Supporting a Healthy Gut: The 9 Best Probiotic Foods

Did you know that digestive issues account for 100 million ambulatory visits each year in the U.S.?

It’s frustrating to have digestive issues even if you make a point to avoid sugary, high-processed foods.

Often digestive issues are due to a lack of healthy gut bacteria. Luckily, there are plenty of probiotic-filled foods that you can incorporate into your diet.

Keep reading below for 9 of the best probiotic foods available to you!

1. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a tangy, salty side of fermented cabbage. While this traditional European dish is rich in probiotics, you must get the unpasteurized variety as pasteurization kills the good bacteria.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the best probiotic foods if you’re on-the-go. Yogurt is made from milk fermented by healthy bacteria, and it’s especially beneficial in reducing irregular bowel movements caused by antibiotics and irritable bowel syndrome.

Not all yogurts contain probiotics though, as sometimes the processing can kill the live bacteria. Be mindful of this and check the labels before deciding on a yogurt.

3. Best Probiotic Foods for Dairy Lovers: Cheese

If you’re not a fan of yogurt, you’ll be delighted to learn that there are plenty of cheeses rich in probiotics.

Cheese is a great option if you’re looking for a more protein-heavy probiotic food. However, only certain types of cheeses will have active cultures, so it’s wise to look at the labels. A few kinds of cheese known for having probiotic value are mozzarella, cheddar, and gouda.

4. Miso

Miso is made by fermenting soybeans, and it’s high in both protein and fiber. It’s most commonly used to make a salty soup, which is a popular dish in Japan. In your search for miso, you may also come across natto, which is a similar probiotic-rich fermented soybean product.

5. Acidophilus Milk

Acidophilus milk is a type of milk designed specifically to give a daily dose of probiotics. This unique drink is actually just standard milk enriched with acidophilus bacteria, and it’s a tasty alternative to a traditional probiotic supplement.

6. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented drink that’s been growing in popularity. If you decide to test out this fermented black or green tea, be sure to opt for a non-pasteurized variety, as these are the only types to have any significant probiotic value. Typically this will be a refrigerated, low-sugar kombucha.

Some people take it a step farther and create their own kombucha. If you want to test the potency of the probiotics, you can learn more about the enumeration process here.

7. For Sandwich Lovers: Sourdough Bread

If you’re in the market for a ham and cheese sandwich, ditch the traditional white bread and opt for a sourdough. A traditional sourdough loaf is rich in probiotics due to the fermentation process of the dough.

8. Brine-Cured Vegetables

Both pickles and olives are a good source of probiotics. As long as these veggies are cured in a salty brine, their natural bacteria will ferment and turn them into probiotic-rich foods.

9. Kimchi

Kimchi is becoming more and more popular, and you should have no trouble finding it in your supermarket. This traditional Korean side is a spicy fermented vegetable dish.

It’s most commonly made with cabbage, though you’ll sometimes find the addition of scallions and radishes. It’s rich in lactic acid bacteria, which can aid in digestion.

Building Your Diet

For those with digestive issues, eating can be a challenge. However, with the best probiotic foods above, you’ll have no trouble preparing delicious, gut-friendly meals!

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