13 Prebiotic Foods You Should Know About

home made yogurt
Photo by infusion fibers

Since ancient times, probiotics have been used to maintain health and help prevent many diseases. Most probiotic foods are made by fermentation processes (lactic acid bacteria). These bacteria have a positive impact on human health. The lactic acid bacteria have many health benefits. They are also needed to properly break down food. Just avoid pasteurized probiotic foods because this process will destroy probiotics. Here are some of the best probiotic foods you should know about:

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the most popular fermented foods in the world. Drinking yogurt on a daily basis has numerous dietary benefits.

Just make sure it doesn’t contain any sugar or artificial ingredients. Because this probiotic food contains live and active cultures, it can help boost your immune system and help promote a healthy gut.

Several studies have shown that people who consumed yogurt every day, gained less weight, and had a lower risk of prostate, bladder, and colon cancer, compared to people who people who decreased their yogurt intake. Another study has found that people who ate yogurt on a daily basis, had a 20 % lower risk of developing high blood pressure, compared to those who hardly ever ate it.

Photo by flypeterfly

2. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea made from tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Drinking this tea on a daily basis has numerous health benefits.

It has been known to help prevent arthritis and other health problems. You can grow your own colony of bacteria in a jar and then drink the tea. If you don’t like the idea of making your own kombucha tea at home, there are a number of pre-made kombucha teas you can buy and drink.

This naturally-carbonated, refreshing beverage is a healthy alternative to unhealthy drinks like soda. Besides from being tasty, this drink contains good bacteria that keep harmful bacteria in check and help keep your digestive tract healthy. Plus, drinking this tea has been shown to boost immunity and overall health.

DSC 6195
Photo by Cookthinker

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is pickled cabbage. This crispy and delightfully sour cabbage provide many health benefits. This cabbage has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria, and it is made with just cabbage and salt.

Sauerkraut is extremely popular in Germany and other European countries. It is very versatile and it makes a great addition to any meal. Numerous studies have shown that sauerkraut may help prevent cancer in humans, protect artery walls from oxidative damage, and other diseases.

Plus, sauerkraut gives your libido a boost. Doctors recommend a minimum of 3-4 servings of sauerkraut per week. As sauerkraut you can find at your grocery store is probably pickled with vinegar, instead of fermentation, make sure you read the labels and buy it at a health food store.

Tempeh 2.0
Photo by FoodCraftLab

4. Tempeh

Tempeh is one if the most popular dishes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. It makes a great alternative to meat. Tempeh is probiotic food that has a wide of health benefits.

Tempeh has been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. It has been shown to protect against cancer and other diseases. Tempeh is rich, nutty, and it is a delicious addition to any diet. Tempeh also boasts the benefits of the fermentation process.

Fermentation process allows your body to assimilate and absorb nutrients. If you plan to add more protein to your diet, tempeh is a good choice – it is packed with protein. Just 1 cup of tempeh contains more than grams of protein (it contains, even more, protein than tofu).

Dark Chocolate, anyone?
Photo by Edward Sargent

5. Dark chocolate

You might be surprised to find that dark chocolate is also a probiotic food. Plus, it contains antioxidants, which have been shown to prevent the types of free radical damage, decrease the risk of several cancers, fight dementia, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

And even more, eating dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, reduce the markers for heart disease, protect the skin against sun damage, improve your mood and reduce depression. Various studies have shown that bacteria in the stomach eat dark chocolate, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.

When selecting dark chocolate, choose chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa (70-85 % cocoa). The higher percentages are often used in baking and cooking. Also, it is best to eat your darks chocolate before the meal.

112408 008
Photo by Laura HB

6. Whole-grain bread

Whole-grain bread is a healthy alternative to white bread. Besides being rich in nutrients and protein, this bread helps maintain digestive health.

But keep in mind that not all fermented foods contain live probiotics. Avoid foods that can strip away healthy bacteria and pay attention to the nutrition label on every bread. There are some whole-grain products you can buy that have been fortified with probiotics.

Resistant starch is fermented by intestinal bacteria, and this bread is considered a resistant starch food. In addition to being more delicious, whole-grain bread has a lower glycemic index (GI) than refined white bread. Low glycemic index (GI) helps keep your blood sugar under control. Plus, eating whole grain bread can boost your immune system.

Photo by msgfoodblog

7. Kimchi

Kimchi is the best known one of the most popular foods in Korea. It is made of seasoned vegetables and salt and usually made with fermented cabbage.

