Before we get in to it, you may be asking yourself an important question, what exactly are probiotics? Probiotics are defined as yeasts and live bacteria that are extremely good for your overall health but in particular your digestive system.
Though the word bacteria often evokes connotations of disease and bad health, our bodies are actually also full of bacteria that is deemed helpful and productive in the maintaining of a healthy gut. Probiotics are the name for these good bacteria and are found naturally occurring within the body, but you can also find them in a large number of supplements and foods that are widely available.
Since the middle of the 1990s, there has been a big push from society and the wider shopping public for more knowledge about probiotics and in what foods they are most prevalent. Here are the top ten probiotics:
Yogurt is the quintessential probiotic food, especially handmade brands and varieties. Goat’s milk yogurt in particular tends to be infused with extra probiotic forms including acidophilus and lactobacillus.
2. Miso Soup
A traditional Japanese favorite, miso soup is considered an excellent regulator for the digestive system. Made from rice, barley, beans or fermented rye, adding miso powder to hot water creates rich broth full of bifidus bacteria.
3. Dark Chocolate
Hurray! A healthy reason to treat yourself to some chocolate! Probiotics are sometimes added to top quality dark chocolate and can even register up to three time the amount as many other forms of dairy.
Kefir is a product very similar to yogurt in that it is a fermented combination of goat’s milk and kefir grains. Kefir, as well as containing significant levels of bifidus bacteria and lactobacilli, is also abundant with antioxidant qualities.
It may come as something of a surprise, but the humble green pickle is actually a great source of probiotics in food. Making your very own probiotic filled sun dried pickles can be a fun and healthy home activity to undertake.
Sauerkraut, a traditional German dish, is made from cabbage that has been fermented. It is not only abundant in health giving live bacteria, but also has been known to ease a number of allergy symptoms along with containing vitamins C, B, E and A.
Microalgae is the term used for sea-based plants including chorella and spirulina that possess properties to help increase the amount of both bifido bacteria lactobacillus within the digestive system. They are also a fantastic source of energy for the human body.
8. Kombucha Tea
Kombucha is a type of tea that is fermented and is known to contain incredibly high amounts of beneficial and healthy gut bacteria. Along with its probiotic stature, kombucha tea is also a great energy booster and can help with weight loss.
Kimchi is an Asian dish similar to German sauerkraut - fermented cabbage with a much more sour and spicy flavor. Kimchi is common in Korea and contains high levels of helpful and healthy bacteria along with calcium, iron and numerous vitamins.
Tempeh is a brilliant substitute for tofu or meat that is extremely high in probiotic count. Made the fermented grains of soy beans, tempeh is delicious and can be baked, sautéed or used in salads and is also very low in salt, making it an ideal food for a healthy diet.
If including these foods in your diet seems like too much effort, you can buy yogurt based drinks to increase your intake of probiotics.