Just because you think germs are gross doesn’t mean your body feels the same way. In fact, of the trillions of cells which comprise your body, the majority are bacterial and not human.
Clearly your body has a soft spot for the germs you try so adamantly to avoid. The truth is that the best probiotic products for gut health are responsible for maintaining healthy digestion as well as supporting a strong immune system.
What you eat affects the bacterial in your gut, which in turn affect your digestion, immunity, your body weight, and overall health.
Healthy Gut Guide to Probiotics
You eat certain foods because of the benefits they provide: oranges give you vitamin C for an immune system boost, milk gives you calcium for strong bones, and fish gives you omega-3 fatty acids for brain health. In the same manner, you should eat certain foods to keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy.
There are probiotic foods (often fermented) that allow bacteria to thrive, thereby helping them to protect your gut and body from harmful invaders. There are a number of foods available for you to buy to ensure you deliver all the nutrients and live cultures that your tummy craves.
- Plain Yogurt: Chobani’s plain non-fat yogurt is an easy way to consume three types of bacteria without worrying about calories. This probiotic-filled yogurt has also been linked to increased connectivity in certain parts of the brain, meaning you may get a cognitive boost with every cup.Siggi’s plain yogurt is made from pasteurized skim milk and live active cultures, ideal for any troubled tummy. Add some fresh fruit and enjoy a probiotic, high-protein, and antioxidant-rich snack.
- Sauerkraut: Essentially fermented cabbage, sauerkraut is an excellent source of probiotics. Eden Foods Organic version provides the perfect topping for sandwiches, salads, and soups. Adding a unique flavor to any meal and a host of beneficial bacteria, sauerkraut helps to lower cholesterol and ensures that the intestinal balance of bacteria stays in favor of the good guys.
- Culture Shot: It may not sound as appetizing as other ‘shots’ but it is definitely better for you. A culture shot is exactly what it sounds like: a probiotic-filled juice to be consumed in small, quick doses.Farmhouse offers dill pickle and smoked jalapeno varieties, each packed full of the probiotics your body needs. If you can handle shots of whisky or tequila, then you can handle this one and your body will actually be thankful you did it.
- Miso: Miso paste may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to seeking probiotics, but it happens to be full of them.Miso Master is the brand to look for because it contains more rice and barley than soybean, and these ingredients ferment much faster. This means their miso paste is considered short-term aged and has more active bacteria than any of the long-term aged varieties.
- Kimchi: A spiced cabbage, kimchi is a staple of the Korean diet that has become popular around the globe. Due to its high probiotic content, kimchi is often called a “super-food.” Mother In Law’s kimchi is made with a bone broth and salted fish for added nutrients. It delivers bacteria-rich goodness to your stomach.Kimchi has been proven to be very effective in individuals with inflammation, frequent bowel pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and leaky gut syndrome.
- Kombucha Tea: This fermented tea drink contains enzymes and probiotics, making it a double dose of health benefits. Don’t be turned off when you see the bacteria and yeast settled at the bottom of the glass or bottle, this is where all the good stuff is.GT is a popular choice offering many organic flavors to choose from, and the Health-Ade brand offers a “bubbly” option. These are the only commercial teas fermented 100% in-glass, making them as unique as they are healthy for you.
- Tempeh: For those who are gluten-free or vegan, you can opt for tempeh to get your probiotic fix. Tempeh is a complete protein that contains all essential amino acids and is full of bacteria.It is more than just a meat alternative, it is a gut-happy staple. Noble Bean provides an easy-to-use and easy-to-cook product for anyone not familiar with cooking cultured products.
More Probiotics for Your Health
In addition to these popular products, there are other items you can add to your diet to increase your probiotic store. One easy way to do this is by purchasing probiotic supplements, just be sure that you do proper research on which supplements are best for you before buying any.
Beyond supplements, there are other foods that can be helpful as well. You no longer have to hide the chocolate, so long as it’s dark, because 85% cocoa is a real treat for your stomach.
Gut bacteria ferment dark chocolate into heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory compounds. Just be sure to watch the sugar content, as bad bacteria thrive on sugars, which can erase all the positive work the good guys just did.
Less tasty, but just as effective, apple cider vinegar contains many probiotics and can help to relieve acid reflux while supporting weight loss. Try drizzling some over a salad to give your stomach a boost in fat, carbohydrate, and protein digestion.
The fermenting process involved in making pickles makes them an ideal candidate for increasing probiotic intake. The best part about pickles is they can be added to salads, sandwiches, or just eaten as a snack.
Olives are another tasty snack that can be cured for anywhere between 3 and 14 months, allowing them to cultivate numerous probiotics for your health.
Bone broth not only protects your intestinal lining, which can prevent leaky gut syndrome, it also aids digestion and supports the work of intestinal flora. Add this to any soup, sauce, or side dish to enhance the probiotic performance in your gut.
What You Should Remember About Probiotics
Including any of these options in your daily mix, will increase bacterial counts and keep the balance favored towards the good strains. Your health and well-being depend in part on the happiness of these tiny microbes, so you want to make sure you feed the beneficial ones.
Just as the right foods can enhance your health, processed foods and sugars can allow bad bacteria to thrive, thus increasing your risk for disease. Giving your gut what it wants can help you lose weight, reduce digestive troubles, enhance nutrient absorption, and improve immunity. Probiotics don’t sound so bad after all, do they?