Probiotics are an absolute game-changer for your digestive health!
Eating live-culture bacteria will send a flood of reinforcements that will help your gut flora more effective at breaking down your food for absorption as well as getting rid of unwanted and toxic particles.
There really is no downside to eating more probiotic-rich foods and enjoying better digestion.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet. Include at least one of these foods in your daily meal, and you’ll see huge improvements in everything from your digestive function to your immune health to even brain function!
1.Yogurt. Let’s be honest: you absolutely knew that yogurt was going to be at the top of this list. And for good reason! Yogurt is one of the best sources of beneficial bacteria; in fact, the bacteria in yogurt are from the same family (lactobacillus) as the bacteria that make up a significant portion of your gut flora. Probiotic yogurt with live/active cultures can improve your digestion and even help to tame bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other stomach and intestinal troubles (including Crohn’s disease and IBS).
2.Kombucha. Kombucha is essentially tea (typically black or green tea) that is left to ferment. As the sugar in the tea ferments, the presence of probiotic bacteria multiply exponentially, and the result is a probiotic-rich food that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere. It can do wonders to improve digestion, boost your energy levels, detoxify your liver, and provide antioxidants (from the black/green tea) that scavenge free radicals and tame inflammation.
3.Natto. This dish is insanely popular in Japan, and a staple of Japanese cuisine that contributes to both the longevity and optimal digestive function of the Japanese people. The fermented soybeans are rich in protein but also the Bacillus subtilis bacteria, which makes your body more effective at absorbing Vitamin K, improves immune function, and maintains good cardiovascular health.
4.Sauerkraut. German-made sauerkraut is a truly wonderful addition to your brats and hot dogs, but it’s also one of the best ways to consume more probiotics. The fermented cabbage is rich in lactic acid bacteria, along with a hefty dose of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, iron, and sodium. Eat it alone or on your hot dogs—it’s one of the tastiest of the probiotic-rich foods.
5.Kimchi. If you can stand the spice, your gut will thank you! Kimchi is a Korean variation of sauerkraut, also utilizing cabbage and letting it ferment with a mixture of seasonings, including ginger, green and red peppers, salt, and garlic. It’s not only incredibly pungent and flavorful, but it’s an amazing source of the Lactobacillus kimchi bacteria (and other lactic acid bacteria) that enhance digestive function.
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6.Miso. Miso is another variation on fermented soy beans, only it’s soybean paste rather than whole beans like natto. Miso is used to make a salty broth that is served at nearly every meal in Japan, and the high content of probiotics, B vitamins, and antioxidants makes it one of the best of the foods on our list. It’s also low in calories and helps you to consume more water, so it’s definitely one you want to add to your meals as often as possible.
7.Pickles. If you live anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, you’ll find that pickles are pretty much a standard staple of your diet—and that’s a GREAT thing! Pickles are made by allowing cucumbers to ferment in vinegar (brine), and the fermentation process that makes them sour also increases makes them amazing for your digestive function. However, you will have to search health food stores to find specific pickles that contain probiotics, as pickles made in vinegar do not typically have any live/active bacteria.
8.Tempeh. This staple of Indonesian cuisine is yet another form of fermented soybean. The soybeans are left to ferment, and then turned into a firm “patty” that has an earthy, nutty, and mushroom-like flavor. It’s also rich in probiotics, and the fermentation process reduces the presence of phytic acid (which can impede absorption of zinc and iron). It’s also rich in Vitamin B12, which is critical for healthy metabolic function.
9.Kefir. In Turkey, kefir is one of the most popular drinks (more so than milk!). It’s made by adding kefir grains into milk (typically goat or cow’s milk) and leaving the milk to ferment. The kefir grains are lactic acid bacteria cultures that activate the fermentation process. It’s considered on par with (or even better than!) yogurt for providing probiotics, as it contains numerous strains of gut-friendly beneficial bacteria. It’s also rich in calcium that is needed for healthy bones, and can enhance your immunity to disease.
10.Kvass. Last, but certainly not least, we have kvass, a drink common to Eastern Europe. Historically, it has been made by allowing rye or barley to ferment, but in modern times, it’s often made using fermented veggies (including carrots and beets) mixed with probiotic fruits. It’s rich in the Lactobacillus bacteria that can enhance digestion, combat bloating, and flush toxins from your liver and bloodstream.
If you want to be healthy, it’s a good idea to add these probiotic-rich foods to your weekly meal plan as often as you can!
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