Gut Check: Probiotic Food Sources

By Nicole Hopping November 15, 2012 No Comments

Flickr cc: bluewaikiki

We’ve all heard the seemingly endless health claims associated with probiotics. We know they’re good for us, but how can we get more probiotic foods in our diet? Look no further—we’ve created a cut and dry list of probiotic and prebiotic foods, as well as foods known to aid digestion.

Let’s start with a review of the basics before we jump to the list though. Probiotics are microorganisms, also known as “good bacteria,” that are beneficial to their host (you), if present in high enough amounts. The two most common types are lactic acid and bifidobacteria, although many other strains exist as well.  Lactic acid and bifidobacteria are commonly found in fermented foods and dairy products with active and live cultures.

Prebiotics are microorganisms that feed the probiotics already present in your gut. Needless to say, prebiotics are almost as important to digestive health as probiotics.

Probiotic Foods

Kimchi

Kombucha tea

Miso soup

Pickles

Sauerkraut—Opt for unpasteurized varieties, as pasteurization kills some of the good bacteria

Tempeh/Natto (fermented soybeans)

Sourdough bread made with lactobacilli

Microalgae (Ocean-based, edible plants like spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae)

Acidophilus milk

Soft cheese

Yogurt with live and active cultures

Kefir (A mixture of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains)

 

Prebiotic foods

Asparagus

Bananas

Honey

Legumes

Maple syrup

Oats

Red wine

 

Foods That Aid Digestion  

Bananas

Ginger

Pineapple

High fiber foods (when consumed with ample amounts of water)

 

Foods That Reduce Bloating

The following foods are all high in potassium—a mineral that counteracts the action of sodium. As sodium is often the culprit behind bloating, these foods can help ease symptoms.

Apricot

Avocado

Bananas

Cantaloupe

Cocoa

Figs

Melon

Papaya

Peanuts

Pears

Pineapple

Potatoes (all)

Pumpkin

 

Spices & Herbs That Reduce Bloating

Anise

Basil

Caraway seeds

Chamomile

Cinnamon

Fennel seeds

Ginger

Parsley

Peppermint

Thyme

 

With the myriad of probiotic dietary sources and foods that naturally support digestion, incorporating gut-friendly foods is easier than ever. Experiment with some of your favorites and let us know how it goes!

 

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