In Dietary, Health

It’s not simply a foodie fad. Eating probiotic foods is a smart way to keep your gut happy. We’re still in the process of learning how our gut health affects us. However, early information suggests that it may play a part in almost every aspect of our lives.

From how our immune system works to how we feel, the levels of bacteria in our gut may hold the answer to many health concerns. Recent reports have even linked the bacteria in the gut to brain functions. The theory is that having the ‘right’ bacteria could help ease mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

With that in mind, boosting your probiotic intake could be one of the greatest things that you do for your health and wellness. So, where should you start? While there are supplements on the market, a more natural way to get this right is to add probiotic foods to your diet. Here are some that you may wish to try.

1. Kimchi

This Asian-inspired side dish could be more beneficial than most of us realise. Usually containing cabbage, radishes, and other vegetables, the fermented recipe offers a variety of health benefits. You can actually make plant-based kimchi at home and it’s simpler than you might imagine. What’s more, this plant-based alternative offers the same probiotic benefits as standard kimchi (which sometimes contains fish sauce).

2. Sauerkraut

Similar to kimchi, sauerkraut contains shredded cabbage along with lactic acid bacteria. You can either make your own plant-based version of this side dish at home or look for a commercial product that you enjoy. Of course, you need to check the ingredients of the sauerkraut before you buy it to check that it is 100% plant-based. You should also opt for an unpasteurised product which will contain live bacteria.

3. Kombucha

Fermented with both yeast and bacteria, kombucha is the superfood drink that’s on everybody’s lips at the moment. The black or green tea drink has grown in popularity and people are starting to realise that it could have some astounding health benefits. While there’s not a lot of research in this area right now, the fact that this tea is fermented and contains live organisms means that it is likely to have probiotic advantages.

4. Tempeh

If you’ve heard anything about tempeh, it’s that it makes a somewhat convincing meat substitute. However, there’s more to this product than meets the eye. The fermented soybean means that it’s high in protein as well as offering probiotic benefits. As though that weren’t enough to pique your interest, research shows that the product is also high in vitamin B12. If you’ve yet to try this one, it might be time to give it a go.

5. Pickles

Love them or hate them, pickles are an effective probiotic source. Most often, cucumbers are pickled in a salt and water concoction. Over time, the fermentation process in the lactic acid bacteria means that these probiotic snacks are brimming with possible benefits. However, it’s important to remember that these things are high in sodium (or salt), which means that you shouldn’t eat them all the time.

6. Soy milk

Soy milk is one of the most nutritious plant-based milk alternatives, but did you know that it also has probiotic benefits? Studies suggest that probiotic soy milk can help patients with kidney disease and type 2 diabetes as well. While soy milk already has probiotics, you can also get products that have added cultures as well. It’s worth checking out what you can find online and in the supermarkets as well.

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