Probiotics are friendly bacteria and yeasts that naturally live inside your body, especially in the gut (mostly large intestines), mouth, urinary tract, lungs, and the outside of your skin.
Benefits of Probiotics Fight off pathogens like harmful bacteria and viruses, as they take up space and prevent harmful microbes from growing and spreading in your body.
Support your digestive system in breaking down foods and absorbing nutrients while preventing bloating and indigestion.
Probiotics help produce B-vitamins and butyrate that control your blood sugars, And they also help to make neurotransmitters for your brain, which lower stress and anxiety.
Improve your sleep and help to regulate hormones involved with body fat storage.
Unfortunately, many people have an imbalance in their microbiome because they eat too many junk foods and artificial sweeteners or take antibiotics (which can kill off the friendly microorganisms causing an imbalance).
Fortunately, certain fermented foods that you can eat contain live strains of friendly microbes to improve your overall health and microbiome.
And that’s exactly what we will discuss in today’s video. Just a quick reminder, this video is for educational purposes only, so do speak to your doctor if you have any medical concerns.
1. Kefir (15-27b CFU’s Per Cup):
Kefir is a liquid made from cows, goats, or sheep fermented milk, and it’s much easier to digest than yoghurt for those with lactose intolerance.
It also contains up to 10x more probiotics than Greek yoghurt, with over 61 strains of friendly yeasts and bacteria.
(between 15-27 billion colony forming units per serving) I recommend eating 1 serving of kefir per day to boost the health of your microbiome.
You can make this at home using kefir grains and milk or purchase it from health food stores.
Russian doctors used kefir in the 19th century to help treat ailments like tuberculosis because of its immune-boosting effects.
Studies show the friendly microbes in kefir can also help lower the risk of cancer cell formation by protecting your DNA from oxidative damage.
2. Kimchi (5 Billion CFUs Per Cup):
The next probiotic-rich food is Kimchi Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from a mixture of fermented radish, chili, ginger, onions, and cabbage and is one of the healthiest superfoods available.
Fermented vegetables are made in a process called Lacto-fermentation.
Basically, the vegetables and spices are brined in salt to kill any bad bacteria, and then they are crushed into a jar and covered for a few days.
The natural wild probiotic cultures in the vegetables (such as lactobacillus) start to produce lactic and acetic acid.
The microbes then eat any sugar present in the vegetables and ferment them so that they can multiply, becoming a superfood for your gut.
The fermentation process helps break down cell structures in the vegetables and spices, making the existing nutrients more bioavailable and easier to absorb.
Kimchi is particularly special as the ingredients are all excellent for helping your liver detoxify harmful substances from your body, whilst the probiotics are also amazing for your digestive system and overall health.
One cup of Kimchi contains an astonishing 5 billion CFUs of probiotics.
3. Bulgarian Yoghurt (10-18 Billion CFUs Per Cup):
Bulgarian yoghurt tends to be less processed and contains higher amounts of friendly microbes than regular yoghurt.
This type of yoghurt contains a unique strain of bacteria called lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. These have been shown to help those who struggle to consume dairy products like cheese, milk, or yoghurt due to lactose intolerance.
The friendly strains found in Bulgarian yoghurt help the body produce lactase, an enzyme that helps you break down lactose (milk sugar).
I recommend diluting this yoghurt with cold water and salt and mixing it with baby cumbers, dill and garlic to make a Bulgarian soup called Tarator.
4.Kombucha Tea (23.1 Million CFUs Per Cup):
If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to alcohol to help relax you and release stress, Kombucha tea is a fantastic option.
This is black tea and sugar that has been fermented, removing any sugars and leaving you with live beneficial bacteria, healthy acids, and trace amounts of alcohol.
Make sure to choose a brand that does not contain any more than 3g of sugar per serving, and only drink small amounts to enjoy its anxiety-soothing properties.
If you have gastritis or a stomach ulcer, please avoid this as its Ph is a little too acidic and can aggravate pockets of damage in the stomach.
