Probiotics are the live bacteria and yeasts your body needs to keep your digestive track clean. While there are plenty of medicinal options to help you get the nourishment you need, there are also a ton of whole foods that are natural probiotics, all of which can easily be incorporated into your diet. Supplements like vitamins and herbal products are convenient if you struggle to meet the suggested nutrients per day, but why pop pills when you can diversify your diet and try new, tasty, healthy foods?
Nutritionist Dr. Charles Passler and founder of Pure Change tells Elite Daily,
We have three to five pounds of bacteria in our digestive system designed to help break down and process food, help produce serotonin, assist in an optimal immune response, and decrease inflammation. The best way to manage gut health [is to] eat whole natural foods, lots of dietary fiber, and fermented foods. These will support the colonization of good bacteria.
The goal is to provide your body with the amount of probiotics it needs to sustain a healthy gut, so the first step is to talk to your physician to see what exactly is right for you.
The second step? Eat a lot of these tasty, natural probiotic foods!
If you regularly drink at least one glass of milk a day, you might want to explore this dairy-free alternative.
Kefir contains 30 strains of bacteria and yeast, making this fermented food richer in probiotics than your average serving of yogurt.
2. Fermented Sauerkraut
According to a study published in the December 2007 issue of Applies and Environmental Microbiology, raw sauerkraut contains over 13 variations of gut-friendly bacteria.
Fork a generous helping onto a hot dog, sandwich, salad, or just eat it straight from the jar to ensure easy digestion.
3. Greek Yogurt
I quickly made the switch to Greek yogurt after researching the slew of benefits one serving can offer.
In addition to being a great source of protein, this rich dairy product is loaded with probiotics, so it's easier to break down for someone with stomach issues or a weak immune system.
A favorite among vegan and vegetarians, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and is rich in protein and nutrients that are easily digested.
Curious about meatless meals? There are a ton of tempeh recipes to try so you can get your share of probiotics at any meal.
Unless you've been living under a rock or have recently taken a long hiatus from social media, you've probably seen bottles on bottles of Kombucha spamming your social feed.
It's a fizzy, fermented tea-based beverage dated back to ancient China, filled to the brim with healthy probiotics.
6. Dark Chocolate
The next time you're craving cocoa, opt for a dark chocolate bar full of sustenance that your gut will wholeheartedly appreciate.
Sakara Life launched chocolate probiotics to be taken daily, and easy digestion honestly never tasted so good.
7. Ginger Beer
You sip ginger ale to ease an upset stomach, but ginger beer might be the better alternative overall.
Pick up a store-bought bottle or brew your own to reap all the benefits of this fermented beverage's mighty serving of probiotics and enzymes.
A Korean delicacy that does wonders for your digestive system, Kimchi is made by fermenting vegetables in probiotic lactic acid bacteria.
It's basically the ideal two-for-one special: You get a serving of veggies, and a healthy gut.
If you love pickles, you're in luck.
These babies pack a sour punch, and if you like the taste, you'll love its gut-friendly benefits.
Fair warning: Make sure your pickles aren't made with vinegar. These, unfortunately, do not contain live probiotics.
10. Sour Dough Bread
(As if we needed yet another reason to love carbs.)
A loaf of sourdough bread is actually packed with probiotics. Because it's made by fermenting flour and water, a slice or two is easy to digest, and may even help people with type 2 diabetes.