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THE probiotics: what they are, how they behave, and why they seem to be so fundamental for the health of our body. These are questions you ask yourself often, right? 

Well, in this article we will give you all the answers, starting with their functions, benefits and of course giving an overview of the best probiotics.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that have health benefits when consumed. Probiotics, which are usually called beneficial bacteria, provide all kinds of powerful benefits for your body and brain. Can:

  • improve digestive health
  • reduce depression
  • promote heart health

The best probiotics

Consuming probiotics in supplement form is a popular way to stock up on them, but you can also get them from fermented foods.

Here is a list of 11 probiotic foods that are super healthy.

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics, the friendly bacteria that can improve your health.

Yogurt is made from milk that has been fermented by probiotics, mainly lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.

best probiotics

Eating or drinking yogurt is associated with many health benefits, including better bone health. It is also beneficial for people with high blood pressure.

In children, yogurt can help reduce diarrhea caused by antibiotics. It can also help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, yogurt may be suitable for people with lactose intolerance. That's because the bacteria turn some of the lactose into lactic acid, which is also what gives yogurt its sour taste.

However, keep in mind that not all yogurts contain live probiotics. In some cases, live bacteria have been killed during processing. For this reason, be sure to choose a yogurt with active or live cultures. Also, always read the yogurt label before buying. Even if it's labeled low-fat or fat-free, it could still be loaded with high amounts of added sugar.

2. Natural probiotics: kefir

Kefir is a probiotic drink made from fermented milk. It is obtained by adding kefir grains to cow or goat milk. Kefir grains are not cereal grains, but rather cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast that look a bit like cauliflower. The word "kefir" is thought to come from the Turkish word "keyif," which means to feel good after eating.

In fact, kefir has been linked to various health benefits. It can improve bone health, help with some digestive issues, and protect against infection. While yogurt is probably the best-known probiotic food in the Western diet, kefir is actually a better source of good bacteria. Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria and yeast, making it a diverse and powerful probiotic. Like yogurt, kefir is generally well tolerated by lactose intolerant people.

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. It is one of the oldest traditional foods and is popular in many countries, especially in Eastern Europe. Sauerkraut is often used on top of sausages or as a side dish. They have a tart, salty taste and can be stored for months in an airtight container. In addition to its probiotic qualities, sauerkraut is high in fiber and vitamins C and K. It is also high in sodium and contains iron and potassium.

Sauerkraut also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health. Be sure to choose unpasteurized sauerkraut. Pasteurization kills live and active bacteria. You can find raw types of sauerkraut online.

4. Tempeh

best probiotics

Tempeh is a fermented soy product. Forms a firm dough whose flavor is described as nutty, earthy, or mushroom-like. Tempeh originated in Indonesia, but has become popular throughout the world in the diet Vegan as a high protein meat substitute. The fermentation process actually has some surprising effects on its nutritional profile.

Soybeans are typically high in phytic acid, a plant compound that hinders the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc. However, fermentation lowers the amount of phytic acid, which can increase the amount of minerals your body is able to absorb from tempeh. Fermentation also produces some vitamin B12, a nutrient that soy does not contain.

Vitamin B12 is found mainly in animal foods, such as meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. This makes tempeh a great choice for vegetarians and anyone looking to add a nutritious probiotic to their diet diet.

5. Kimchi

Kimchi is a fermented and spiced Korean side dish. Cabbage is usually the main ingredient, but it can be made with other vegetables as well. Kimchi is flavored with a mix of seasonings, such as red chili flakes, garlic, ginger, shallots, and salt. Contains the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus kimchii, as well as other lactic acid bacteria that may benefit digestive health.

Kimchi made with kale is rich in certain vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and iron. 

6. Miso

Miso is a Japanese condiment. It is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a type of mushroom called koji. Miso can also be made by mixing soybeans with other ingredients, such as barley, rice and rye. This paste is most often used in miso soup, a popular breakfast food in Japan. Miso is typically salty. It can be bought in many varieties, such as white, yellow, red and brown.

Miso is a good source of protein and fibers. It is also rich in various vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, including vitamin K, manganese and copper.

Miso has been linked to some health benefits.

One study reported that frequent consumption of miso soup was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in middle-aged Japanese women. Another study found that women who ate a lot of miso soup had a reduced risk of stroke.

7. Kombucha

Kombucha is a brew made from fermented black or green tea. This popular tea is fermented by a friendly colony of bacteria and yeast. It is eaten in many parts of the world, especially in Asia. It can also be purchased online. The internet abounds with claims about the potential health effects of kombucha. However, there is a lack of high-quality evidence on kombucha.

The studies that exist are animal and test-tube studies, and the results may not apply to humans. However, since kombucha is fermented with bacteria and yeast, it likely has health benefits related to its probiotic properties.

8. Pickles

best probiotics

Pickles (also known as gherkins) are cucumbers that have been preserved in a solution of salt and water. They are left to ferment for some time, using their naturally present lactic acid bacteria. This process makes them acidic. Pickled cucumbers are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria, which can improve digestive health. They are also low in calories and are a good source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting.

Keep in mind that pickles also tend to be high in sodium. It's also important to note that pickles made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics.

9. Traditional buttermilk

The term "buttermilk" actually refers to a number of fermented milk drinks. There are two main types of buttermilk: traditional and cultured. Traditional buttermilk is simply the leftover liquid from making butter. Only this version contains probiotics, and is sometimes called grandma's probiotic.

Traditional buttermilk is mainly consumed in India, Nepal and Pakistan. Cultured buttermilk, commonly found in American supermarkets, generally has no probiotic benefit.

Buttermilk is low in fat and calories, but contains several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorus.

10. Natto

Natto is another fermented soy product, like tempeh and miso. Contains a bacterial strain called Bacillus subtilis. Natto is a staple in Japanese cuisines. It is typically mixed with rice and served for breakfast.

It has a distinctive odor, slippery texture, and strong flavor. Natto is rich in protein and vitamin K2, which is important for cardiovascular and bone health.

A study of elderly Japanese men found that regular consumption of natto was associated with higher bone mineral density. This is attributed to natto's high vitamin K2 content. Other studies also suggest that natto may help prevent osteoporosis in women. 

11. Some types of cheese

Even though most types of cheese are fermented, that doesn't mean they all contain probiotics. That's why it's important to look for the words "live cultures" or "active cultures" on food labels. The good bacteria survive the aging process in some cheeses, including Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and ricotta.

Cheese is highly nutritious and is an excellent source of protein. It is also rich in important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium. Moderate consumption of dairy products like cheese can even reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.