Tummy Troubles? 9 Greatest Probiotic Foods You Should Be Eating

Are bloating, gas, or constipation a part of your day-to-day life? If so, you may want to consider trying probiotics. They may be able to help with your digestive woes and ease your tummy troubles.

How Probiotics Can Help with Digestive Issues

The intestines are full of bacteria and come in two forms: the “good” and the “bad”. Both types of bacteria help digest and process food. Having the right amount of “good” bacteria means that the intestinal system is healthier and can function properly. Having an overabundance of “bad” bacteria may contribute to conditions such as colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, diabetes, and obesity. Probiotics are healthy and beneficial sources of bacteria. They can help balance and regulate the normal gut flora. Research shows probiotics may have many health benefits, including:

-helping digest food

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-assisting in absorbing essential nutrients

-regulating gut flora

-boosting immune system

-alleviating or improving skin conditions, such as eczema

-helping with weight loss

-preventing certain types of cancers, especially colon cancer

There may be many benefits to increasing the amount of probiotics in your diet. While they may not completely resolve your stomach or gastrointestinal issues, they may help ease your symptoms by restoring and promoting gut health.

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Probiotics can be found naturally in some foods:

1.Yogurt. This morning breakfast staple can be one of the best sources of probiotics. But always check the label and make sure it contains “live and active cultures” to ensure that you’re actually reaping the benefits.

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2.Kefir. Similar to yogurt but with a tangier taste, kefir is a fermented milk drink. Sourdough bread.  Sourdough is made with a starter that contains lactobacillus bacteria, a type of bacteria that gives this bread its distinctive taste.

3.Miso. If you’ve gone to a Japanese restaurant, you’ve probably had miso soup. But you may not have known that miso, a seasoning made by fermenting soybeans with other natural ingredients, is a probiotic. Besides soup, you can enjoy miso paste as an addition to salad dressings, marinades, and other sauces.

4.Sauerkraut. This traditional German side only has two main ingredients: cabbage and salt. The cabbage sits for several days (or months), which aids in the fermentation process.

5.Tempeh. Vegetarians may be the most familiar with tempeh, a meat-substitute made from fermented soybeans. It’s full of protein, fiber, and magnesium.

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6.Kombucha. Not only does this fermented, bubbly tea drink taste great, but it’s also may be good for your gut.

7.Sour Pickles. Salty pickle spears also deliver a punch of probiotics. Seek out varieties that are brined in water and sea salt instead of vinegar. Vinegar brine won’t allow the beneficial bacteria to grow. Bonus: Pickle juice is rich in electrolytes, and has been shown to help relieve exercise-induced muscle cramps. 

8.Dark Chocolate. Probiotics can be added to high-quality dark chocolate, up to four times the amount of probiotics as many forms of dairy.

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9. Microalgae. This refers to super-food ocean-based plants such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae. These probiotic foods have been shown to increase the amount of both Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract.

Besides being found naturally in food, probiotics can also be taken as supplements. These supplements are available in liquid, tablet, or powder form. If you’re experiencing regular stomach or digestive problems, make an appointment with your doctor and discuss your symptoms with them. They may be able to recommend a probiotic formulation that is right for you.

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