We already know by now about the benefits of probiotics. They can help lower your blood pressure, significantly improve the blood cholesterol levels, improve blood glucose control, and other health problems. In Korea, this dish is a staple of the culture.

Kimchi promotes intestinal health, and it has been shown to improve a number of health conditions including obesity and digestive disorders. Kimchi is packed with vitamins and nutrients, and extremely low in calories. You can buy it in supermarkets, or in any Asian food mart. You can also prepare your own homemade Kimchi.

Photo by Claudio Brisighello

8. Kefir

Kefir is a better probiotic than ordinary milk and provides a wide variety of health benefits for your body. Kefir can help relieve all intestinal disorders and help people suffering from diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

Like all foods on our list, kefir also and contains specific types of bacteria. Kefir and other fermented dairy products have been studied for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Kefir, like other fermented milk products, is a fermented dairy product that is high in oligosaccharides (complex carbohydrates), that feed the friendly bacteria.

These bacteria will give your immune system a healthy boost. As these beneficial bacteria are very heat-sensitive, keep your kefir cold and don’t drink kefir that is high in sugar. Sugar feeds harmful bacteria and damages your healthy intestinal flora.

Photo by Ivy Dawned

9. Bananas

Bananas have many health benefits. But, did you know that bananas are also great for digestion? Bananas provide healthy bacteria for the digestive tract.

They are rich inulin, a resistant starch that feeds probiotic bacteria and it can improve our immune system and improve our digestion. Plus, it can help keep your blood sugar stable, help to reduce the risk of a stroke in old age and help to keep anxiety levels in check.

As bananas contain fiber, they can also help improve the health of your colon. Colon is the major section of your digestive tract. If it is not properly maintained, it’s going to become sluggish. Besides being a high pre biotic food, bananas are also low on the glycemic index.

Photo by neil conway

10. Artichokes

Artichokes have nutrients that help feed friendly bacteria living in our digestive tract. Aside from being delicious, artichokes are but also packed with inulin.

Inulin can improve gut and help increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. If you don’t like artichokes, there are other prebiotics you can enjoy (bananas or asparagus).

Artichokes are so versatile and you can use them in almost any dish (salads, soups…). Artichokes help keep your digestive system healthy. You can find them at almost any supermarket. You can prepare them yourself or buy canned varieties. Numerous studies have found that probiotics (like artichokes) also play a direct role in mental health. They also help maintain a healthy weight more easily and help you feel full longer.

In The Miso Soup
Photo by biru langit pagi

11. Miso soup

Fermented soybeans contain beneficial bacteria that help protect your body against harmful bacteria, and isoflavones, which can help lower cancer risk and help you lose weight.

This savory soup is one of the most popular dishes in the Japanese cuisine and has a wide range of health benefits. You can buy this tasty soup in some supermarkets or in the health food store.

Besides being a gut-friendly food, this soup is also packed with antioxidants, which have been shown to fight heart disease, help support healthy arterial function, reduce the appearance of scar tissue, encourage the growth of new cells and other diseases. You should avoid foods that have high sodium content, additives, and genetically engineered soy, so look for organic miso soup.

Photo by jenearjen

12. Pickles

Did you know that pickles are also very high in probiotics? When buying pickles, opt for naturally fermented pickles made without vinegar.

Naturally, fermented pickles are made with sea salt and water. They encourage the growth of these friendly bacteria. The brine also contains beneficial bacteria in it. If you don’t like pickles, you can enjoy other pickled vegetables, like onions, cabbage, beets, peppers…

Instead of buying them at the grocery store, making your own pickles is so much better. By making your own pickles you will preserve more bacteria. By doing so, you have more chance of preserving the live bacteria. In addition to being crunchy and tasty, pickles are also filled with healthful antioxidants and low in calories.

Photo by yoppy

13. Natto

This is one of the popular and healthy Japanese foods. It is made from fermented soybeans. B. subtilis is responsible for natto fermentation, which gives this dish its characteristic soft, stringy consistency.

It also has a unique flavor. Natto is also packed with plant protein and vitamin K which has been shown to help prevent calcification of arteries and maintain hip bone strength. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and healthy bones.

It also has a positive effect on bone mineral density, and on reducing fracture rates. It can help to break up the excess fibrin. Excess of fibrin can cause many health problems such heart attack, stroke, poor circulation and even death. You can buy it at Asian grocery stores near you.