What are probiotic foods?
You may have heard of probiotics before (perhaps you even use them already).
But in case you’re not familiar with probiotics, here’s a microscopic summary: probiotics are bacteria you can consume to support your gut health.
So what are probiotic foods? Well, they’re foods that contain live microorganisms that can help support your gut flora. When ingested, these gut-balancing foods travel to your stomach where they help to digest components of your food that your cells may struggle to break down.
By adding more probiotics to your diet, you ensure your gut flora is diverse and balanced. This plays a major role not only in regulating your digestion but can also affect your immune system, your mood, and even your skin health.
Probiotics are available in the form of supplements and powders like this one. However, you can also eat probiotic foods to support your digestion and overall health.
Not sure what to put on your shopping list? This list of the 8 best probiotic and plant-based foods is just what you need.
The best probiotic foods
Yogurt is one of the most-loved sources of probiotics.
To make yogurt, milk is fermented using probiotics (mainly lactic acid bacteria). And the good news is, plant-based yogurts follow the exact same process so vegans can easily get their fix of ‘good gut bacteria’ by eating yogurt made with coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk.
When buying yogurt, make sure that it contains only minimal ingredients and no hidden sweeteners. At home, you can sweeten the yogurt yourself with fruit, agave syrup, or superfoods like the Forever Beautiful Mix!
Sauerkraut is a popular condiment made from fermented cabbage. Similar to yogurt, fermentation ensures that the good bacteria can multiply.
Sauerkraut is not only an excellent source of probiotics but also prebiotics thanks to the acids it contains which can stimulate the growth of bacteria in the gut.
But the benefits don’t stop there, sauerkraut also contains a high content of vitamin C and natural digestive enzymes which can support your overall health and digestion.
If you like your food spicy, kimchi is an ideal way to consume more beneficial probiotics.
This Korean side dish is typically made with cabbage and various spices (such as chili powder). It's delicious paired with rice, vegetables, and other spicy foods. However, one word of caution: Kimchi is not always vegan, so be sure to check the ingredients before consuming.
Tempeh originates from Indonesia and traditionally consists of steamed soybeans that are fermented with the help of a special mold.
The fermentation makes the soybeans easier to digest and the lactic acid bacteria can multiply. Tempeh, along with classic tofu, is a very good source of protein in the vegan diet.
Miso is another healthy probiotic food that is created by fermenting soybeans. The spicy paste is produced with the help of the mold "koji" and is mainly used in Asian cuisine.
In addition to the healthy bacteria, miso also provides B vitamins, iron, and calcium.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is also a well-known probiotic source. In fact, this tart liquid is probably sitting in your refrigerator or pantry right now.
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries (and history shows that it was used as far back as the Middle Ages!) It is made from fermented apple juice and is a gut-friendly addition to delicious salad dressings.
Another probiotic kitchen staple is sour cucumbers, also known as pickles. The production process is similar to that of sauerkraut.
Sour cucumbers are fermented in water with lactic acid bacteria, sugar, salt, and herbs. A perfect snack that makes your intestinal flora happy.
Originating in Japan, Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years but has just recently made its way to grocery store shelves in recent years. It contains bacteria that is produced by fermentation with the yeast fungus Scoby (which stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.).
Kombucha is a deliciously fruity digestive aid and tangy alternative to alcoholic drinks! The best proof: these superfood mocktails!
Live cultures meet superfoods
Gut Restore makes it even easier for you to benefit from the good bacteria. This drink powder contains 3 strands of powerful lactobacteria to support your gut health and normal digestive functions. You can simply mix it with water for an instant tropical drink that aims to strengthen your intestinal flora in a plant-based way. Gut Restore also contains digestive enzymes from pineapple (bromelain) and other superfoods for a happy gut.
How a healthy gut supports the immune system
Prebiotics vs probiotics: what’s the difference?
Easy tips to improve your gut health