Conventionally, staying away from bacteria is said to be the right thing to do. This is because they are known to cause diseases, and hence, just the thought of consuming ‘bacteria’ can be hard to swallow, figuratively. But this was true until good bacteria and the researchers identified their benefits.
These good/beneficial bacteria were given the name probiotics. Probiotics are similar to the human microbiota that naturally lives in our bodies, mainly the digestive tracts. Probiotics are living microorganisms that help restore the balance of bacteria in our bodies and promote better health.
Certain foods naturally contain these healthy probiotics. When taken in adequate quantities, probiotic foods can help maintain gut health, prevent indigestion, and reduce gut inflammation. These are just a few of the many reasons why probiotics are good for you.
Approximately 16% of adults worldwide face constipation that is often challenging to cure. This has made a significant percentage of individuals turn to natural remedies or supplements like probiotics.
Probiotics have also been shown to be an excellent solution to health problems like diarrhoea, bacterial vaginosis, oral health, liver cirrhosis, irritable bowel syndrome and more.
There are a plethora of science-backed probiotic supplements available in the market today. However, you can also meet your daily probiotics requirements by making dietary changes.
A long list of probiotic foods may include products you probably already eat throughout your day but are oblivious to their qualities. Find that list below.
Top 6 probiotic foods that help in digestion
Fresh yogurt is considered to be one of the healthiest and most common probiotic foods. Some particular strains found in fresh yogurt with live cultures have ß-D-galactosidase. This is an enzyme that breaks down dairy lactose and converts it into glucose and galactose. As a result, it causes lactose malabsorption.
Yogurt can also help prevent or cure diarrhoea and other gut problems. It is suggested to have at least one cup of yogurt every day.
Probiotic found in this product: Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus
2. Soft Cheese
Consuming probiotic foods is a proven way to promote better gut health. The pH of soft cheese is favourable for the probiotic to pass through the stomach acids and reach the intestine. Parmesan, Cheddar, Gouda and Swiss cheese are some of the ideal vehicles for the probiotics to reach the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Probiotic found in this product: Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei and Bifidobacterium animalis.
Sauerkraut, also known as fermented cabbage, is a great probiotic food that can help prevent several health issues, such as obesity, food & skin allergies, inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer.
It’s best to have unpasteurised Sauerkraut as the pasteurised variety can destroy the good bacteria and the purpose of consuming probiotic-rich foods is lost. Unpasteurised Sauerkraut, on the other hand, inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria and promotes better digestive health.
Probiotic found in this product: Lactobacillus brevis, Pediococcus pentosaceus, and Lactobacillus plantarum
Tempeh, an Indonesian probiotic food, is a nutty, smokey and mushroom-flavoured patty, with a texture firmer than that of Tofu. Tempeh is made by fermenting soybeans and contains high concentrations of protein. This dish is often consumed as a substitute for meat.
This probiotic food is considered great for boosting the immunity of the gastrointestinal tract. It is one of the excellent probiotic foods that help treat diarrhoea, constipation and several other digestive problems.
Probiotic found in this product: Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium bifidum
5. Sour Pickles
Sour pickles are another set of naturally fermented products containing healthy and beneficial probiotic strains. The natural fermentation of pickles is healthier than when added to vinegar.
In the natural fermentation process, sea salt and water lead to the growth of good bacteria. Consequently, sour pickles can help promote healthy gut flora. They can also inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and contribute to boosting immune health.
Probiotic found in this product: Bacillus
6. Miso Soup
Miso, a Japanese seasoning, is made by turning fermented soybeans with sea salt and koji (a type of fungi) into a paste. Another way to make Miso is by combining soybeans with rice, barley, or rye.
A popular Japanese breakfast dish made with this paste is Miso Soup. A broth rich in probiotics is made by mixing a few tablespoons of Miso with hot water.
The probiotics in Miso eliminate the pathogenic bacteria in the gut and boost gastrointestinal health.
Probiotic found in this product: Oryzae
Probiotic foods' benefits go beyond the gastrointestinal (GI) health and proven to be a great solution for overall health and well-being. Probiotics also aid in ensuring good cognitive health, oral health, renal health, and women's health, among others.