Probiotic Foods: Not Just Yogurt!

While most people understand that yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, many would be surprised to find that many other tasty dishes can also provide the same excellence of good bacteria.  In fact, many international foods contain more strains of healthy bacteria than does yogurt. 

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So if you are suffering from IBS, Crohn’s disease, pathogenic induced diarrhea, or a host of other issues, consider adding some tasty probiotic foods to your personal menu.  In other words, if your doctor says you need to add probiotics to your diet, check out these dishes before heading for the more expensive probiotic supplements.

Yogurt
Of course, everyone knows that yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics.  The key to using this as your probiotic source is to buy brands sweetened with fruit juice or nonprocessed sugar.  You can even buy plain yogurt and add your own sweetener.  Another tip:  look for brands that specifically mention lactobacillus and/or acidophilus.  These are bacterial strains that are not often found elsewhere.

Vegetables
Another good source of probiotics is pickled vegetables. Pickled cucumbers, beets, even carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower all can provide healthy live bacteria. If you are not pickling your own vegetables, then make sure you buy products that have NOT been pasteurized. If you are looking for a pickle recipe, here is a good place: .

Sauerkraut
Another less familiar probiotic food is cultured sauerkraut and all its relatives.  Notice, probiotics aren’t found in just any old sauerkraut.  Unfortunately, the brand you want will probably be one of the most expensive brands of sauerkraut available on your health store shelves.  But hey, it is still less expensive than supplements!  Kimchi is a Korean relative of German sauerkraut, and can also be found even in most Walmarts, or in your local health food store.

Natto and Miso
Japanese dishes are renowned for their probiotic substances.  Natto is one dish made of fermented soybeans.  This dish requires a certain palate; however, one can grow to like this dish of fermented soybeans with little white fibers running throughout.   Another popular Japanese item rich in probiotics is miso.  Miso can be used to flavor soups, or as a spread for crackers and such.  However, due to its salty condition, it must be diluted and not eaten straight.

Dark Chocolate
Oh, and did I forget to mention dark chocolate? Dark chocolate has four times the amount of many of the dairy items we buy for gut health. That’s right, even chocoholics can relax (somewhat) and realize that their chocolate fix is giving their gut a healthy fit, too.

These are just a few of the most common and best probiotic foods available. The benefits of probiotic foods are many.  They can help your stomach and intestines by providing the healthy bacteria that they normally shelter but may have missing.  Relief of this quandary, through the use of probiotic foods, can relieve gas pains, flatulence, indigestion, and many other disorders. Probiotics also aid in immunity. Seventy percent of our immune function comes from a healthy digestive tract! Yet another reason to add some healthy probiotic foods to your diet.

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Stephanie

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