefits for your digestive system.

And the more you eat them, the better they get at helping your body absorb nutrients from other foods.

Green olives are rich in antioxidants which makes them ideal for you to have a healthy heart and brain. They can also give you the feeling of feeling fuller, so you can lose weight.

Green Olive – a great source of probiotics

In conclusion

We all know that probiotics are good for our digestive health, but it can be hard to find the right ones.

You can eat a variety of probiotic foods that are both healthy and delicious in order to improve your diet, but more specifically improve your overall health.

With each generation becoming more conscious of how they live and what they eat, it seems obvious that some of the probiotic foods mentioned above will be present within everyone’s diet.


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