Probiotics are generally live bacteria with significant benefits for human physiology, including better digestion, improved heart health, better mental health, and reduced severity of allergic reactions, to name a few. Supplements are often the go-to source for these, but there are many foods available to you that also pack a nice serving of probiotics. It is the latter part that we are interested in today as we bring you a lineup of the most healthy probiotic foods.
If you are a familiar with Japanese tradition, you’ve probably heard of Miso which is a popular native seasoning derived from a blend of rice, rye, and barley to add to the primary ingredient of soy beans. Miso is one of the healthy probiotic foods that is filled with fiber and vitamins, and according to one study, it can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Another delicacy from the Asian recipe book, this Korean staple brings together a plethora of fermented vegetables, but mostly cabbage. It’s usually paired with spicy seasonings including ginger, garlic, and red chili pepper and is comprised of various lactic bacteria with substantiated digestive benefits. Besides that, Kimchi is chock full of iron, vitamins, and minerals.
Yogurt is a mainstay item across various probiotic lists as it’s easily one of the best food sources, if not the best, in this regard. It’s typically imbued with the right kind of bacteria, i.e., bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria but that’s not always the case for all types of yogurt. Make sure you pick out one with live cultures where the bacteria have not been harmed during processing.
Much like the former, kefir is a fermented milk product derivative but with a special secret ingredient called kefir grains. Contrary to their name, kefir grains aren’t cereals and instead have a puffy white exterior that reminds you of cauliflower, but they are, in reality, cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria. Kefir grains are combined with goat or cow milk to realize probiotics which research has shown to be more potent than those of yogurt.
It seems Asia is the cradle of all things probiotic as, yet another regional culinary highlight also makes the list for its friendly bacteria. Kombucha is a lightly effervescent tea, and a partially alcoholic beverage as well, and there is sufficient reason to believe it has adept probiotic properties.
Rounding off our list is Natto, a Japanese staple that is a lot like Miso in that it is also born from the fermentation of soy beans. Its intense flavor and characteristic smell instantly set it apart, as does its slimy texture. It’s beneficial for cardiovascular well-being and bone development thanks to its vitamin K2 composition.