8 Probiotic Food Choices
Good Bacteria?! Why, Yes!
You've heard you need them. Scratch that, you know you need them, and you’ve likely tried them… probiotics. Let's get to the root of why you need them and look at some of the food-based ways to get them into your belly. This is a guest post by the awesome, Malibu-based wellness expert, Diana Nicholson. Check her out here.
What does probiotic mean?
The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek words pro, meaning "promoting," and biotic, meaning "life."
Why do you need them?
With more neurons in our gut than our brain, probiotics balance the good and bad bacteria—they're essential! The “good” bacteria that lives in your gut can aid digestion, and boost your health. Research suggests they are responsible for a variety of benefits including supporting the immune system, relieving depression and helping prevent obesity. Everyone’s microbiome is different; there’s much we don’t know. But what we do know is that the most fundamental influence on gut bacteria are the food choices we make.
8 Probiotic Food Sources
Made from bacteria that ferment the natural sugars in milk, yogurt is a classic food that just about everyone has had before. Choose plain yogurt with no flavors, colors or other additives. Current favorite... Siggis, all the way!
A popular drink in much of Europe, kefir’s fermentation process breaks down the lactose in milk, creating a lactose-free product. You can also find kefir made from soy, coconut or rice milk. You can drink kefir alone or use it as a substitute for milk in recipes.
Miso is a traditional Japanese spice found in many of their traditional foods. Miso can be made into a soup (as you’ve seen if you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant), spread on crackers, use it anywhere you’d use butter or just about anywhere you want.
- Fermented Cabbage
Sauerkraut and kimchi are both fermented cabbage products offering the healthy kind of bacteria or probiotics. Sauerkraut is the German version and kimchi is the Korean version of this fermented cabbage. Gotta love Bubbies!
Hailing from Indonesia, this fermented soybean product is another source of probiotics. Tempeh is created by adding a tempeh starter to soybeans. A cake-like product, you can eat tempeh raw or by boiling it and eating it with miso or soy sauce. It can also be used as a substitute for meat in a stir fry meal.
- Brine Cured Olives
These special olives are an excellent source of probiotics. Select a product that is organic from a company that advertises probiotics and make sure they don’t contain sodium benzoate. You can eat the olives by themselves as a snack or include them in your favorite recipes.
- Salted Gherkin Pickles
These fermented tasty treats are also a little-recognized source of probiotics. Again, choose a manufacturer that uses organic products. If you can find a local maker, you’ll be getting some of the best probiotics for your health.
- Fermented Cheeses
Cheeses are created by fermentation. The fermentation process can take a few days or a few years depending on the specific desired end product. The end result? Cheese. Aged cheeses may have more beneficial bacteria. Even if you take a "probie" supplement, adding some food based probiotic powerhouses will up your game.