Tags: Digestive Problems | probiotics | surprising | food | sources

6 Surprising Food Sources of Probiotics

By    |   Thursday, 19 Nov 2015 06:33 PM

Probiotics have become a trendy health topic and most people automatically think of yogurt in connection with these beneficial bacteria. But a surprising number of foods contain probiotics, so if you're not a yogurt fan, you can still find ways to add probiotics to your diet.

In decades past, people received probiotics through their diets because they frequently used fermentation to preserve foods. Most fermented foods contain significant levels of probiotics.

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Keep in mind as you consider adding probiotics through food sources to your diet that one difficulty is in determining exactly which strain of probiotic you'll be ingesting. As researchers have learned more about probiotics, they've pinpointed specific strains that help with specific health problems. Through foods, even yogurt, you rarely know what strain or how many live organisms are included.

Here are six surprising foods that contain probiotics:

1. Ginger beer – This fizzy, fermented drink hails from England, and despite its name, has less than 0.5 percent alcohol, according to Men's Health.

2. Kefir – Kefir grains are added to milk to produce this fermented drink, which is a lot like a liquid yogurt. It contains a variety of probiotic strains, as well as 11 grams of protein per cup, Men's Health said.

3. Miso – This Japanese seasoning, made by fermenting a fungus starter, soybeans, salt, and occasionally grains, can be used in soups, stir-fry dishes, and, according to Prevention magazine, smoothies.

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4. Fermented vegetables – "Veggies that are preserved via natural lacto-fermentation, as opposed to being brined in vinegar, are highest in probiotics," according to Prevention. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are suggestions, but remember that over-the-counter grocery store pickles and the like have been pasteurized, killing all the good bacteria.

5. Soy milk – Although soy milk naturally has a few probiotic strains, Reader's Digest said many companies on the market advertise that they add live cultures to their products. Be sure to read the label.

6. Dark chocolate – OK, we're stretching the list a little to include this all-time favorite food, but there's a reason. Chemists looking to discover why dark chocolate bestows some health benefits discovered that long molecules from the food stayed in the digestive tract, unable to cross the gut wall to be used as a nutrient in the body, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. But in the gut, these molecules are broken down by bacteria already there, Bifidobacterium for one, in a fermentation process. As smaller molecules, they travel through the gut wall to do good work in the body. "These materials are anti-inflammatory, and they serve to prevent or delay the onset of some forms of cardiovascular disease that are associated with inflammation," researcher John Finley told the newspaper.

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Probiotics have become a trendy health topic and most people automatically think of yogurt in connection with these beneficial bacteria. But a surprising number of foods contain probiotics, so if you're not a yogurt fan, you can still find ways to add probiotics to your diet.
probiotics, surprising, food, sources
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2015-33-19
Thursday, 19 Nov 2015 06:33 PM
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