13 Natural Probiotic Food Sources

By Ted

2727-probiotic-bacteria.jpgIt seems there is so much emphasis on probiotics these days.

In fact, these helpful bacteria are being being added to a plethera of foods, but do we really need them to be?

The best sources of probiotics are found by eating foods that naturally contain good gut microbes.

Probiotic Benefits

We do know that we need these little guys to be healthy. They allow our intestines to work properly, they produce vitamin K, they are an important part of a healthy immune system, and have even been shown to prevent yeast infections. Have you ever felt horrible after taking an antibiotic? This is because the antibiotic also kills much of the good bacteria in your digestive tract.

Because bacteria have the ability to reproduce rapidly, most people do not need probiotic supplements, especially if you’re eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruit as well as consuming foods that naturally contain them.

Here are 13 foods that are natural sources of probiotics.

  1. Yogurt: Although not all yogurts contain live cultures, yogurt is one of the most well known sources containing this type of bacteria.
  2. Kombucha: Found in health food stores, kombucha is produced from tea and live cultures. Although some people find the taste hard to swallow, this low calorie and healthy drink is a great choice.
  3. Kefir: High not only in antioxidants, but also lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria ,traditionally kefir is a combination of goat milk and fermenting kefir grains.
  4. Sauerkraut: Most famously known for being a big part of the German diet, sauerkraut is fermented cabbage that contains many health benefits.
  5. Pickles: Not only useful for hamburger toppings, pickles are a great source of probiotics.
  6. Miso: Usually added in soups, Miso, which is made from soybeans, fermented rye, and either rice or barley is famous for being an element in traditional Japanese medicine.
  7. Tempeh: A top vegetarian pick, tempeh is made from soybeans. Tempeh is usually a substitue used for meat or tofu.
  8. Buttermilk: Commonly used in salad dressings or smoothies, buttermilk is full of probiotic bacteria.
  9. Cottage Cheese: Cottage cheese, along with other aged cheeses, are great to add into your daily diet.
  10. Natto: Made from fermented soy beans, is a Japanese food that contains Bacillus subtilis.
  11. Kim Chi: is a traditional Korean dish composed of fermented vegetables.
  12. Unpastorized Olives: They serve not only as a popular trimming for foods, but also they have been used to fight heart disease.
  13. Sour Cream: Obtained after fermenting cream by lactic acid producing bacteria.

Conclusions

Eating foods rich in probiotics is the best way to make sure you’re keeping your gut flora healthy, however, people with dietary restrictions may need to supplement. When choosing a probiotic supplement, just make sure it contains high quality cultures and bacterial cultures that would naturally be found in the human intestines.

12 Comments

  1. MonG

    Sometimes diet restrictions can pose a problem- I never thought that yogurt would not agree with me!There are some things out of this list that I found very helpful- if I can’t find them, I use a good probiotic supplement.

    Reply
  2. SueK24

    Ah…Kimchi (the Korean kind)…

    Reply
  3. DR. OMRAN TURBI

    SUPPLEMENT FOODS CONTAINING PROBIOTICS AND PREBIOTICS ARE GOOD AND VERY IMPORTANT FOR PATIENT HAVING CRUCIAL PROBLEMSIN IN THIER DIGEST TUBE,IHAVE CONDUCTED MORE THAN RESEARCH AND WE CAMEUP WITH GOOD RESULTS ,IWAS AMAZED BY MY END RESULTS OUTCOME WHICH IWOULD LIKE IF I CANPPUBLISH THIS ARTICLES.IN ONE OF YOUR JORNALS

    DR, OMRAN TURBI

    Reply
  4. Callie Durbrow

    I just take the probiotic pills about twice a week because I can’t stand yogurt…I really thought that was my only option!

    Reply
  5. Spectra

    No need to jump down my throat–I was just curious. It’s a fun project and a good way to use cabbage that you grow in the garden. It keeps in the fridge for weeks–kind of like pickles.

    Reply
  6. jon

    Probiotics are AWESOME, but most of the ones you buy (and pay good money for) only get absorbed into your body on minimal levels. Say you pay $100 for a good probiotic, your body is only absorbing like $3 worth of it into your system.

    Reply
  7. NEMO

    *NEMO

    Reply
  8. NE

    Oh, and Spectra, you’ll note, he edited his original.

    Reply
  9. NEMO

    Was I not clear that I was writing about the “manufacturing process”? Did I not use the words “commercially available” in my post? What part of what I said are you confused about?

    Reply
  10. Spectra

    NEMO–have you ever made your own sauerkraut? I’ve done it before and it’s fantastic–it retains all the probiotic benefits because you don’t pasteurize it. All you do is soak cabbage in a salty brine for a few weeks and rinse it a bit before you eat it.

    Reply
  11. Spectra

    Although foods that contain probiotics are really important for a healthy immune system, you can’t forget the importance of prebiotic foods as well. Many of the bacteria species in your gut thrive on foods with a lot of cellulose–fruits, veggies, etc. and break them down in your guts to produce vitamin K. It’s important to make sure you get plenty of fruits and veggies in addition to the foods in your list.

    Reply
  12. NEMO

    Oh dear.

    You need to make some edits.

    Kefir is made from any type milk, not only goat milk.

    Kefir isn’t made with “grain”, it is fermented with kefir grains that are bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars, and this symbiotic matrix forms “grains” that resemble cauliflower.

    Tempeh is made from soybeans, soybeans are not a “grain” they’re a legume.

    Sauerkraut, Pickles, Miso paste, etc. are theoretically probiotic, but few bacteria survive the manufacturing process, and you need a lot of live bacteria to make it through to the intestines.

    Some varieties of sour cream *may* have probiotics, but again commercial processing destroys most, thus what you’ll find in the supermarket dairy case isn’t likely to have any benefit.

    Cottage cheese does NOT naturally contain probiotics as part of the process to make it – live cultures need to be added either to the milk at the start of the process or to the cream at the end of the process. Virtually no manufacturers add the bacteria at either step in the US.

    Most fermented cabbage products commercially available have been pasteurized; such treatment with heat will destroy any friendly bacteria, so you knock off the saurkraut and kimchi from your list too.

    Kimchi also has two type – Korean and Japanese – the Japanese style kimchi never has probiotics due to how it is made.

    Reply