5. Sauerkraut (3-10 Billion CFUs Per Cup):
Sauerkraut is a type of fermented cabbage that is a staple in German cuisine but is now eaten all around for its many health benefits, Especially when it comes to healing the gut.
Regular cabbage is loaded with S-Methylmethionine (Vitamin U) and is well known for healing stomach ulcers, improving gut health, and feeding the colon cells so that they can heal from all types of damage.
If you have autoimmune disease, it’s recommended to start loading up on cabbage and sauerkraut.
Coincidentally, sauerkraut is also one of the richest sources of Vitamin C on the planet, with over 700mg per serving, helping to boost your immune system, And helping stimulate collagen production for healthier skin, joints, nails, eyes, etc.
Make sure that the sauerkraut and other fermented veggies you purchase are unpasteurized.
This is very important, as pasteurized products have been heated/cooked, which destroys the beneficial live bacteria.
6. Natto (1 Billion CFUS Per Gram):
Natto is a product made by fermenting organic soybeans, which was perfected in Japan over a thousand years ago.
It has a stringy texture with a pungent flavour.
However, it’s one of the most powerful fermented foods for improving blood flow around the body and protecting your heart.
Natto is rich in Vitamin K2, a nutrient that helps to remove a build-up of calcium in your arteries and puts it into the bones where it belongs.
This helps to make the arteries more flexible for better blood circulation.
Natto is also rich in an enzyme called Nattokinase, which has been shown to help thin the blood and prevent blood clots from forming, which may trigger a stroke, pulmonary embolism, or a heart attack.
7. Pickles (12-14 Billion CFUS Per Cup):
Fermented pickles (cucumbers) made in brine (not vinegar) are yet another amazing superfood for your gut and entire microbiome.
The juice, in particular, can be consumed to relieve leg cramps, eye twitching, PMS, and muscle spasms due to its high concentration of electrolytes.
The healthy acids from pickles and pickle juice can be used to relieve heartburn and acid reflux because it helps to normalize the Ph. Of your stomach.
Like all of these fermented foods, check the labels and make sure there are no added preservatives that are unpasteurized. Or you can make them yourself at home.
8. Other Probiotic-Rich Foods:
Although there is a definite lack of data on fermented foods, you can ferment any type of vegetable, herb, or plant matter.
Meaning that there is a diverse range of fermented foods in the world that you may not have heard of or tried yet.
Some others that I highly recommend are Sauer Ruben – fermented turnips perfected in Germany, and Miso – fermented soybeans, rice, or barley.
Ancient China Tempeh – an Indonesian form of fermented soy Douchi – is a culinary paste made from spices and fermented.
Black beans in China Puto – a steamed cake made from fermented Rice in the Philippines.
Greek Yoghurt – fermented cow’s milk originating in Greece Furundu is made from mashed and fermented sesame seeds in West Africa.
Crème Fraiche – made from fermented heavy cream in France and widely used in restaurants worldwide.
And there are thousands of variations that I encourage you to try to increase the diversity and health of your own microbiome.
Probiotics are live bacteria that we can consume from fermented foods, which can colonize parts of our bodies (such as the gut) to help us stay strong and healthy.
But what about the existing microbes that already live inside you?
Prebiotics are basically the food that feeds your existing microbes. These come mostly in the form of soluble fiber and plant sugars from various fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
Although our own bodies can’t digest soluble fiber, the microbes do that for us.
They fermented the prebiotic fiber, and this helped to give them energy.
As the microbes become energized, they release some very powerful healing chemicals like butyrate, lactic acid, and propionic acid, all of which have amazing health properties.
Especially in protecting the lining of your intestines, preventing toxins from leaching into your blood, and autoimmune diseases arising such as psoriasis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc…
Here are some of the best sources of prebiotic fiber to support your existing microbes Artichoke, chia seeds, psyllium, garlic, leek, asparagus, dandelion greens, chicory root, and avocados.
So start eating a mixture of probiotic and prebiotic foods daily, and you’ll soon start to notice changes in your physical and mental health.