The bacteria found in your gut have a major impact on your digestive functioning and much more. They not only help bolster the immune system, they even have an effect on your behavior and other aspects of your overall health.1 In order to help make sure you have plenty of beneficial bacteria in your system, you need to eat as healthy as possible.
These seven incredibly probiotic-rich foods are some of the best you can eat in order to boost the number of good bacteria in your digestive tract.
Kefir is full of the beneficial Lactobacilli strain of bacteria. In fact, the Turkish translation of the word keif is “good feeling.” This Eastern European drink is a combination of kefir grains and milk. Some people compare the taste to that of liquid yogurt. Kefir is not only a great source of good bacteria, it is also rich in calcium and antioxidants.
Antioxidants are important because they help to not only slow damage to cells but, in some instances, they can even prevent that damage. They control free radicals, which are the archenemies of cells because they start chain reactions that can be fatal. However, antioxidants stop this reaction.
This is a type of tea that is usually green or black in color and has a tangy taste. Many people prefer to add fruit or even herbs to kombucha tea in order to enhance the flavor. Stop in to a nearby farmer’s market or a natural food store and you’ll more than likely be able to find it.
Kombucha contains yeast, along with a great deal of beneficial gut bacteria. It has been associated with a stronger immune system as well as increased liver and digestive tract health. This tea also contains B vitamins that help improve the functioning of the nervous system and strengthen skin, nails, and hair.
Not only is sauerkraut an indispensable part of a Reuben sandwich, it also contains probiotic bacteria and is a good source of fiber.2 Sauerkraut is also a source of vitamin C, which helps keep cells healthy and prevents the wrinkling of skin.
This is one of the best sources of probiotics, filled with beneficial cultures. You need to be careful when purchasing yogurt, however. Many brands contain artificial sweeteners and flavors that can help offset some of the nutritional value.3
This is a soup popular in Japan that consists of a stock that includes fish and dried kelp. When combined with miso paste, miso soup is the result. Miso helps to replenish the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and it also helps digest other food in the intestine. But it does a lot of sodium, which could be a problem if you’re on a restricted diet.
Made from cooked, fermented soybeans, tempeh has a flavor that is comparable to nuts. It’s not only filled with probiotics, it also contains vital amino acids. Tempeh is also an excellent protein source.
Kimchi is closely related to sauerkraut. In fact, it’s the Asian version of the dish. While it has a lot of good bacteria, it’s also very spicy.
Consuming kimchi may also benefit other aspects of your health, including brain and skin health.4
So the next time you’re at the store, check out some of these products. It’s always a good idea to add probiotic-rich foods to your diet whenever possible. Your gut – as well as the rest of your body – will thank you.
Dr. Cary Nelson
Want more useful health tips? Keep reading:
1. Forsythe, Paul. “Mood And Gut Feelings”. N.p., 2010. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
2. “7 Must-Eat Fermented Foods For A Healthy Gut – Eatingwell”. Eatingwell.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
3. Maskell, James. “Top 10 Probiotic Foods To Add To Your Diet”. mindbodygreen. N.p., 2013. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
4. Park KY, et al. “Health Benefits Of Kimchi (Korean Fermented Vegetables) As A Probiotic Food. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.