Gut health has been a popular subject in recent years, as we’ve realized the pivotal role that the gut microbiome plays in the general health of our body. Consuming more probiotic foods is one of the most effective strategies to improve gut health. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, probiotics are living bacteria that keep the harmful pathogens in check, assisting our body in maintaining a healthy balance, lowering inflammation, and enhancing gut health, among other benefits. Learn more about them in this article.
Why Fermented Foods? Humankind has been fermenting foods and drinks like beer and wine for centuries. Foods that are fermented go through lactofermentation, in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating lactic acid. This process creates an environment that preserves the food and promotes beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics.
Top Probiotic Foods
Are you unsure what probiotic foods are or which ones are the most beneficial to consume? The specifics are as follows:
Yogurt is manufactured by fermenting milk with probiotics, primarily lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. According to new research from the University of Toronto, various probiotics have varying benefits, and certain probiotic-containing yogurts may be healthier than others. Yogurt is by far the most frequently known and widely accessible probiotic food in the United States.
- Homemade yogurt contains Lactobacillus bulgaricus with Streptococcus thermophilus. It is beneficial in reducing diarrhea induced by antibiotics in children. It may also aid in the alleviation of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Additionally, yogurt may be appropriate for those who are lactose intolerant. This is because the bacteria convert part of the lactose to lactic acid, which also contributes to the sour flavor of yogurt.
It is recommended by the American Gastrointestinal Association for digestive health and alleviates constipation, diarrhea, and other intestinal issues. There are now a variety of yogurt variations available in the market other than natural ones, but be cautious — specific flavored or low-fat versions may contain an excessive amount of sugar. Often, more probiotics are added to them as well. Almost 80% of commercially made yogurts contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidus are all prevalent strains that may help maintain the balance of bacteria required to promote immunological function and digestive tract health.
How many CFUs? Yogurt contains between 1-5 live and active cultures and six billion colony forming units (CFUs).
The NYA has probiotic standards. To be healthy, yogurt must have at least 100 million cultures per gram. Ice cream must have 10 million cultures per gram. Live and Active Cultures seal may feature on the label if minimums are reached.
Kefir is a healthy fermented meal with a consistency close to drinkable yogurt. It is made by fermenting milk with freeze-dried kefir starter cultures, typical kefir grains, and the leftovers after removing the grains. Kefir grains contain up to 61 to 70 bacteria and yeast types, making them an extremely rich and varied probiotic food. The most prevalent bacterial genera observed in kefir are Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Streptococcus, and Leuconostoc.
- Certain microorganisms included in kefir are thought to provide protection against illness such as Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir. This probiotic has been shown to slow the development of dangerous bacteria like Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori, and E. coli.
- Bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria bifidum, Streptococcus thermophilus, and a few dozen more are also found in Kefir.
- Kefir probiotic contains many health advantages for gut health, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.
- Stanford Medical School researchers discovered that gastric bypass patients who ingested probiotics like kefir lost weight faster than those who did not.
How many CFUs? Kefir contains 12 distinct strains of living and active cultures, as well as between 25 and 30 billion Colony Forming Units (CFU). Some studies also suggest 150 billion CFU per tablespoon or 2.4 trillion/cup.
So, the key issue is: how many probiotic foods will you need in order to be healthy? That is a difficult question to answer.
Sauerkraut, a product dating all the way back to the fourth century B.C., is a fermented cabbage brewed with lactic-acid bacteria, which means it’s beneficial for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Additionally, we get fiber and chemicals that support the immune system. It is the most popular probiotic food in Eastern Europe.
The fermentation of sauerkraut creates lactic acid bacteria. According to a May 2018 edition of Foods, sauerkraut contains three distinct types of lactic acid bacteria including Leuconostoc mesenteroides ,Lactobacillus brevis, and Lactobacillus plantarum.
- Unpasteurized sauerkraut includes probiotics, which help fight toxins and dangerous microorganisms. Additionally, they may help with digestion and general wellness.
- Lactic acid bacteria found in sauerkraut are one of the most well-established and investigated probiotic strains, according to an August 2016 article in Functional Foods in Health and Disease.
- According to National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies, L. plantarum found in this probiotic food may also provide a variety of possible health advantages, including enhanced immunity, better digestive health, and reduced GI-related symptoms.
- August 2016 paper in Functional Foods in Health and Disease, researchers compared various serving amounts of sauerkraut to probiotic pills to see how they stood up. The researchers showed that a 2-tablespoon portion of sauerkraut had 1 million colony-forming units (CFUs), which is enough probiotics for the day.
- In September 2018, researchers from PLOS One chimed in saying that sauerkraut contains a hefty dose of probiotics. Those probiotics are resistant to a low pH. In other words, the bacteria could survive the passage through your stomach acid and make it to your small intestine.
