We’ve talked about the importance of gut health before, an unhealthy gut can affect digestion, energy levels, and even mental health. Nutritionists agree that we all need probiotics in our diet.
As a quick refresher, probiotics are defined as live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially for your digestive system. People will often refer to them as ‘good bacteria’ because they affect the nerves in your body that move food through your gut. Lacking enough of these ‘good bacteria’ can result in a variety of digestive issues (including Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Urinary Tract issues).
But before you rush out to stock up on probiotic supplements, we’ve put together a list of 10 probiotic-rich foods that your gut will love.
Tempeh is our favourite source of protein right now. It’s so versatile, easy to cook, and packed with nutrition. If you’re avoiding soy-based products, you can always stock up on lentil or even edamame tempeh. It’s all full of iron, calcium, and probiotics.
You probably start with miso soup everytime you go for sushi but you’re probably not appreciating the work that goes into creating that miso in the first place. Miso paste is an Asian seasoning made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans, barley, brown rice and several other grains with a fungus, Aspergillus oryzae. Since it’s a fermented food, it’s full of probiotics that your belly will love.
Does anyone else love sauerkraut as much as we do? We think not. We have it on our avocado toast every morning, or with our hash browns, in our salads, and with our roasted veggies. All you need is salt and cabbage to make some sauerkraut packed with probiotics.
Yogurt is an easy one. A fermented dairy drink that is good for your bones, teeth, and your gut. You can find vegan yogurts packed with probiotics too- just double check that it’s a fermented yogurt and not one that mimics flavours with artificial ingredients.
Not all pickles are a good source of probiotics. In fact, most of the store-bought ones are just cucumbers preserved in vinegar and sugar. But if you can’t help but crunch on pickles, look for the small-batch pickles that have been fermented or make them at home!
Yes, we are just as happy as you are to see dark chocolate on this list. Not only is dark chocolate good for fighting stress, warding off disease, and fighting cancer, it’s great for your gut. Make sure to look for organic dark chocolate made of 70% or more raw cacao or cocoa content to get those probiotics your gut needs.
Many people are passionate about raw dairy products, which is made from unpasteurized milk or milk that has not been pasteurized, a process of heating liquid foods to decontaminate them for safe drinking. This pasteurizing destroys much of the enzymes in the dairy. However raw milk still only has small amounts of probiotics in it until it’s fermented to make cheese or yogurt. So if you’re up for it- give some raw dairy cheese or yogurt a try for its abundance of probiotics!
Kimchi is a Korean staple that has slowly been gaining popularity here in North America. Just like sauerkraut, it’s made by fermenting veggies but you’ll find spices and seasonings added to this to give it an extra kick. Not only is it good for your gut but it could be good for your asthma, mental health, and allergies too!
Expect to see a lot more shelf space at your grocery store dedicated to Kefir because it’s going to get really big next year. Kefir is a yogurt-like drink that is bursting with probiotics, vitamins and phosphorus. It’s also said to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, improve digestion, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Not only is Kombucha rich in probiotics but it’s filled with healthy enzymes, lactic acid, and B vitamins. Kombucha has been mainstream for a while now (you can find it at many conventional grocery stores) which means that there are enough local varieties that you can find one to your taste and flavour.
Any fermented food should be rich in probiotics since the fermentation process is actually a conversion of sugar into acids or alcohol with the help of bacteria or yeast and through this process produces probiotics.
Want to read more about gut health? Read our post, ‘Do You Have a Healthy Gut?’ next.