Probiotics! Gut health! Digestion! These are terms we hear now that didn’t get much attention in the past. We can’t go anywhere these days without seeing or hearing them somewhere, and for good reason because 14.8 million American adults are diagnosed with digestive diseases annually.
Varying strains from the Bifidobacterium genus, the Lactobacillus genus, and specifically the Streptococcus thermophilus strain, are showing to provide gut health benefits ranging from aiding in digestion of lactose (for the lactose intolerant) to affecting mood. The emerging science of these helpful and healthful microbes can provide help for many of us, digestive diseases or not.
Eat these 5 foods to supercharge your gut health
When talking probiotics and cheese, what better example is there than Swiss. With visible proof that bacteria played a part in its creation (the holes!), this fermented food can improve gut health. It contains strains of Lactobacillus and Streptococcus thermophilus. This is not to be confused with other strains of Streptococcus that can be harmful to us. This one is good. Try Swiss cheese in this spinach, mushroom, and cheese quiche.
Sauerkraut is a fermented food made solely from shredded cabbage, a member of the leafy greens family. With multiple strains of Lactobacillus probiotics, you can be on your way to restore gut health. Beware, not all sauerkraut’s the same. Heavy processing can destroy any live cultures. Look for terms like “unpasteurized” or “alive” on the label to ensure you’re getting live probiotics. Try sauerkraut in this slow cooker pork roast and sauerkraut recipe.
Greek yogurt has been in the healthy food game for some time now, originally for its high protein content. It also contains helpful probiotics. This fermented food provides strains of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Streptococcus thermophilus. Check the labels for phrases like “live active cultures” to ensure probiotics are present. Plain Greek yogurt can be a versatile ingredient replacing common ingredients like sour cream and also provides a good amount of potassium. Try Greek yogurt in this skinny caramelized onion dip.
Fermented cabbage is what mainly makes up kimchi. Sometimes it can include other vegetables. Some have even made kimchi with beets. It’s commonly seasoned with garlic, ginger, and chili powder. Kimchi is rich in strains of Lactobacillus as well as fiber which can help improve gut health. Like sauerkraut, check the label to know whether probiotics are present. Try kimchi with this kimchi beef stew recipe in the pressure cooker.
Kombucha has been rising in popularity. It’s a fermented tea touted for its probiotic powers. It’s believed to restore gut health. Kombucha can contain Lactobacillus strains, among plenty others. Watch out as some varieties will contain higher amounts of sugar. If drinking it as-is gets boring, try kombucha as a cocktail mixer in this kombucha dark and stormy.
Do you eat any of these foods on a regular basis? If so, which ones? Do you eat any other probiotic foods for their health benefits? Please share in the comments!