Need to replenish your good bacteria (probiotics) but don’t know how? Below we will explain what a probiotic is and how you can get all the good bacteria you body needs, from natural food sources.
What are probiotics?
A probiotic is filled with “good” bacteria, as oppose to the bad bacteria that anti-biotics aim to get rid of. Probiotics encourage a healthy digestive system. They are great for producing vitamins, reducing IBS symptoms, repairing gut lining, restricting bad bacteria overgrowth and increasing the resistance to infections. Not all probiotics are the same as there are different strains, which are beneficial in different ways. Some of these different good bacteria strains are listed in the food sources below.
Food sources that host good bacteria:
Yoghurt – The most commonly known probiotic are live-cultured yoghurts which are a great probiotic source. Look for brands which contain lactobacillus and acidopholus. Do not buy the sugary, high fructose, artificial flavoured brand yoghurt. There are DAIRY-FREE Yoghurt options, such as coconut and nut yoghurts, which are high in probiotics; acidopholus, bifudus, bulgaricus and thermophillus.
Kefir – It is similar to yoghurt and is high in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria. Kefir can either be bought already made/cultured or it can be made at home. There can be made with a raw milk (found in your health food store) and kefir satchels or they can be made in a water base (if you are looking for a DAIRY-FREE option). If you are buying the already made kefir, look for a organic brand in your health food store or market.
Sauerkraut – Sauerkraut is a probiotic-rich fermented cabbage, high in live cultures, as well as Vitamins A, B, C and E.
Miso Soup – Miso is made from fermented Rye, beans, rice or barley. A quick probiotic soup can be made by adding miso to hot water. Commonly used in Japanese cuisine as a digestive regulator, miso is full of lactobilli and bifidus Bacteria.
Sour Pickles – Sour pickles are not your usual supermarket pickles which use vinegar for the pickling process. Sour pickles use unrefined sea salt and clean/filtered (un-chlorinated) water, which encourages the good bacteria. These are the type of pickles people love to make at home, and are easy to make!
Kombucha Tea – Kombucha Tea originates in Russia and China, as a health tonic. This tea contains a high content of bacteria which are healthy for the gut.
Other, non food sources of probiotic, come in a supplemented, sometimes in a powder or capsules. If you go to your Health Food Store and many Pharmacies, you can find these in the refrigerated section (It’s always preferable to purchase the pro-biotics that are refrigerated instead of the room temperature containers that are sitting on the shelves). If you need advice on the different types of probiotics sold, ask your healthcare practitioner as you may be recommended a certain type for specific needs. There are different strains, as mentioned before, and some are more beneficial to certain people.
It is also good to “mix it up a little” and consume different types of probiotics, so that you do not have an over-growth of a small group of strains. It’s good to have a balance of different good bacterium.