Top 10 Probiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet

Probiotics are beneficial forms of gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. In addition to taking a probiotic supplement, you can also support our probiotic intake through eating foods that are hosts to these live bacterium.

We all know of the great health benefits of probiotics, however, not all of us know how to take advantage of these health benefits. Below is a list I put together to outline the best probiotic foods for you to add to your diet. I would also recommend buying the organic version of all these probiotic foods.

1. Yogurt

One of the best probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt, especially handmade. Look for brands made from goat milk that has been infused with extra forms of probitoics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Goat’s milk and cheese are particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus. Be sure to read the ingredients list, as not all yogurts are made equally. Many popular brands are filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors.

2. Kefir

Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of goat milk and fermented grains. High in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, kefir is also rich in antioxidants. Look for a good, organic version at your local health food shop.

3. Sauerkraut

Made from fermented cabbage (as well as other vegetables), sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but also aids in reducing allergy symptoms. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B, A, E and C.

4. Dark Chocolate

Yes, we did say chocolate! A good, high-quality dark chocolate has four times the amount of probiotics as many forms of dairy. This is only one of the health benefits of chocolate. Remember to eat chocolate in moderation.

5. Microalgae

This refers to super-food ocean-based plants such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae. These probiotic foods have been shown to increase the amount of both Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract. They also offer the most amount of energetic return, per ounce, for the human system.

6. Miso Soup

Miso is one the mainstays of Japanese traditional medicine, and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup, full of lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria.

Beyond its important live cultures, miso is extremely nutrient-dense and is believed to help neutralize the effects of environmental pollution, alkalinize the body and stop the effects of carcinogens in the system.

7. Pickles

Believe it or not, the common green pickle is an excellent food source of probiotics. Try making your own homemade pickles in the sun. Here’s a great set of instructions for making your own probiotic-rich dill pickles.

8. Tempeh

A great substitute for meat or tofu, tempeh is a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soybeans. A great source of vitamin B12, this vegetarian food can be sautéed, baked or eaten crumbled on salads. If prepared correctly, tempeh is also very low in salt, which makes it an ideal choice for those on a low-sodium diet.

9. Kimchi

An Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside most meals in Korea. Besides from beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 & B2. Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods you can add to your diet, assuming you can handle the spice, of course.

10. Kombucha Tea

This is a form of fermented tea high in healthy gut bacteria. This probiotic drink has been used for centuries and is believed to help increase your energy, enhance your wellbeing and maybe even help you lose weight. However, kombucha tea may not be the best fit for everyone, especially those that already have a problem with candida.

Other Sources of Probiotics

Besides from the list of probiotic foods above, you can also get plenty of beneficial bacteria by taking a probiotic supplement.

Do you have any favorite foods with probiotics that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the author

author-picture

Dr. Edward F. Group III has his Naturopathic Doctorate, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist certifications, and is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and the American Board of Functional Medicine. He founded Global Healing Center Inc. in 1998 which has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

A dynamic author and speaker, Dr. Group focuses solely on spreading the message of health and wellness to the global community with the philosophy of full body cleansing, most importantly colon cleansing, consuming pure clean organic food, water, air, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Visit GlobalHealingCenter.com to learn more about living green and healthy!


Comments

Anonymous's picture
1

Frederica Huxley

Comprehensive list! I would add that homemade sauerkraut is easy to make and vastly superior to shop bought (and you can add whatever takes your fancy!), and homemade kefir can be successfully made with organic cow's milk. So nice to add probiotics to the many advantages of eating raw cacao.

Anonymous's picture
2

Anonymous

Loved the list, but where is the pickle recipe? Would love to try making them.

Anonymous's picture
3

Vi S.

Veggies other than cucumbers can be pickled, like carrots, cauliflower, green beans, onions, beets. I do mine in the fridge. We always pickled boiled eggs when the hens were laying more than we could use on a daily basis. My husband pickled venison heart. Don't forget pickled pigs' feet for those who like them.

Anonymous's picture
4

Charlotte

No. 7. Pickles says - Here’s a great set of instructions for making your own probiotic-rich dill pickles, but I don't see any instructions. I thought possibly, it is somewhere else and wondered where I could find it.

Thanks, Charlotte

Anonymous's picture
5

Helen

Dose cooking or freezing change the qwality of the probeotics

Anonymous's picture
6

Duffiana

Would injera (fermented flat bread eaten in Ethiopia and other African countries) come into this category?

Alice Wessendorf's picture
7

Alice Wessendorf

Hi Anon 2 and Charlotte,

Thanks for the heads up on the link to the pickles instructions not being active. It's fixed now.

Alice

Anonymous's picture
8

Laura B

Rejuvelac is another. Also, please refresh me on why kombucha is not recommended for people with candida problems.

Anonymous's picture
9

Krishnan Ramdas

Dr. Edward, may I suggest you to have a closer look at the 'Lassy' which is used almost across the Indian sub-continent as a thirst quencher and a healthy 'soft drink'. It can be used salted or sugared.

Anonymous's picture
10

Anonymous

Just click on the BLUE LETTERS that say

great set of instructions

and it will pull up the recipe

Anonymous's picture
11

Anonymous

I doubt tempeh would be a good source of B12, this vitamin from soy is the mirror image or the negative of the actual B12 we get from organic beef there is no substitute for this, that is why many vegetarians will get a false reading and the true fact is they are deficient in B12 feel free to comment. JAM

Anonymous's picture
12

David & Judy Murphy

What about products made with natural sour dough starter (sponge)?

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