How many CFUs? It has been studied that sauerkraut 1,000–100 million CFUs/ tablespoon.
Tempeh originated in Indonesia but has gained international popularity as a high-protein meal replacement. It is a cake-like product produced from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans. A recent study examines the health benefits of fermented soy meals. Much research shows fermented soy is much healthier than regular soy. The fermentation method improves the soy’s digestibility, addressing issues including protein digestion and amino acid absorption. It may include beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium, and Rhizopus filamentous fungus, among others.
- It seems to be high in prebiotics – fibers that aid in the formation of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
- Researchers found that soybean tempeh had a beneficial impact on the human microbiome increasing the number of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Escherichia coli, and Enterococcus.
Tempeh, like other fermented soy products, is deemed safe for the majority of individuals. However, some individuals may choose to restrict their tempeh consumption due to excessive amounts of soy in it.
How many CFUs? Tempeh contains roughly 10 billion CFU of probiotics per gram.
Kimchi is a Korean dish made from fermented vegetables such as Napa cabbage and Korean radish. It is traditionally served with a selection of seasonings, including gochutgaru, spring onions, garlic, ginger, jeotgal, and others. Kimchi was named one of the world’s healthiest foods in a 2006 edition of Health Magazine due to these excellent features.
- As per research, it includes Lactobacillus kimchii as well as other beneficial lactic acid bacteria for digestive health.
- The genera Leuconostoc, Weissella, and Lactobacillus are thought to be important in Kimchi fermentation and are being recognized as beneficial for fighting cancer and inflammation while lowering high cholesterol levels.
- In 2016, a Korean study revealed that probiotics included in kimchi may change gut bacterial populations and influence metabolic pathways in obese women.
- In addition to its anti-cancer benefits, kimchi has been shown to have anti-obesity, anti-constipation, and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
How many CFUs? Kimchi has been found to have one hundred million CFUs/gram.
Although kimchi is a probiotic, it still includes live bacteria. However, improperly cooked or preserved kimchi might cause food poisoning. As a consequence, individuals with weak immune systems should avoid kimchi.
Miso is a Japanese cuisine staple made by fermentation of soybeans with salt and koji, a kind of fungus. The paste is available in a variety of flavors and is often used in miso soup. Additionally, it is high in vitamins B, E, K, and folic acid. Fermentation encourages the creation of probiotics, beneficial microorganisms that have several health advantages. Miso’s major probiotic strain is A. oryzae. Microorganisms present in this probiotic food may help lessen symptoms of digestive issues including inflammatory bowel disease.
- According to one research, regular drinking of miso soup was connected with a decreased risk of breast cancer in middle-aged Japanese women.
- Additionally, a variety of miso samples included Lactococcus sp, which generates a bacteriocin with a potent antibacterial activity that inhibits the development of a variety of bacteria, including Bacillus subtilis, Pediococcus acidilactici, and Lactobacillus plantarum.
- Consuming probiotic-rich foods such as miso on a daily basis may help decrease the need for infection-fighting drugs by up to 33%.
How many CFUs? Miso contains 10 million colony-forming units (CFUs) each serving.
Because high temperatures might destroy the probiotics in miso, it is recommended that it be used in cold foods rather than hot ones. As a result of this, certain heat-killed probiotic strains may still give some advantages.
Kombucha is yeast and bacteria-fermented black tea. It has a somewhat acidic flavor that many people like. Due to the high sugar content, the fermentation process is vigorous, resulting in a thick gelatinous coating known as SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). A high-quality kombucha beverage will ensure that the digestive system receives the greatest quantity of beneficial gut flora. Two organisms that you may discover in kombucha are Acetobacter xylinoides and Acetobacter ketogenum.
- Kombucha contains a variety of lactic acid bacteria that may have probiotic properties.
- Black or green tea kombucha has been studied to be highly antibacterial, especially targeting infection-causing organisms and Candida yeasts.
How many CFUs? Kombucha has around 10 billion CFU per gram in terms of probiotic value.
Pickles (also called gherkins) are cucumbers preserved in a salt and water solution. There are two types of pickles available, pickles made with vinegar and pickles made with saltwater and fermented by microorganisms found in and on the vegetable. Pickles produced with vinegar lack the beneficial bacteria potential of fermented pickles. Fermented pickles are a probiotic food, meaning they contain helpful bacteria that may help populate and diversify our gut flora.
- Lactobacillus plantarum, L. brevis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Pediococcus cerevisiae, Pediococcus pentosaceus, and Enterococcus faecalis are the bacteria involved in pickle fermentation.
How many CFUs? They have been found to contain almost 1 to 10 billion CFUs in a gram.
