Not only are probiotics found in supplements that add to the already naturally occurring bacteria in the gut, but they can also be consumed through food sources.
Probiotic foods contain bacteria that aid in digestion, nutrient absorption, support immune function, and keep infections at bay so that you can live a long and happy life.
In this article, we discuss what probiotic foods are available and how they help support the digestive tract.
Best Probiotic Foods
It’s important to know the difference between probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria naturally found in the gut, but can also be found in foods and dietary supplements. Prebiotics are the fuel that helps the healthy bacteria thrive and colonize.
That being said, there are prebiotic foods and probiotic foods. Below we discuss some of the probiotic food options.
Not all yogurt provides probiotic effects. That being said, not all yogurt is the same. For example, yogurt derived from goat or sheep's milk contains more protein and calcium than yogurt derived from cow's milk. The choice of yogurt can differ in nutritional facts and probiotic cultures.
Probiotic yogurt, as the name suggests, provides "live and active cultures." This dietary sources offers probiotic bacteria that can help create a healthy microbiome.
However, probiotic yogurts can provide different probiotic strains, offering different benefits.
For example, Greek yogurt usually contains Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei probiotics to aid in digestive health and absorption of nutrients.
Other probiotic strains that become present during the fermentation process are L. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, the latter of which can be found in our PRO-15.
Fermented dairy products contain minimal amounts of lactose due to the culturing process. This makes these products more suitable for lactose intolerant individuals. There are also probiotic yogurts made from coconut and almond milk with similar health benefits.
Kefir and yogurt are similar in that they are both produced from fermented milk. However, kefir is a liquid milk beverage that has more of an acidic and creamy taste and texture.
It’s created by adding kefir culture, which is a mixture of bacteria and yeasts, to the milk of a cow, sheep, or goat.
Similar to some yogurt products, kefir is 99% lactose-free, making it more tolerable for lactose-intolerant individuals.
The benefits of this drink are attributed to the various types of probiotics found within the product. It can also be enriched with vitamins and minerals.
Some of the probiotics in kefir include various subspecies of the lactobacillus strain, as well as B. bifidum and S. thermophilus. They can enhance immunity, alleviates allergies, and defend against intestinal infections.
Kefir has potent probiotics that inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria. It also improves your bone health, lowering the risk of osteoporosis later on in life.
Full-fat Kefir contains plenty of calcium along with Vitamin K2, which will help calcium metabolize and make its way to the bones to prevent fractures.
Kefir provides probiotics that will colonize the GI tract, aiding in digestion and immunity.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage that offers various essential nutrients and probiotics.
The process of making sauerkraut transforms the vegetable into a gut-friendly, immune-boosting substance. The probiotics found within sauerkraut populate the gut and improve the balance of bacteria to promote healthy regulation.
Having a stronger gut lining will prevent bad bacteria from entering the body and setting off an immune response. It will also create a stronger buildup of antibodies and reduce the risk of infections.
Sauerkraut contains L. brevis, L. plantarum, and Leuconostoc mesenteroides. These strains are known to improve immune response, increase antioxidant levels, protect against foodborne pathogens, and alleviate gastrointestinal distress.
A pickle is a cucumber that has been fermented in salt and water or pickled vinegar. The fermentation process results in probiotic formation.
Truly fermented pickles made in salt in water contain live probiotics that your body can utilize. Pickles fermented in vinegar will not contain the live probiotics due to the acidity of the vinegar.
Pickles are an easy snack that provide a good source of vitamin K that’s essential for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Since fermented pickles are considered a probiotic-rich food, eating them will help nourish the gut microbiome which is key to balancing and promoting your digestive system.
A number of probiotic strains can be found in fermented pickles depending on what cultures are used to start the fermentation process.
There may be similar strains of probiotics in pickles that are also found in a multi-strain probiotic, like Pro15 for men and women.
Kombucha is made by fermenting tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. There are many health claims made surround kombucha, however more research needs to be conducted in order to support all of the claims.
The probiotic strains found in kombucha are typically Acetobacte and Brettanomyces used to produce the acetic acid; saccharomyces which can prevent diarrhea; lactobacillus, and pediococcus to treat constipation.
Consuming these strains through a kombucha probiotic drink may not be as effective as taking a probiotic supplement, like PRO-Compete or PRO-15.
Miso is made from the fermentation of soybeans with salt and a fungus called Asperigillus oryzae. It’s full of probiotics that will benefit your gut and overall health.
The probiotic composition of miso soup can include Bacillus and Staphylococcus strains during the fermentation process. In the final product, usually Bacillus probiotics are the remaining strain.
Consuming miso soup may be correlated with a decreased risk of stomach cancer. This proves the intense effect a balanced microbiome can have on the digestive system.
Miso soup contains various vitamins. This would include B Vitamins beneficial for cell health and growth of red blood cells. Vitamin K and Vitamin E are also found in this soup, benefiting the immune system and preventing inflammation.
Probiotic foods are a good way to maintain gut health and ensure the body is absorbing the necessary nutrients in order to flourish.
Whether you are snacking on pickles or having probiotic yogurt for breakfast, your body will receive some form of good bacteria.
While probiotic foods are widely available, they may not provide as many benefits when compared to a probiotic supplement. Where the diet may lack, probiotic supplements can be utilized.
**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.