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12 Foods High In Probiotics You Should Add To Your Diet Get your daily dose of good bacteria.

By on December 21, 2021 0 66 Views

You’re often told to trust your gut when it comes to making a tough decision, but one move that doesn’t require any second thoughts or pros and cons lists is the choice to look after your gut.

One of the ways that your digestive system is able to handle all that it does is by playing host to a variety of bacteria, and you’ve probably already heard of one type: Probiotics.

Probiotics are “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host,” according to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP). Yep, that’s it.

If that seems a little vague though, it’s because research on how exactly probiotics support the gut, how much or what bacteria a food should contain for you to tap into the health benefits, and how well they are able to survive digestion, is still ongoing, explains Gena Hamshaw, RD, and author of The Full Helping blog.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start incorporating them into your meals, since the general consensus is that they do support a healthy gut. Studies have already shown that they can lead to better digestion, more energy, clearer skin, and even a stronger immune system. Not bad, eh?

While you can get these little digestive-boosting bacteria from supplements, there are also plenty of foods that contain naturally occurring probiotics. The heavy hitter in this stadium? Fermented foods.

“Fermented foods have been part of cuisines from around the world for centuries,” Hamshaw says. “Many of them are very wholesome and rich in nutrients. This includes fiber, which is associated with digestive health. And the live microorganisms they contain may act as probiotics.” Fermented foods are those that have gone through a process where bacteria has converted the food’s carbs into alcohol or organic acids.

There’s no particular daily recommended amount of probiotics, Hamshaw says, but she suggests “doubling down on fermented foods during or after time periods in which normal intestinal microbiota have been disrupted. This could include after a round of antibiotics or a period of traveler’s diarrhea.”

Luckily, there are a ton of different foods that can help you get your good bacteria fix. Here, 12 probiotic foods you should add to your diet:

1. Sauerkraut

Swap the ketchup and mustard for sauerkraut at your next cookout. Made from fermented cabbage, this dish is great as a topping for hotdogs and as an accompaniment to barbecue.

One shopping tip from Hamshaw is to steer clear of the canned food aisles and look for sauerkraut and other fermented foods in the refrigerated section. “Shelf-stable sauerkraut or pickled vegetables may have undergone processes to extend shelf life that kill their live organisms,” she explains.

Per cup serving: 27 calories, 0.2 g fat (0 g sat fat), 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 939 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 1 g protein.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt is likely the first food that you think of when you hear the word “probiotics,” and to tap into its full potential, look for brands that say “live active cultures” on the label. While you’re looking at that label, Hamshaw also recommends that you check for added sweeteners if you want to avoid the extra sugar.

Per 7 oz serving, lowfat Greek yogurt: 146 calories, 3.84 g fat (2.46 g sat fat), 7.88 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 68 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 19.9 g protein.

3. Natto

Per 1 cup serving: 369 calories, 19.2 g fat (2.8 g sat fat), 22.2 g carbohydrates, 8.5 g sugar, 12.2 mg sodium, 9.45 g fiber, 34 g protein.

4. Olives

Whether you eat them as part of a charcuterie board or as a martini garnish, olives are a good source of probiotic bacteria. Plus, Italian researchers found that Sicilian green olives can almost act like an antioxidant when eaten regularly, reducing inflammation.

Per 100 g serving: 145 calories, 15.3 g fat (2 g sat fat), 3.84 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 1560 mg sodium, 3.3 g fiber, 1 g protein.

5. Kombucha

This fermented tea is packed with beneficial bacteria and B vitamins—and it aids digestion, so it can help you de-bloat, too. If you’re not into the strong, briny taste, kombucha is just one of several probiotic drinks out there on the market.

Per 8 oz serving (Health-Aide brand): 35 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 7 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.

6. Apple cider vinegar

ACV has a lot of purported health benefits (some legit, some not so much), but it really does contain probiotics. Just don’t drink it in straight shots because it’s so acidic—it’s better paired with other foods.

Per tablespoon serving: 3 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 0.14 carbohydrates, 0.06 g sugar, 1 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.

7. Kimchi

Pile this condiment on all your sandwiches and rice dishes; it’s made from cabbage fermented with strains of beneficial lactic acid bacteria, says Jackie Newgent, RD. As an added bonus, many fermented vegetables have a longer shelf life than fresh ones.

Per cup serving: 22.5 calories, .75 g fat (0 g sat fat), 3.6 g carbohydrates, 1.59 g sugar, 747 mg sodium, 2.4 g fiber, 1 g protein.

8. Pickles

Pickles are another fermented food packed with probiotics (and they’re more palatable than sauerkraut, if that’s not your thing). Just watch out for the sodium.

Per large pickle: 16 calories, 0.4 g fat (0 g sat fat), 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 1092 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 0.7 g protein.

9. Miso

This fermented soybean-based product is rich in probiotics because it’s made by mixing cooked soybeans with a starter culture (bacteria deliberately used to start fermentation), says Newgent. So go ahead, order that miso soup the next time you go out for sushi.

Per tablespoon (paste): 34 calories, 1 g fat (0 g sat fat), 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 634 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.

10. Kefir

If you’re a big fan of yogurt, but want to enjoy something more travel-friendly, try probiotic-rich kefir (an Icelandic yogurt drink), says Newgent. The tart liquid is a great way to add more protein to your morning smoothie.

Per cup serving (plain, low-fat): 102 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.6 g sat fat), 97 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrates, 11 g of sugar, 0 g fiber, 9 g protein

11. Tempeh

The vegetarian meat alternative is actually fermented soy—making it a sneaky source of probiotics. Plus, it has a whopping 20 grams of protein (yes, you read that right) per serving.

Per 100 gram serving: 195 calories, 11 g fat (3 g sat fat), 8 g carbohydrates, 14 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 20 g protein.

12. Fermented cheeses

Some cheeses, such as Gouda, cheddar, and Swiss, are made with lactic acid bacteria, says Newgent. While the probiotic content does vary, it can’t hurt to ask the person behind the counter at your local cheese shop to point you in the direction of a great Gouda.

Per 1 ounce serving (Gouda): 101 calories, 8 g fat (5 g sat fat), 0.6 g carbohydrates, 232 mg sodium, 0.6 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 7 g protein.

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