Probiotic foods are a must for anyone looking to maintain their good health. You see, almost every system in your body is influenced by probiotics as they are just one part of what scientists are calling the “microbiome.” The microbiome is found primarily inside your gastrointestinal system, and it includes an estimated 100 trillion teeny-tiny bacteria. But that’s not the only place that probiotics live. They are also on your skin, in your mouth, and they can be found just about everywhere else on your body as well.1
With so many microbacteria living inside your gut, and on your body it is very important to realize that not all bacteria are created equal. In fact, there are some very “bad” bugs out there, and if they flourish in the microbiome, or any other place on your body it could mean trouble for your health. It is estimated that the microbacteria in your gastrointestinal tract alone outnumber the cells in your body – by 100 times!2
Because of this, if you have too many types of “bad” bugs inside your body, they may take over the balance of the microbiome, causing all types of health concerns including lowered immunity, unwanted weight gain, inflammation, irritable bowels, infections, respiratory distress, and more.3
Some examples of “bad” microbacteria include Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pneumonia. And some examples of “good” microbacteria include lactobacillius acidophilus, bifidobacterium longum, and streptococcus thermophiles.
The Best Foods to Feed Your Gut Bugs
Researchers have found that these little buggers literally have a mind of their own. They are calling it the gut-brain axis because due to the enormous number of microbacteria that call your body “home,” they are able to influence your behavior. It’s true – these little buggers literally have a mind of their own!4
Able to influence everything from your eating habits to your mood, these tiny bacteria are vital players in your health, so it is important to keep them under control.5 The best way to do that is to feed the “good” bugs what they love to eat like raw fruits, and vegetables while you starve the “bad” bugs of their favorite foods like sugar, fat, and processed carbohydrates.
The Best Probiotic Foods to Add to Your Menu
If you want to reduce your risk of health problems caused by a microbiome (bacterial) imbalance, it is important to consume more probiotic bacteria. They can be found in these foods.
Here are just 3 of the best probiotic foods to start eating.
- Yogurt & Kefir. If you have ever heard the term “live active cultures,” it may be from the labels of these probiotic dairy foods. Deliciously creamy, and loaded with good strains of live probiotics, including lactobacillius acidophilus, these foods are the most popular, and versatile probiotic foods you can find! Blend them into smoothies for a richer texture, add them to crunchy granola, or just eat them plain.
- Miso Soup. If you love the soothing feeling of a hot soup on a cold day, miso soup may be the best probiotic food for you! The sweet broth is made with fermented bean paste, called miso. When used to make a broth, it turns into a tasty, probiotic rich base for any type of soup that you like. Toss in seasonal vegetables, chicken, tofu, or another ingredient you like to create a health boosting super-soup!
- Kombucha. This fizzy, bubbly sweet tea is packed with beneficial strains of probiotic bacteria, as well as yeasts. Also one of the most delicious sources of probiotics, kombucha comes in a variety of flavors that everyone can enjoy. They include everything from tropical tastes like acai berry with coconut, to more traditional flavors like strawberry. Made to deliver a specific type of probiotic called acetic acid bacteria, kombucha is one of the easiest ways to get a good dose of probiotic bacteria into your day, no matter where you are.6 An ideal replacement for soda, kombucha may be your new go-to drink to satisfy sweet cravings.
Other probiotic foods include tempeh, fermented vegetables like pickles, cabbage (sauerkraut), and kimchi, along with kvass, dark chocolate, and micro algae like spirulina.
Adding more probiotic foods to your everyday menu is one of the best ways to support your overall health. Aim to consume at least one of these probiotic foods today, and every day from here on out to gain the many benefits probiotics offer not only to your digestive system, but also to your immunity, skin, good mood, and overall feeling of vitality.
- Caitriona M. Guinane, Paul D. Cotter. Role of the gut microbiota in health and chronic gastrointestinal disease: understanding a hidden metabolic organ. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013 Jul; 6(4): 295–308.
- Bull MJ, Plummer NT. Part 1: The Human Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014 Dec;13(6):17-22.
- Jose C. Clemente. The Impact of the Gut Microbiota on Human Health: An Integrative View. Cell. Volume 148, Issue 6, 16 march 2012, pages 1258-1270.
- Marilia Carabotti, Annunziata Scirocco. The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Ann Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr-Jun; 28(2): 203–209.
5. Alper Evrensel, Mehmet Emin Ceylan. The Gut-Brain Axis: The Missing Link in Depression. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015 Dec; 13(3): 239–244.