Probiotics - what you might not know
Probiotics are live microorganisms that have health benefits when consumed.
Probiotics are mostly seen as beneficial bacteria which provide all sorts of powerful benefits for your body and brain.
They may improve digestive health, reduce depression and promote heart health.
Some evidence suggests they may even give you better-looking skin.
Getting probiotics from supplements is popular, but you can also get them from fermented foods.
Here is a list of some super healthy probiotic foods you can consume on a daily basis to reap the benefits:
Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics. It is made from milk that has been fermented by friendly bacteria, mainly lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.
Eating yogurt is associated with many health benefits, including improved bone health. It is also beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
Additionally, yogurt can also be suitable for people with lactose intolerance. This is because the bacteria turn some of the lactose into lactic acid, which is also why yogurt tastes sour.
However, keep in mind that not all yogurt contains live probiotics. In some cases, the live bacteria have been killed during processing.
For this reason, make sure to choose yogurt with active or live cultures.
Also, make sure to always read the label on yogurt before you buy it. Even if it is labelled low-fat or fat-free, it may still be loaded with high amounts of added sugar.
Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink. It is made by adding kefir grains to cow’s or goat’s milk.
Kefir grains are not cereal grains, but rather cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast that look a bit like cauliflower.
It may improve bone health, help with some digestive problems and protect against infections.
While yogurt is probably the best known probiotic food in the Western diet, kefir is actually a better source. Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria and yeast, making it a diverse and potent probiotic.
Sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria.
It is one of the oldest traditional foods and is popular in many countries, especially in Europe.
Sauerkraut is often used on top of sausages or as a side dish. It has a sour, salty taste and can be stored for months in an airtight container.
In addition to its probiotic qualities, sauerkraut is rich in fibre as well as vitamins C, B and K. It is also high in sodium and contains iron and manganese.
Sauerkraut also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health.
Make sure to choose unpasteurized sauerkraut, as pasteurization kills the live and active bacteria.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product. It forms a firm shape and has a flavour that is described as nutty, earthy or similar to a mushroom.
Tempeh is originally from Indonesia but has become popular worldwide as a high-protein meat substitute.
Tempeh aside being high in probiotics is also high in Vitamin B12. Largely you will find this vitamin prominent in animal based meat foods so to find it here in Tempeh is a great so it becomes a favourite for vegans and vegetarians.
Kimchi is a fermented, spicy Korean side dish.
Cabbage is usually the main ingredient, but it can also be made from other vegetables.
Kimchi contains the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus kimchii, as well as other lactic acid bacteria that may benefit digestive health.
Kimchi made from cabbage is high in some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and iron.
This popular tea is fermented by a friendly colony of bacteria and yeast. It is consumed in many parts of the world, especially Asia. You can even purchase it online.
Pickles (also known as gherkins) are cucumbers that have been pickled in a solution of salt and water.
They are left to ferment for some time, using their own naturally present lactic acid bacteria. This process makes them sour.
Pickled cucumbers are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria which may improve digestive health.
They are low in calories and a good source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting.
Keep in mind that pickles also tend to be high in sodium.
It is important to note that pickles made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics.
8. Traditional Buttermilk
The term buttermilk actually refers to a range of fermented dairy drinks.
However, there are two main types of buttermilk: traditional and cultured.
Traditional buttermilk is simply the leftover liquid from making butter. Only this version contains probiotics.
Buttermilk is low in fat and calories but contains several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorus.
Although most types of cheese are fermented, it does not mean that all of them contain probiotics.
Therefore, it is important to look for live and active cultures on the food labels.
The good bacteria survive the aging process in some cheeses, including Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese.
Cheese is highly nutritious and a very good source of protein. It is also rich in important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium.
Moderate consumption of dairy products such as cheese may even lower the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.