Probiotic foods can help you achieve a healthy balance of the right kinds of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics have been shown to facilitate proper digestion, immune system function, and overall health.
Here are seven sources of probiotics you can include in your diet.
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This drinkable fermented dairy beverage is rich with probiotics and complex carbohydrates that feed beneficial bacteria, explains Rodale’s Organic Life
. Choose products that do not contain added sugar and keep kefir cold since heat kills its beneficial bacteria.
Fermenting foods is a preservation method that predates modern refrigeration. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage that is loaded with probiotics. Avoid canned and commercial varieties that are pasteurized and instead try making your own.
3. Miso soup
Miso is made from fermented rye, beans, rice, or barley, and has been used as a digestive regulator in traditional Japanese medicine, says Mind Body Green
. Dissolve a little miso in warm water for a soothing probiotic food. Rodale’s Organic Life advises buying organic miso to avoid eating genetically modified soy and harmful additives.
This fizzy fermented tea can be a healthful, probiotic-rich substitute for carbonated beverages. Rodale’s Organic Life says kombucha’s high probiotic and vitamin B content are especially helpful for maintaining immune system function, but it can aggravate some digestive tract problems.
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If you seek out truly fermented pickles made traditionally, they can be a valuable probiotic food. Avoid commercial, mass-produced pickles since they will have far less probiotic value, explains Mind Body Green.
6. Greek yogurt
True Greek yogurt has potent probiotics and impressively high protein, says Rodale’s Organic Life. Check the ingredients list, however, since some products marketed as Greek yogurt contain chemical additives to achieve a thick, creamy consistency. The best yogurts contain only milk and active cultures. Also avoid yogurts with added sugar.
7. Sourdough bread
If you eat bread, sourdough may be the healthiest choice of all, says Health magazine
. Sourdough is naturally leavened using a fermented starter that is full of lactobacillus, or beneficial bacteria. Lactic acid in the bread has also been credited with lower blood sugar spikes compared to conventional breads.
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