There is a lot of talk about probiotic-rich food. Many ask how to get enough of it and what is it really good for. Why do we need probiotics and what does it do for our gut? There are many questions and uncertainty about probiotics. But for sure it is not only a healthy addition to our food.
No matter if raw, vegan, or other food styles, it can also add taste and is delicious. Read below a good explanation about probiotic-rich food from the expert Juri Elkaim. Learn all about probiotic-rich food and why you should eat it.
The 8 Probiotic-Rich Foods Your Gut Needs
The root of all health – and disease – begins in the gut.
Your gut plays a massive role in many areas of your health – not just your digestive system. In fact, about 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut (1).
And not only that, serotonin – the “feel-good” neurotransmitter – is produced in your gut, so its health affects your mood.
Your gut works hard to nourish you by digesting all the nutrients you need for optimal health – how well you absorb and assimilate those nutrients is directly tied to your health. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your gut has the tools it needs to do its job.
When I speak of a healthy gut, I’m referring to an intestinal tract that has an optimal balance of naturally occurring “friendly” bacteria, which we also know as probiotics.
The friendly bacteria that live in your gut (more specifically, mostly in the colon) also work to strengthen your digestive tract to prevent allergies (2).
Your gut also contains bacteria such as yeast, which are “bad” bacteria, although we do require a balance of both types of bacteria for optimal health.
Bad bacteria only become a problem when they outnumber good bacteria, which can create the perfect internal environment for illness and disease.
Regardless of the hype around antioxidant-rich foods, probiotic foods are the ultimate superfoods because they provide your body with the good bacteria you need to achieve a high level of health.
A probiotic food has undergone a fermentation process, which pre-digests the food and produces beneficial bacterial cultures.
We’ve briefly touched on the negative consequences of having an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut (which is a condition also known as dysbiosis), which is why it’s so important to include probiotic foods in your diet.
An overgrowth of bad bacteria can be caused by:
Diets high in refined sugar
Drinking chlorinated water
Excessive amounts of alcohol
Diets low in essential nutrients such as fiber
Exposure to environmental toxins can even deplete your good bacteria – and in this day and age, it’s impossible to escape them.
When bad bacteria flourish in your digestive system, you’re more prone to digestive disorders, illness, and disease.
When your gut contains a lack of friendly bacteria, it’s difficult for you to feel your best.
Instead, you’re more likely to feel bloated, tired, sluggish and even depressed, since the majority of serotonin is synthesized in your gut when friendly bacteria is present.
That’s why I consider foods rich in probiotics to be “ultimate superfoods” – they provide your gut with the bacteria it needs to create a strong foundation for your health in general.
To keep your internal environment in optimal health, I recommend consuming a variety of plant-based probiotic foods every day. The best time to eat probiotic foods is on an empty stomach. This way, they can pass through your digestive tract without being interrupted by the digestion of other foods.
What’s the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics?
Many traditional probiotic foods we can find in your local health food store or made in the comfort of your own home.
In fact, fermenting certain foods at home to create probiotics is much easier than you might think.
Typically, making a probiotic food only requires a few key ingredients, such as pure Celtic sea salt, water, and a mason jar.
In some cases, a probiotic food may require you to obtain a specific bacterial culture to start the fermentation process. Bacterial cultures are relatively easy to find, and in most cases, your local health food store will sell the culture or be able to point you in the right direction to find it.
Here are the eight of the best probiotic-rich foods, which guarantee to improve your overall health.
Sauerkraut is a popular traditional German dish, but it’s an easy-to-make ultimate superfood that many nutritionists recommend eating to eliminate digestive symptoms and clear up the skin.
Also, Sauerkraut is simply fermented green cabbage. To make sauerkraut, green cabbage is finely chopped and combined with sea salt and water (also known as brine) and allowed to sit at room temperature for several days.
Cabbage contains lactobacillus (a strain of beneficial bacteria) on its surface, and when combined with salt water, these bacteria break down the natural sugars in cabbage into lactic acid. Lactic acid then ferments the cabbage, which turns it into a probiotic containing food.
If you choose not to make sauerkraut at home, you can purchase it in stores. Just be sure it isn’t pasteurized, otherwise it won’t contain the beneficial bacteria.
Kefir is simply fermented milk. Coconut kefir uses fermented coconut milk and kefir grains, which start the milk fermentation process.
Coconut milk kefir is a dairy-free alternative to kefir that’s traditionally made from cow’s milk. I personally recommend choosing coconut kefir over dairy kefir whenever possible, as dairy has an acidifying effect on the body.
Coconut milk kefir also contains essential fatty acids, which aid in digestion and further support gut health.
Kefir grains are available at many health food stores.
Although it has recently grown in popularity, kombucha isn’t just a health food trend. People did consume it for thousands of years as a fizzy, probiotic drink.
As a fermented or “living” tea, kombucha contains probiotics that have been cultivated by fermenting black tea or green tea with a yeast and bacterial culture known as a “SCOBY.”
If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you may already know that I recommend avoiding caffeine because of the harsh effects it has on the body.
Although kombucha contains caffeine, it can be a healthier alternative to other caffeinated beverages because it contains beneficial bacteria.
Kombucha is easy to make at home. All you need is a few glass mason jars, the SCOBY, and black tea. If you want to make it at home, check with your local health food store to find a SCOBY and start.
One of the best parts about kombucha (aside from the probiotics) is how easily customizable it is.
You can infuse the kombucha with different flavors – and extra health benefits. From herbs, fruit, and algae, which makes it a refreshing, probiotic drink to enjoy on occasion, for those who aren’t sensitive to caffeine.