Need More Probiotics in Your Diet? Try These Foods

Probiotics are the good bacteria in your body, and your body needs them to function properly. They help balance out the good bacteria with the bad and keep your body healthy. If you don’t have enough probiotics in your system, complications such as bowel problems, urinary problems, and more can occur. You can get probiotics through the foods you eat.

Greek yogurt with berries

Yogurt is an excellent source for probiotics. | Nata Vkusidey/Stock/Getty Images

Yogurt

Yogurt, a fermented milk product, is the easiest way to add probiotics to your diet because it makes for a perfect breakfast or snack, and it’s affordable. Most yogurts contain the probiotic lactobacillus, but the specific probiotics can depend on the type of yogurt (low-fat, Greek, etc.) and its process.

Certain cheeses

Certain cheeses may contain probiotics, but it’s important to read up on them before you stock up on cheese (because not all cheeses are good for your gut). Cottage cheese, a fermented cheese, is a great gut-healthy option. Eat it with fruit or toast for a healthy breakfast or snack. Parmesan is another cheese that benefits your gut. It contains lactic-acid bacteria, which creates probiotics.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, or pickled cabbage, is loaded with probiotics, so don’t feel guilt next time you want to pile it onto your hot dog. When the sauerkraut is fermented, it promotes the growth of probiotics. The fermentation process helps probiotics grow, so don’t expect to get any from eating regular cabbage.

Kimchi

Kimchi and sauerkraut are very similar. Kimchi is also pickled cabbage, but it has certain spices added. It’s a very popular dish in Korean cuisine. Just like sauerkraut, the fermentation process of kimchi creates the perfect environment for probiotics to thrive, so it’s an excellent source of that good-for-you gut bacteria.

Tempeh

Tempeh is another name for fermented soybeans. The soybeans are fermented in banana leaves, and they form into a cake-like texture. It’s an excellent meat substitute, similar to tofu, but tofu does not provide the probiotic benefits that tempeh does. Tempeh is a staple in Indian cuisine.

Pickles

Pickles are cucumbers that have been fermented in a brine or vinegar. They’re a staple in the United States and are often served alongside sandwiches and burgers or simply eaten alone as a snack. However, pickles fermented in brine contain probiotics, but pickles fermented in vinegar do not. If you use them as a source for your probiotics, make sure you know how they were fermented.

Kombucha

Kombucha is fermented sweet tea. The tea is fermented with yeast and bacteria, which promotes probiotic growth. It’s a drink, so it’s a nice alternative to the foods on the list if you’re not a fan of any of those. It’s been around for about 2,000 years, but it recently became popular in the United States.

Traditional buttermilk

Purchasing buttermilk at the store won’t benefit you because it’s been cultured. Cultured buttermilk does not contain any beneficial gut bacteria. But traditional buttermilk, which is commonly consumed in India, will do the trick. When butter is made, some liquid is leftover. That remaining liquid is traditional buttermilk. You might not run to the store to purchase it, but if you’re close to a dairy farm or make butter yourself, it can be a good source of probiotics.

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