8 probiotic foods to improve your health

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in sufficient quantities, support the proper functioning of your body. You can find them in the form of a supplement or in different foods. Its consumption could support digestive health and strengthen the immune system, even improve the appearance of the skin. They are generally considered safe, but if you have any conditions, consult a specialist first.

Although there is a wide variety of foods rich in probiotics, these are some of the most popular and recommended by experts, as well as typical in certain countries. Luckily, nowadays they are found in many parts of the world and you can accompany them in your main meals. They are also great for snacks. Remember that if you don’t like the options then take advantage of its benefits with supplements.

1-Yogurt

It is one of the most popular sources, it also has a pleasant taste and is more easily found. It is made from milk that has been fermented by good bacteria, especially lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. However, not all types of yogurt contain probiotics, you should make sure to choose the one with live or active cultures, in the same way it is key to avoid high percentages of added sugar.

Consuming good yogurt, which is of nutritional quality, is associated with better bone health, can also be beneficial for people with high blood pressure and support digestive health. On the other hand there are cheeses, which although they are fermented does not mean that they do have probiotics and you should look for live cultures on the labels. Some good options to include are gouda, cheddar, mozzarella, and cottage cheese.

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2-Chucrut

It consists of cabbage that is well grated and is fermented by lactic acid bacteria. Its flavor tends to be bitter and salty, as well as it can keep for months if you keep it in an airtight container. In addition to the probiotic effects, it provides fiber, vitamins B, C and K, minerals such as sodium, iron and manganese. It even contains antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that support eye health. Choose an unpasteurized sauerkraut, as it kills the beneficial bacteria your body needs, you can eat it as a side dish or on top of hot dogs.

3-Tempeh

It is a fermented soy product. It is characterized by being firm, having a combination of flavor between nutty and earthy. It comes from Indonesia, but it is very popular in different parts as a substitute for meat, this is thanks to the contribution of protein and minerals. It is an excellent option for vegetarians and anyone who wants to take advantage of the probiotic content and thus stay healthy in the short and long term.

4-Kefir

It is a drink that is made by adding kefir grains to cow’s or goat’s milk. These grains are cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast, having the shape of a cauliflower. Its consumption is related to bone health, solving digestive problems and preventing infections. In addition, it is considered a better source of probiotics than yogurt and is most often tolerated by people who have problems with lactose.

5-Natto

This is another fermented soy product staple of Japanese cuisine and contains the bacterial strain called Bacillus subtilis. It is most often served with rice for breakfast, it has a slimy texture and a strong smell. It stands out for being a source of protein and vitamin K, important for bone and cardiovascular health. Some of the studies claim that its consumption could help prevent osteoporosis and heart attacks.

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6-Pickles

These are pickled cucumbers in a solution of water and salt. They are left to ferment for some time while the bacteria present naturally are used, this process makes them bitter. It is a good source of probiotics to improve digestive health, they contain vitamin K and are low in calories. However, you must remember that pickles are high in sodium and those with vinegar do not have live cultures.

7-Kimchi

This is a food of Korean culture where cabbage is the main ingredient, but it can be prepared with other vegetables. It is seasoned with red chili flakes, ginger, garlic, chives, and salt. This dish contains Lactobacillus kimchi bacteria as well as other lactic acid bacteria that promote digestive health. It can also contain various vitamins and minerals, it is a good garnish as it is fermented and spicy.

8-Miso

This is a Japanese seasoning made from soybeans fermented with salt and a mushroom called Koji, although it can be prepared by mixing soybeans with barley, rye, and rice. It is a popular ingredient in soup and comes in various colors. It contains protein, vitamins, fiber and studies link it with a lower risk of breast cancer, as well as a cardiovascular accident. Another probiotic drink to try is Kombucha.

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