A variety of fermented dairy beverages are called “buttermilk.” Traditional and cultured buttermilks are produced. Buttermilk is now made by adding live lactic acid bacteria to low-fat milk (Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus). This tangy beverage is similar to the fermented dairy drink kefir.
Like kefir, yogurt, probiotics, and other products containing live bacteria cultures, buttermilk is said to provide a variety of health advantages, according to its supporters, and maybe consumed in large quantities. Beyond the fact that it has fewer calories and fat than whole milk, buttermilk may be beneficial in the prevention or alleviation of gastrointestinal ailments.
Unlike cultured buttermilk, which is popular in the US and is not a probiotic food, traditional buttermilk includes probiotics.
How many CFUs? Buttermilk contains one billion CFUs in one gram of it.
Cheeses are great carriers of probiotics because their sour taste and high-fat content protect and nourish the microbes as they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotic cheeses are either aged or prepared from raw, unpasteurized milk. Lactic acid bacteria are found in old cheeses that have not been heat treated.
- Gouda Cheese. Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland discovered in 2010 that daily eating of probiotic Gouda cheese by individuals 72 and older reversed immunosenescence, the age-related loss of innate and acquired immunity. It also contains L. acidophilus, B. lactis and L. paracasei.
- Cheddar Cheese. Researchers believe that the probiotic lactic acid bacteria employed as a starter for cheddar cheese will survive the cheese-making and aging procedures making it a healthy probiotic food option. It also contains L. paracasei, L. salivarius, B. lactis, B. longum,and L. acidophilus.
- Feta Cheese. This salty sheep’s milk cheese is most often preserved in brine, and researchers think that certain varieties of feta contain probiotic bacteria. The research published demonstrated feta cheese containing Lactobacillus plantarum which also helps the immune system fight infection and disease.
How many CFUs? Cheese has been found to contain one ten thousand CFUs in one gram.
While the majority of cheeses are fermented, this does not indicate that they all contain probiotics. That is why it is critical to check food labels for the terms “living cultures” or “active cultures.”
|Probiotic foods||Probiotic Microorganisms Present.|
Many of the probiotic foods on this list are high in fiber, which feeds beneficial gut microbes. These microorganisms create short-chain fatty acids that decrease inflammation and boost the immune system. Dietary fiber is a good source of pro-and prebiotics. Read more about prebiotics here.
How much to Take? Because there is no recommended daily intake of probiotics, there is no way to determine which fermented foods to consume or in what quantities to consume them. As a result, the usual recommendation is to simply include as many fermented foods in your regular diet as possible. OR Probiotic goods containing at least “1 billion colony forming units” and probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.
How to Incorporate Probiotic Foods into your Diet? Some Tips
The following tips can be used to add probiotic foods to the diet in an easy way,
- Set the Proper Time. According to the book “Go with your Gut”, If one wants to consume probiotics via food and drink, one should begin in the morning and include one probiotic food into each meal throughout the rest of the day. Adding small quantities is always preferable
- Always Read Labels. One may be cautious when buying manufactured probiotic foods from the market as added sugars may cancel out the health effect of the food. For example, frozen and flavored yogurts may contain added sugar.
- Cooking Or No cooking. Probiotics are destroyed (along with all their good-for-you gut advantages) around 115ºF/ 46.1ºC when exposed to high temperatures. So, if one is using miso in a soup or cultured cottage cheese in a creamy pasta dish, toss them in towards the end of cooking.
- Swap Your Ingredients. No one does not have to give up their favorite recipes if they include probiotic-rich foods in their diet. One approach suggested is to include more probiotic foods into the day is to substitute them with comparable (and sometimes less healthful) items that have no gut-health advantages. For example, using Greek Yogurt in salad dressing instead of Mayo.
- Start Small. Certain individuals may have adverse reactions to probiotic foods. It is recommended to include a small quantity of prebiotics in meals and gradually increase it. Consuming too much at once might result in GI symptoms such as gas, bloating, etc.
- Store them in a Cool Place. Probiotic foods should be refrigerated after opening. However, if this is not achievable, storing the package in a cold, dry location is preferable.
Fermented foods and nutritional supplements are effective strategies to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your stomach. The NCCIH states that a large proportion of the microbes identified in probiotic foods and supplements are comparable to those found naturally in human bodies. A doctor often prescribes Probiotic supplements to treat certain conditions and are not advised for daily usage. Plus, supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA like drugs. But they are widely used by many people around the world. When it comes to consuming your probiotics, many medical professionals say that this is preferred since it may provide extra advantages associated with a healthy diet.
In any case, consult your primary care physician before starting a probiotic since some individuals with sensitive intestines (such as those with irritable bowel syndrome) may have side effects from taking too much. Additionally, as both experts advocate, maintaining an overall healthy and balanced diet is critical for enjoying the advantages of your chosen probiotic food or meal to Prime with Time!