Top 3 Probiotic Foods
Probiotics are live, beneficial microorganisms that may provide the host with benefits when taken in enough quantities. You’ll find these helpful bacteria in high-quality probiotic supplements like Kibow Flora™ and in fermented foods. And while we recommend using a probiotic supplement, these foods can give you an extra probiotic boost.
What is Fermentation?
Fermentation is an ancient and useful practice that predates 2400 BCE! Without fermentation, humans would have desperately struggled to preserve food products and, most likely, to survive. (1) During the process, microorganisms are given free rein to consume carbohydrates and reproduce without any interference from boiling or oxygen. They consume carbs, producing alcohol and acids which preserve the food. They also make the food more nutritious! (2)
Kefir is a fermented milk product. Unlike yogurt, which uses bacteria fermentation in milk and pasteurization by heat, kefir uses “kefir grains.” Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeast fermentation and notably gluten-free. They are combined with the milk product and allowed to sit and ferment in a warm area.
Some health benefits include blood sugar regulation, improved gut health, and may even decrease lactose intolerance. (3)
2. Fermented Vegetables (Pickles, Kimchi, Sauerkraut)
Traditionally fermented vegetables are prepared with salt or brine (saltwater solution) and allowed to sit. During this time, the bacteria consume carbohydrates and produce high levels of lactic and acetic acid. These acids naturally preserve food and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. No heat is used in this process, which is imperative as heat kills off the probiotic bacteria.
Nontraditionally, fermented foods, like some modern pickles, are preserved with salt and pasteurized (heated to kill bacteria). Because the good bacteria are killed along with the bad, these types of pickles are not naturally probiotic. (1)
Kombucha is a fermented green tea or black tea product. Colonies of bacteria and yeast, known as SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), are added to sweetened tea and allowed to sit. After several weeks, the liquid is strained and bottled. (4)
When looking to purchase kombucha, be mindful of the nutritional label. Too much added sugar detracts from any possible health benefits of the drink.
Fermented foods can be a good source of probiotics and healthy food items; however, many probiotics will not survive their trip through the digestive system. Using a probiotic protected by an acid-resistant capsule is a more reliable way to increase beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Always speak with your healthcare provider before changing your diet.
1. Behera, S., Sheikha, A., Hammami, R., & Kumar, A. (2020, April 29). Traditionally fermented pickles: How the microbial diversity associated with their nutritional and health benefits? Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S175646462030195X
2. What Is Fermentation? Learn About the 3 Different Types of Fermentation and 6 Tips For Homemade Fermentation – 2020. (2019). Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-fermentation-learn-about-the-3-different-types-of-fermentation-and-6-tips-for-homemade-fermentation
3. Ware, M., RDN, LD. (2017). Kefir: Benefits and risks (N. Butler RD, LD, Ed.). Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318353
4. Krietsch, B. (2019, February 11). Is Kombucha Healthy? Here’s What Experts Say. Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://time.com/5516472/is-kombucha-healthy/