When I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now 15 months old, and my Group B Strep test came back positive, the first thing my midwife had me do was try to pack my diet with probiotics to help the good bacteria beat the strep bacteria. Of course, I only got one strep test, so I’ll never know whether or not it worked, but that doesn’t changer the fact that probiotics are continually being found to be a major player in promoting better health. They’ve been shown to help with issues of the gut like irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut but their reach goes far beyond the intestines. Researchers have found that probiotics can prevent cavities, fight depression, make you a better runner, keep your weight under control, delay the development of allergies, and possibly even prevent cancer. Many women have turned to probiotics to help with yeast and urinary tract infections.
And while such supplements are becoming more and more popular in the US, those supplements are not tested like drugs are and there’s no guarantee that they will have an impact on whatever condition you are trying to treat. Additionally, probiotic supplements are not actually guaranteed to have any active cultures in them. (A study out of Bastyr University in Washington showed that only a fraction of probiotic supplements had living bacteria.)
However, it’s totally possible to pack your diet full of probiotic foods that are more effective, more nutritious and more delicious than any beige capsule you can swallow.
Love Your Guts With These Probiotic Powerhouses 1 of 11
Show your guts you love them with these tasty, healthy, powerful foods.
Yogurt 2 of 11
Yogurt is one of the most common, convenient sources of probiotics. Make sure the container says "live and active cultures." Scoop some onto your breakfast granola, stir some fruit into it for a snack, use it to replace sour cream at dinner time, or eat it straight from the container.
Sauerkraut 3 of 11
Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi can be even higher in probiotic bacteria than yogurt. Put it on your sandwiches, toss it with some noodles, or add it to a salad for a tart and tasty meal.
Miso 4 of 11
Miso, a fermented food popular in Japan, is becoming more and more popular in the US. While most of us might know it from miso soup, it can also be used to make delicious dressings, added to burger meat, or stirred into your favorite sauces.
Kombucha 5 of 11
This fermented drink brewed from tea may be "the next big thing" in probiotics. Drink it straight or add it to dressings, sauces, or marinades.
Kefir 6 of 11
Kefir, like yogurt, is a cultured dairy product chock-full of probiotics. Drink it, put it in smoothies, soups, or dressings. Or use it as a substitute for buttermilk or yogurt in baked goods. You can even make kefir ice cream if you're feeling particularly adventurous!
Pickles 7 of 11
Naturally fermented pickles (either cucumbers or other veggies) are a simple way to add probiotics. Eat them straight from the jar or alongside salads, soups, or sandwiches. Just be sure you're getting naturally fermented pickles!
Tempeh 8 of 11
This fermented soy product binds soy into a patty. Use it as a meat substitute in burgers or sandwiches, crumble it into soups and stews, or marinate it and toss it on the grill.
Soft Cheese 9 of 11
Soft cheeses, like brie and gouda, can also be great sources of probiotics. Spread it on crackers or add it to savory tarts and pies.
Sourdough Bread 10 of 11
Sourdough bread is made from fermented dough where good bacteria can live and thrive. Use bread to make sandwiches (spread with probiotic cheese!) or whip up sourdough pancakes for breakfast with your own fermented dough.
Dark Chocolate 11 of 11
While probiotics may not naturally occur in dark chocolate, researchers have been hard at work combining the two and testing whether or not dark chocolate enhanced with probiotics can effectively increase the good bacteria in your gut. The results have been successful! And while not all dark chocolate is enhanced with probiotics, there are some good options out there.
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