More and more research is showing that your gut health is a critical component of your overall well-being. Safeguarding the microbiome in your intestinal tract is really important. One way to take care of your gut health is to feed your microbiome probiotic foods.
So much of the food we eat is highly processed and full of chemicals that can actually harm your digestive system. These tend to disrupt your gut health and microbiome. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure that you’re enabling healthy bacteria to flourish!
Probiotic foods give your microbiome a little injection of healthy bacteria when things start getting out of balance.
In today’s post, you’ll learn all about probiotic foods and how they boost your health.
What Are Probiotics?
You may have heard the term probiotics before, but what are they?
Essentially, probiotics are live microorganisms, grown externally, to boost your naturally occurring gut flora. Probiotics also help nurture the healthy bacteria already in your digestive system.
Probiotic foods are natural sources of these helpful bacteria. When you eat them, your microbiome gets a fresh infusion of good bacteria to help keep you healthy!
What are the Benefits of Probiotic Foods?
The field of study around probiotics is still relatively new.
If you already have a healthy gastrointestinal system, you may not need to supplement it with probiotic foods. In certain situations, however, probiotics have demonstrated some promising results!
One common example is related to antibiotic treatments.
Antibiotics are typically prescribed to fend off specific bacterial infections, but they can’t distinguish between the good and bad. Antibiotic treatment often kills off your helpful native bacteria along with its target. Eating probiotic foods can help rebuild your gut microbiome after an antibiotic treatment.
Probiotics can also help people who are experiencing irritable bowel syndrome. These symptoms can include diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Although exactly why it works is unclear, probiotics can alleviate these symptoms.
5 Impactful Probiotic Foods for Gut Health
There are many probiotic foods out there. This is awesome, because you can pick and choose what you like!
These five probiotic superfoods will help you balance out your body and feel better.
Yogurt is one of the best probiotic foods out there. It’s made by fermenting milk with beneficial bacterias. Adding yogurt to your diet is associated with a whole host of health benefits!
Regular consumption of yogurt has been shown to improve bone health, lower blood pressure, and reduce antibiotic damage. It can also potentially help improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Even if you’re lactose intolerant, you can probably still eat yogurt! The fermentation process turns part of the lactose into lactic acid instead. This is where yogurt gets its sour flavor.
When you’re choosing your yogurt, pick products that contain live or active cultures.
The processing that certain yogurts go through sometimes kills off the probiotic bacteria. You should also try to choose yogurts without lots of added sugar—even if the label says low-fat.
Miso is a seasoning from Japan that is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji fungus. You can also make it by mixing soybeans with ingredients like barley or rice.
You might know it from the miso soup at your favorite sushi place!
Miso has a salty (and delicious!) flavor, but it also has some serious benefits. It’s a probiotic food that also contains protein, fiber, and a whole bunch of important vitamins and minerals.
In terms of the health benefits of miso, it may reduce your risk of experiencing breast cancer or strokes. And, of course, it also helps keep your microbiome healthy.
In addition to being a super tasty addition to your favorite meals, unpasteurized cheeses are great probiotic foods!
When we say unpasteurized, we mean cheeses that have ripened and aged courtesy of their natural anaerobic Lactobacilli. This includes favorite cheeses like gouda, gruyere, and cheddar!
Cheeses make the perfect vessel to deliver their live bacteria cultures to the gut because they protect the beneficial microbes against your stomach acid.
Plus, cheese gives your body calcium and protein, which can improve your digestion and stabilize your metabolism. It can also help with weight loss, as long as you don’t eat too much. As delicious and beneficial as it is, cheese does pack a high caloric load.
We’re not talking about the mass-produced pickles you can buy at your local supermarket. Natural pickles are a whole different beast—and made up of so many more veggies than cucumbers!
Natural pickles are a probiotic food that is made by letting vegetables ferment in a combination of brine and their naturally-occurring Lactobacillus bacteria.
These natural pickles contain probiotics that can improve your digestive health.
In addition to being a tasty low-calorie snack, they’re also a good source of vitamin K. The only potential drawback to be aware of is that pickles are high in sodium.
Try to stick to the type that is made without vinegar, as vinegar kills off the live bacteria cultures.
Once you bite into your first natural pickle, you’ll never go back!
Kombucha has been around for a really really long time. It used to be referred to called the “Elixir of Immortal Life” by the ancient Chinese.
It’s chock full of health benefits for your body!
Kombucha helps the good bacteria in your microbiome flourish, while suppressing the growth of harmful bacterias. It has also been shown to boost your immune system, prevent joint pain, and give you more energy.
You can actually make kombucha yourself with a little patience (and this helpful brew-your-own kombucha kit!).
Probiotic foods are great for your digestive health and come in a ton of different (and tasty!) varieties.
Whatever your specific dietary restrictions, there’s a probiotic out there you can enjoy. Give your microbiome the boost it needs with these superfoods!