Probiotics are a must-have for a healthy and diverse intestinal flora. But how can you integrate natural probiotics into your diet? Read along to discover the best plant-based probiotic foods!
8 Probiotic Foods That Support Gut Health
What are probiotic foods?
Probiotics are live cultures that can support your gut health. When ingested, these microorganisms travel to your gut and help to digest components of your food that your own cells may struggle to break down.
By adding more probiotics to your diet, you ensure your gut flora is diverse and balanced. This plays a major role not only in regulating your digestion but can also affect your immune system, your mood, and even your skin health.
Many probiotics can be bought and taken in the form of supplements (and tablets are not the best way to take care of your body). However, you can also simply eat probiotic foods for your digestion and overall health.
Not sure what to put on your shopping list? This list of the 8 best probiotic and plant-based foods is just what you need.
The best probiotic foods
Yogurt is one of the most-loved sources of probiotics.
To make yogurt, milk is fermented using probiotics– mainly lactic acid bacteria. Plant-based yogurts follow the exact same process! Coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk yogurt all contain excellent probiotics for your gut flora.
When buying yogurt, make sure that it contains only minimal ingredients and no hidden sweeteners. At home, you can sweeten the yogurt yourself with fruit, agave syrup, or superfoods like the Forever Beautiful Mix!
Yogurt can also be used as a condiment for savory dishes. This tzatziki yogurt sauce tastes great on veggie wraps.
Sauerkraut is a popular condiment made from fermented cabbage.
As with yogurt, fermentation ensures that the good bacteria can multiply. Sauerkraut is not only an excellent source of probiotics but also prebiotics thanks to the acids it contains which can stimulate the growth of bacteria in the gut.
But the benefits don’t stop there, sauerkraut also contains a high content of vitamin C and natural digestive enzymes.
If you like your food spicy, kimchi is an ideal way to consume more beneficial probiotics.
This Korean side dish is typically made with cabbage and various spices (such as chili powder). It's delicious paired with rice, vegetables, and other spicy foods. However, one word of caution: Kimchi is not always vegan, so be sure to check the ingredients before consuming.
Tempeh originates from Indonesia and traditionally consists of steamed soybeans that are fermented with the help of a special mold.
The fermentation makes the soybeans easier to digest and the lactic acid bacteria can multiply. Tempeh, along with classic tofu, is a very good source of protein in the vegan diet.
Miso is another healthy probiotic food that is created by fermenting soybeans. The spicy paste is produced with the help of the mold "koji" and is mainly used in Asian cuisine.
In addition to the healthy bacteria, miso also provides proteins as well as B vitamins, iron, and calcium.
6. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is also a well-known probiotic source. In fact, this tart liquid is probably sitting in your refrigerator or pantry right now.
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries (and history shows that it was used as far back as the Middle Ages!) It is made from fermented apple juice and is a gut-friendly addition to delicious fruity salad dressings.
Another probiotic kitchen staple is sour cucumbers, also known as pickled cucumbers. The production process is similar to that of sauerkraut. Sour cucumbers are fermented in water with lactic acid bacteria, sugar, salt, and herbs. A perfect snack that makes your intestinal flora happy.
Originating in Japan, Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years but has just recently made it’s way to grocery store shelves in recent years. The bacteria it contains are also produced by fermentation with the yeast fungus Scoby (which stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.) Kombucha is a deliciously fruity digestive aid and tangy alternative to alcoholic drinks! The best proof: these superfood mocktails!