Probiotics are a combination of yeast and live bacteria cultures that live in the body. There are foods that you can consume to increase production of these live bacteria to promote good health.
The topic of probiotics is usually not brought up when people talk of a healthy diet. They often focus on clean eating and nutritious foods without realizing that there are several probiotics foods they should be consuming to improve their gut health.
1. Probiotics and prebiotics
A common misconception is that probiotics and prebiotics are the same thing. They’re not. As mentioned earlier, probiotics are live bacteria. Prebiotics, however, are plant fiber that encourage the growth of probiotics.
In other words, you need to consume probiotics to get an ‘infusion’ of healthy bacteria in your system. Once you do that, you should consume prebiotics so that the good bacteria in your body can multiply.
Probiotics are adversely affected by stomach acids and are sensitive to heat. Prebiotics are not affected by either. Common prebiotic foods are: garlic, bananas, leeks, chicory root, onions, leafy greens, asparagus, jicama, etc.
2. Probiotic foods
The most common probiotic foods are: sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, kefir, yoghurt, kombucha, sourdough bread, apple cider vinegar, etc.
The foods mentioned above are rich in probiotics and if you stuck to the list above, you’d be fine. There are drinks sold in stores that you can consume too. Sometimes, drinking these drinks is more palatable than trying to eat kimchi or swallowing water mixed with apple cider vinegar.
Another way to get probiotics in your system will be to mix it into your foods. For example, mixing yogurt in your salad dressings is an easy way to consume probiotics.
Or you could make protein shakes with buttermilk instead of regular milk.
There are no hard and fast rules here. As long as you get some probiotics in your system, you should be fine.
3. Benefits of probiotics
Your health will benefit in several ways if you regularly consume foods rich in probiotics. The biggest benefit is good gut health.
The processed foods that most people consume daily leads to inflammation and poor gut health. This leads to problems such as leaky gut syndrome and other digestion issues.
Probiotics will help to remedy these problems. Of course, you’ll also need to cut down your intake of detrimental foods.
Consuming probiotics will help to boost your immune system too. Many of the probiotics foods are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants which will help to ward off the common cold.
Probiotics can help lift your moods too. When your gut health is good, the serotonin levels in your body will be higher and you’ll be less likely to sink into depression or feel down.
Besides these benefits, probiotics aids with weight management too. Once your gut health is good, digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea will end. Your cholesterol levels will drop and your heart health will improve.
These benefits will give you more than enough reasons to include probiotics foods in your diet. If you ate some yogurt twice or three times a week, you’d have enough probiotics in your system to function optimally. It’s really that easy.