The secret is out. The answer to good health, good looks, and longevity are probiotics. These are the gut-friendly bacteria that live in our digestive tracts to help in digestion and nutrient absorption.
Probiotics will save you from taking another pill when it comes to digestive problems and more. Putting these microbes under the microscope reveal that their benefits go way beyond the digestive system. Have you been struggling with stomach aches, allergies, insomnia, diarrhea, heart conditions, weak immunity, or belly fat and obesity? If yes, you may very well be suffering from a lack of healthy gut bacteria. Below we will explore an extensive list of probiotic rich foods and their multiple health benefits.
Before we dive in, however, let’s find out more about the good bacteria that can help you live a healthier, happier life.
What are Probiotics?
Our bodies are full of bacteria, some good, and some bad. Probiotics are the good bacteria that feed on the harmful bacteria in a ‘cleansing’ fashion to keep your gut healthy.
Our ancestors scarcely suffered from the health complications that plague us today. So, where the onslaught of health issues begin? Processed foods. That was the Pandora’s Box, or the can of worms if you will. But of course, we can’t rule out antacids, hormone replacers, birth control, antibacterial soaps, steroids, and the overuse of antibiotics.
We used to eat fresh foods straight from mother earth. We would also naturally ferment various foods as a preservation method before the refrigerator. Today there are dangerous food processing methods where natural foods are loaded with additives for longer shelf lives.
The problem is even worse than you think. Beyond the fact the chemical additives kill the taste and the nutrients in the food, they descend our digestive tracts and destroy much of the good bacteria trying to survive in our guts.
The result of the probiotics apocalypse in our system includes:
- Stinking breath
- Leaky gut and stomach ulcers
- Susceptibility to cold and flu
- Pimples, rashes, and dry skin
- Bloating and obesity
Sounds scary? You bet. The only option for improvement is to start consuming probiotics today. No matter how bad your situation has been, if you are already suffering from these issues, you are guaranteed to see quick improvement. What’s more, you will save the money you would otherwise spend on doctor’s appointments and drugs.
10 Types of ‘Friendly’ Bacteria:
There are many types of probiotic bacteria, all with different benefits. The most common types of gut-friendly bacteria include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus bulgarius
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bacillus subtilis
- Bacillus Coagulans
- Escherichia Coli
- Viridans Streptococci
14 Great Probiotic Foods
This is by far the most probiotic-rich food around. The drink is a combination of milk and fermented kefir seeds. The Kefir grains help in the fermentation of the liquid. Kefir grains are made up of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that speed up the fermentation overnight.
Once the milk is fermented, the grains are removed and stored away to be used again. This method of milk fermentation can be attributed to ancient Turks and Russians. In essence, Kefir is a nutritious drink packed with different strains of good bacteria as well as other nutrients including proteins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, Riboflavin and vitamins B12 and D.
- Coconut Kefir
This version of Kefir uses young coconut juice, giving a lactose-free option to those with allergies. It is fermented with Kefir seeds and tends to have the same probiotics as the original milk Kefir, though in a lesser concentration. What you can expect however, is a drink with great taste.
Research also shows that the probiotics in Kefir can inhibit the growth of tumor cells and the formation of carcinogenic cells. That means it is a possible remedy for cancer.
- Green Peas
According to new studies, green peas are a great source of probiotics! Just prepare a cup of green peas to accompany either your breakfast or dinner and you will be on your way to better health. Green peas contain the Leuconostoc mesenteroides strain of microbes that serve to protect the walls of the digestive tract from corrosion.
- Fermented Vegetables
Sauerkraut (popular in German cuisine) and Kimchi (popular in Korean cuisine) consist of fermented cabbage and other vegetables. In both, the fermentation formula is the same. You can ferment a single type of vegetables or different types including herbs and spices to achieve the taste you desire. The greens are fermented using either a solution of salt, whey or any other starter culture. While these foods do not contain numerous types of probiotics, they are high in acids which promote good bacteria growth in your system and enzymes which help digestion.
Yogurt is probably the most popular and commonly consumed probiotic food. It’s easily accessible and requires little effort to prepare. The best option is Greek yogurt which is made by fermenting cow, goat, or sheep’s milk. The milk should be organic, not pasteurized, and from pasture raised/grass-fed animals. Yogurt contains numerous strains of probiotics including, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactobacillus case, and Bifidus.
- Raw Cheese
Cheese made from natural, unpasteurized animal milk contains a high amount of gut-friendly bacteria, namely Lactobacillus thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus, and acidophilus. Fresh cheese is indeed a no-brainer for anyone who cares about healthy living.
Green tea has immense health benefits, but fermented green tea is next level healthy and medicinal for one reason- it contains a super-saturation of probiotics. The tea is sweetened then fermented using a culture of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY. Originating from China almost 2000 years ago, it is believed that Kombucha can heal conditions of the digestive tract and reduce liver intoxication.
This fermented soy food originates from the ancient Far East. This prebiotic meal is made by soaking soybeans, boiling them, and then fermenting them with a culture of Bacillus subtilis. This strain of probiotic is super-potent, known to remedy heart conditions, heal digestive tract disorders, and improve the body’s immunity.
- Brine-Cured Olives
To aid in a stress-free gut, place a cup of green olives in a culture made of salt water and leave it for some days to ferment. The result is olives rich in Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus pentosus bacteria that will help your gut health.
This is a brew originating from ancient Russia, made of fermented barley. Today, there are various versions of it, some using carrots, beets, or fruits. Kvass has plenty of gut-friendly bacteria that not only improves digestion but also reduces lethargy, boosting physical activities.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
You can drink it in small amounts or use it as a salad dressing. Apple cider vinegar is one of the healthy drinks you should try for the highly concentrated gut-friendly bacteria it contains. It also aids in blood sugar regulation, hunger suppression, stomach indigestion/ acid reflux, and improved immunity.
- Salted Gherkin Pickles
These are soaked Swedish cucumbers, chopped, and seasoned with salt. They are then sealed in a jar containing a mixture of vinegar, sugar, dill and mustard seeds. Pickled cucumbers carry plenty of healthy bacteria and are also low in calories.
This is a Japanese spice soup made by fermenting either soybean, barley, or rice with a fungus called Koji. It takes a few days for the mixture to ferment and the result can then be turned into soup or dressing.
Rounding up our list of probiotic-rich foods is Tempeh, originating from Indonesian culture. All you need to do is add a tempeh mixture to soybeans and leave for a few days to ferment. You can then boil the resultant cake form or eat with Miso. Tempeh is full of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and host of the gut-friendly Lactobacillus bacteria.
From the look of it, there is an expansive list of probiotic foods. Science doesn’t lie; your life could transform if you choose to start and stick to a probiotic rich diet today.