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Probiotics: Nourishment for the gut

Your gut is the foundation of everything aiding in food digestion, absorption of nutrients, and using it to maintain and fuel the body. The gut microbiome is essential to your general health. A healthy gut is when you have a balance of good and bad yeast and bacteria in your digestive system. The human gastrointestinal tract is a host to trillions of bacteria known as the gut microbiome and their genetic makeup. Probiotics are good bacteria and their main function is to maintain a healthy balance in your body, particularly your gut.


Consuming probiotics can boost your gut health by providing more healthful bacteria which assist in the balance and restoration of the gut microbiota, immunomodulation, and control of inflammation. It supports the cells that line your gut to prevent the harmful bacteria you may have consumed from entering your blood. Probiotics enhance the fortification and differentiation of the intestinal barriers. There are two ways to acquire more good bacteria (probiotics) into your gut: Dietary and fermented food supplements. Fermented foods are the most natural source of probiotics. Here are super healthy probiotic foods:

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics - vital and friendly bacteria that improve digestive health by limiting gastrointestinal disorders that are associated with diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. It also boosts added probiotics in your body such as lactobacillus casei and lactobacillus acidophilus which are good bacteria in the gut. The probiotic content in yogurt varies with the brand. The average ranges from about 90 billion -500 billion CFU per serving. Colony-forming unit (CFU) refers to how bacteria divide to form colonies.

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Yogurt is suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance because the bacteria coverts some of the lactose to lactic acid which gives the sour taste in yogurt. Note that not all yogurt contains live probiotics, i.e., the live bacteria can be killed during manufacturing. You should always check the label before you buy to make sure you choose the one which contains live or active cultures. You can add yogurt to fresh fruits and seeds for your afternoon or breakfast snack.

2. Pickles

Pickles are cucumbers that are preserved in saline water and fermented for some time by their lactic acid bacteria. It is an excellent source of good bacteria essential to your digestive health, low calories, and a great source of vitamin K which is a vital nutrient for blood clotting. Consuming pickles boosts the number of good gut bacteria and outnumber potentially harmful bacteria. Adding fermented pickles to your diet manages symptoms associated with constipation, and diarrhea, and supports a healthy gastrointestinal microbiome that is good for your gut bacteria. You should consider taking fermented pickles rather than vinegar- pickled. Pickles have between 12 -14 billion CFUS (the standard unit used to measure the amounts of viable bacteria cells in a serving).

3. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from soy products that have been broken down by microorganisms or fermented. This makes it a great source of probiotics because of its fibrous nature. It stimulates the growth of Bifidobacterium, Escherichia, Enterococcus, and Lactobacillus types of bacteria that are essential in a healthy gut. Other than probiotics, tempeh is a versatile ingredient that consists of a wide array of minerals, vitamins, and high protein. Probiotics increase the formation of essential short-chain fatty acids in your colon such as butyrate which provides energy to the cells that line your colon. Tempeh contains about 10 billion CFU of probiotics per gram. It has a delicious nutty flavor and is widely used by vegans.


4. Asparagus

Asparagus is an excellent fibrous diet with sufficient amounts of prebiotic (FOS)

(fructooligosaccharides), which facilitates probiotic growth. It is rich in high minerals and vitamins along with low calories. Asparagus promotes digestive health, regularity, and helps in minimizing the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. It also contains folate a nutrient vital to cell growth and DNA formation. A healthy gut facilitates a good immune system, and the insoluble fiber in asparagus facilitates regular bowel movements. Insoluble fibers also have a sufficient amount of prebiotics with a significant role in boosting good bacteria found in the gut. You can prepare asparagus with olive oil, pepper, and salt or parmesan and roast in truffle oil as they are versatile and elegant vegies.

5. Cheese

Cheese is a great source of probiotics with high amounts of fat, low acidity, and available good bacteria as it moves through the digestive system. Consider unpasteurized and raw cheese to get sufficient amounts of probiotics. Gouda, feta, and Cheddar cheese are the most common probiotic cheese.

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It facilitates healthy gut bacteria which enhances good cholesterol levels. Cheese also contains high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B, riboflavin, zinc, and overall nutritional side view of organic. The minimum probiotic contained in various cheese is about 6.0 log CFU per gram which is adequate to deliver health benefits at the time of intake.

6. Kefir

Kefir is produced by adding kefir grains to goat’s or cow’s milk. Kefir grains have cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that look a bit similar to cauliflower. Kefir is three times more probiotics than yogurt. It contains 12 active and live cultures while yogurt has one to five active cultures. It is the powerhouse of good bacteria essential in preventing digestive problems and protection against infections. There are about 61 major strains of friendly yeast and bacteria which make it a potent and diverse probiotic. These microorganisms have numerous health benefits: Mental health, aiding digestion, and weight management, and inhibiting the growth of various bad bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori, and Salmonella. The probiotic content in kefir is about 15-20 billion CFUS. Kefir contains other nutrients including calcium, sugar, protein, and calories. For healthy nutrition when taking kefir or yogurt, consider checking on the label before you buy. Choose non-flavored, plain with no added coloring or sugar.

7. Kimchi

Kimchi is considered a vegetable probiotic food with cabbage being the main ingredient and flavored with scallion, garlic, ginger, and salt. Kimchi is produced by fermenting vegetables with probiotic (LAB) lactic acid bacteria. It has various health benefits in your gut that contributes to general body health, such as immune promotion, anti-constipation, promotion of colorectal health, anti-obesity, and reduced cholesterol.

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The lactic acid bacteria contained in kimchi is known as Lactobacillus kimchi along with other lactic acid bacteria that are beneficial to your digestive health. Kimchi made from cabbage contributes to various nutritional contents such as vitamin K, vitamin B (riboflavin), and minerals like iron. The probiotic content in kimchi is approximately 2.6 billion CFU per half cup of serving. Kimchi is an excellent probiotic food because it is prepared with condiments, healthy vegetables, and fermented with probiotic LAB, with incredibly good taste.

While probiotic foods have live microorganisms, prebiotic foods have a vital role in feeding good bacteria. They are consumed to boost and balance probiotics. They are both important in promoting and increasing friendly bacteria in your gut, maintaining a healthy digestive system, and facilitating the immunity system in your body. Probiotics are more important but they cannot work without prebiotics. So, an adequate combination of both will help to regulate digestion, and strong healthy gut. Examples of prebiotic foods are onions, leeks, bananas, Jerusalem artichoke, and other high-fibrous fibrous foods.

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