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Adding More Probiotic Foods To Your Diet

Adding more probiotic foods to your diet helps you stay healthy and improve overall health. Probiotics are microorganisms naturally present in the digestive tract that aid in digestion and reduce inflammation. While a person can take probiotic supplements, there are also many probiotic foods available.


Probiotic Foods

There are several different classes and types of probiotics. The most common are:

  • Bifidobacterium
  • Lactobacillus
  • Saccharomyces boulardii, which is a type of yeast

Food manufacturers may also call probiotics live cultures or active cultures. Many fermented products contain probiotics, which means the bacteria in them are still living. Frequently, the food production process destroys living bacteria. If a product is available on a shelf and is not refrigerated, it may not contain live and active probiotics.

Foods that contain probiotics may include:

  • Traditional buttermilk 
  • Yogurt
  • Aged cheeses
  • Kefir

Not all foods must be dairy to contain probiotics. Examples of other probiotic foods include:

  • Kombucha, a fermented tea
  • Non-dairy yogurts
  • Fresh, sour dill pickles
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Tempeh, a popular meat substitute
  • Natto, a food made from fermented soybeans
  • Sauerkraut
  • Water or brine-cured olives


How To Add More Probiotic Foods To Your Diet

Probiotic foods are available in a wide variety, so people can add as few or as many as they like to their diet, depending on their taste. Examples of ways to add probiotic foods to a healthful diet include:

  • Cooking a stir-fry, using tempeh as a meat replacement. However, it is best to incorporate tempeh at the end of cooking as excessive heating can destroy the active cultures.
  • Enjoy a breakfast of probiotic yogurt with berries, flax seeds, and nuts.
  • Drinking probiotic-rich beverages, such as kefir or kombucha, as a mid-morning snack.
  • Serving sauerkraut as a side dish to main meals.
  • Incorporating miso into soups.

You should keep in mind that certain foods, especially yogurt, may contain added sugars. Choose foods with the least amount of artificial sweeteners, sugars, and other artificial flavorings. 


Probiotic Foods Misconceptions 

Probiotic foods are subject to several misconceptions. Even though some food types can contain probiotics, not all do. Not all yogurts contain live and active cultures, for instance. Usually, those that do are marked. Fermented foods do not always contain live cultures. 

Examples of fermented foods that do not have probiotics include:

  • Soya sauce
  • Wine
  • Chocolate
  • Beer
  • Sourdough bread

These and other foods like them go through additional processing that inactivates the live cultures. Examples of these processes include baking, filtering, or pasteurization.

The benefits of probiotics are continually investigated by researchers, testing everything from their effects on the common cold to their ability to reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers are not sure which dosage or food type will produce the best results. However, incorporating probiotic foods into the diet may improve digestion. You should always read food labels carefully to ensure that the foods contain live and active cultures or try a supplement.

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