The old saying “you are what you eat” has never been truer than when it comes to your digestive health.
Since the majority of our immune system is directly linked to how healthy our digestive system is, it is important to our overall well-being that we take small steps each day to support our gut.
One way to do that is by adding more probiotics to our diet, either from the foods we eat or by taking a daily supplement. These “friendly” bacteria make their way into our digestive system where they replace good bacteria we’ve lost and help balance out the bad bacteria caused by poor diets, stress and environmental factors.
“It’s a balancing act of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria to support a healthy digestive and immune system,” said Kristin Morris, senior research scientist for Nutrilite™ supplements.
“To better support gut health, you might try incorporating more fermented foods into your diet, which include probiotics, living microorganisms—essentially the ‘good’ bacteria—to help maintain good digestive health.”
So which foods are fermented and deliver those probiotic benefits? We’ve got a list. Some of these may already be in your refrigerator, but others may be a new adventure for you. Don’t be afraid; you may just find your new favorite food! At the very least your digestive health will thank you for trying.
Yogurt is made from milk that has been fermented. The yogurt family of products has expanded a lot in recent years. There are single-serving cups, family-size tubs and recipes that range from thick, protein-rich Greek styles to Icelandic skyrs.
When picking one, read the label to ensure it is low in sugar and lists at least a few different strains of live bacteria cultures. A dairy product, yogurt is also a good source of calcium.
While this seems like an easy add to your diet, it may prove a challenge. Only pickles that are fermented in salt water will provide the probiotics you’re seeking.
Most large brands sold in grocery stores are simply preserved in vinegar and seasoning and contain no probiotics. You’ll find fermented pickles in the refrigerator section and an absence of vinegar on the ingredients list.
If you don’t see it at your neighborhood market, your best bet may be health food stores or other specialty grocers.
Sauerkraut, made from cabbage, is another dish you’re likely familiar with, but it faces the same challenges as pickles. Shelf-stable sauerkraut in a jar or can will not have the probiotics you’re looking for.
Head to the refrigerator section and read the labels. Make sure it’s unpasteurized and vinegar-free. Some labels might tout the presence of “live cultures.”
Sauerkraut is great served as a side dish, a topping for sausages or brats, just the right kick for a classic Reuben sandwich, or eaten on its own like a warm salad or soup.
Miso is a salty paste made of fermented soybeans and other seasonings. It’s a versatile ingredient often used in soup, salad dressing, sauces and a variety Japanese dishes.
It’s also a good source of protein and fiber. Choose quality miso from the refrigerated section of the store and don’t add it to cooked dishes too early. Cooking miso, such as adding to boiling soup, will kill the probiotics.
Wait until it’s off the heat and add it in gradually.
Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea that has become so popular you can find bottles of it in mainstream grocery stores and even kombucha bars with the tea on tap in your trendy neighborhoods.
Check the labels for indications of live probiotics and to ensure it is unpasteurized.
People can even brew their own at home by adding certain bacteria, sugar and yeast to the tea and allowing it to ferment. The process results in the growth of a “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast,” or SCOBY, which can be used to make new kombucha.
This fermented soybean product is similar to tofu, but the fermentation adds probiotics. Many people say it has a nutty flavor.
It’s high in protein and typically served up in a patty and can be used as a meat substitute in almost any recipe. You can typically find it in the refrigerated or frozen food section of your store.
This fermented, tangy milk drink gets its probiotic punch from kefir grains, which consist of lactic acid bacteria and yeast. The grains are added to goat or cow milk for a drink that many say tastes like yogurt.
You can drink it on its own, use it in smoothies or other blended drinks, or include it in dressings and dips.
Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut in that it is fermented cabbage, but it often uses a different variety of cabbage (or other vegetables) and has a unique spice and seasoning blend.
Again, head to the refrigerated section and read the label: Look for unpasteurized, naturally fermented or a reference to live cultures.
Kimchi is great as a side dish or to add some zing on top of a burger or salad.
Sourdough bread begins with a sourdough starter—a mixture of water and flour that is allowed to ferment. It replaces yeast in traditional bread recipes.
That starter also provides probiotics. But again, check your labels. Many shelf-stable brands of sourdough at your local grocery use an alternative method that does not include the probiotic benefits.
Your local baker might have better options.
Add a daily probiotic supplement
Although the above list provides several options for introducing probiotics into your diet, it’s still difficult to include them every day and ensure you’re getting enough.
If you are looking for a regular way to support a healthy digestive tract, consider a dietary supplement like Nutrilite™ Balance Within™ Probiotic†. This easy-to-use probiotic comes in slim packets you pour right on your tongue or sprinkle onto cold foods or beverages. Just one packet provides the same amount of probiotics as 12 servings of kombucha.
Nutrilite Balance Within™ features an exclusive blend of five probiotic strains that are tough enough to survive the journey through the stomach and reach your gut alive and able to do their job.
By taking a daily supplement and adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet, you’ll be sending even more good guys where they belong.
Want to learn more about Nutrilite™ Balance Within™ Probiotic and other Nutrilite™ supplements? Visit the website for Amway US.
†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.