Written by Natasha Pivovar — Updated: Monday, May 15, 2023
If you’re on the same corner of the internet as me or have experienced digestive issues, you may have heard talk of gut health. Despite the topic’s growing popularity, gut health isn’t just a fad; maintaining a healthy gut is essential for overall physical and mental wellness.
One of the best ways to support a healthy gut is by consuming probiotics. Probiotics are living microorganisms that help to achieve a healthy balance of good bacteria in the stomach. If you don’t get enough probiotics, you might experience digestive issues, skin problems, candida, and more frequent colds. Luckily, you don’t have to buy expensive pills or supplements to get enough probiotics in your diet. Instead, you can incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your daily meals. Below is a list of everyday probiotic foods to eat for better gut health.
Yogurt is one of the most well-known probiotic foods. Eating yogurt is associated with improved bone health and relief from digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome. Look for yogurts that contain active cultures, such as lactic acid bacteria. Greek yogurt is also a good choice because it has more protein than regular yogurt, which makes it great for a post-workout snack.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to yogurt, but has a thinner consistency. “Kefir” comes from the Turkish word “keyif,” which means good feeling. Which makes sense considering all of the health benefits that kefir has to offer! Kefir is a good source of probiotics, as it contains a variety of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. It’s also rich in protein and calcium. All of these may help improve digestive problems, bone health, and immunity.
Kimchi is a Korean dish made from fermented vegetables, such as cabbage, radish, and scallions. It’s a good source of probiotics, vitamins, and minerals, and contains lactic acid that can cause better digestive health. Kimchi can be found at many grocery stores in the refrigerated produce section as well as most specialty Asian markets. If you’re up for the challenge, check out the video below to learn how to make your own kimchi at home!
Sauerkraut is a popular side dish in many Eastern European countries. Like kimchi, it’s made of fermented cabbage. It’s fermented in lactic acid and contains probiotics as well as vitamins C and K. Make sure to look for unpasteurized sauerkraut because pasteurization kills the live and active bacteria. You can generally buy unpasteurized sauerkraut online and at specialty markets.
Kombucha is a good source of probiotics and antioxidants made by fermenting tea with a culture of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha has grown in popularity in recent years, and you can find a variety of flavors at most grocery stores
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that is a good source of probiotics, protein, and Vitamin B12. If you’re trying to lower your meat consumption, tempeh is a great meat substitute that can be used in stir-fries, salads, and sandwiches. Need inspiration? Watch the video below for a few recipes that include tempeh!
Incorporating these probiotic-rich foods into your diet can help to promote a healthy gut microbiome. It’s also important to eat a variety of other foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, to support gut health. If you aren’t able to include probiotic foods in your diet, you might consider taking daily probiotic supplements. Of course, it is best to consult a healthcare professional first to determine if they are right for you.