Top 4 Probiotic Foods

Given the present unhealthy Western dietary pattern, our gut microbial community is prone to perturbations. This makes the addition of probiotics, whether taken in the form of supplements or ingested as foods, vastly beneficial.

In this post, we’ll highlight the top 4 probiotic-rich foods that you should consider supplementing to your dietary regime.

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is the most enriched source of probiotics. It contains live active cultures of bacteria, preferably Lactobacilli and Streptococcus thermophilus. These bacteria are used to ferment fresh milk and/or cream that results in the production of yogurt. Yogurt cultures are scientifically documented to boost gut health, immune function, and mental abilities. They can hasten your sluggish bowel movements or otherwise, they tend to slow down the intestinal peristalsis in diarrhea. To be brief, they regulate your bowel function.

The latest research conducted by the Iranian experts revealed a significant improvement in various mental health parameters, including depression, anxiety, and stress after a 6 week trial of probiotic yogurt consumption. [1] This beneficial effect of yogurt can be attributed to the microbiota-gut-brain connection.

In another study published in the Ailment Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the subjects experiencing IBS demonstrated positive health effects after ingesting fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium. [2]

2. Kimchi

Kimchi is one of the traditional cornerstones of Korean medicine. It is a vegetable probiotic food manufactured by fermenting vegetables with lactobacilli. Koreans serve kimchi with rice usually at every meal. This probiotic-loaded food possesses infinite advantageous, [3] some of which are as follows:
  • Kimchi accelerates the bowel movements and keeps constipation at bay
  • It helps in blasting the excess body fat and fight obesity
  • It is shown to prevent cancer
  • It promotes brain health, immune function, and skin vitality

3. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk beverage produced by the action of bacteria and yeasts (occurring in tiny gelatinous grains) on milk proteins. Although yogurt is the most abundant source of probiotics, higher concentrations of a variety of healthy probiotic species in kefir render it as a relatively healthier choice. Kefir fends off disease-causing bacteria from the intestine while restoring the good gut microbes. This yogurt-like drink lessens inflammation, lowers cholesterol levels, and serves as an essential source of calcium and vitamin D for people with lactose intolerance. [4]

4. Kombucha

Kombucha (KBC) is a sweetened black or green tea manufactured by fermenting tea with a symbiotic colony of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. This delectable probiotic brew exhibits several health benefits. Apart from its gut replenishing (with friendly bacteria) qualities, KBC fuels the production of a potent natural detoxifier called glucuronic acid. Glucuronic acid is a precursor of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for gum and skin health. Moreover, KBC has anti-bacterial properties against potentially harmful microbes, like Listeria monocytogenes and E.coli to name a few.

Also recognized is KBC’s ability to scavenge the highly inert cellular damage-promoting ions called free radicals. It is, therefore, effective against plaque formation in the arteries and heart diseases. The production of vitamin C, vitamin B, and DSL attributes to these antioxidant properties of KBC. [5]

Written by:
Dr. Rasheed Huma

References

    1. Mohammadi AA, Jazayeri S, Khosravi-Darani K et al. The effects of probiotics on mental health and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in petrochemical workers. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2016;19(9):387-395.
    2. Guyonnet D, Chassany O, Ducrotte P et al. Effect of a fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173 010 on the health-related quality of life and symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome in adults in primary care: a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007;26(3):475-86.
    3. Patra JK, Das G, Paramithiotis S, Shin H-S. Kimchi and Other Widely Consumed Traditional Fermented Foods of Korea: A Review. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2016;7:1493. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.01493.
    4. De Oliveira Leite AM, Miguel MAL, Peixoto RS, Rosado AS, Silva JT, Paschoalin VMF. Microbiological, technological and therapeutic properties of kefir: a natural probiotic beverage. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology. 2013;44(2):341-349. doi:10.1590/S1517-83822013000200001.
Nguyen NK, Dong NTN, Nguyen HT, Le PH. Lactic acid bacteria: promising supplements for enhancing the biological activities of kombucha. SpringerPlus. 2015;4:91. doi:10.1186/s40064-015-0872-3.

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