Best probiotic foods for gut health: Ultimate list of natural probiotics

Heather Campbell
 min read

These best probiotic foods for gut health are helpful because having good bacteria present throughout the intestinal tract is beneficial for a healthy body.

Best probiotic foods for gut health: Ultimate list of natural probioticsThey could play a protective role against infections, cholesterol problems, and overweight.

As a whole, not all probiotics are equally useful and the right ones must be taken in sufficient quantities, regularly and properly for optimal effect. Fermented foods, vegetables, olives, gherkins, chicory, honey, artichokes, and dairy products are all excellent sources of probiotic foods.

However, an intestinal flora can be unbalanced due to a bad diet, the taking of medication (including antibiotics), a lack of activity, etc.

In this case, the bad bacteria gain ground and would start exposing us to specific disorders. Read on to understand how to prevent this.

Best probiotic foods for gut health: Introduction

Probiotics, also known as good bacteria, are precious health allies. Indeed, they are living micro-organisms that we consume daily without being aware.

They contain millions of bacteria, microbes, and yeasts naturally present in the body. However, not all probiotics are equal and indeed, only some are interesting.

Probiotics need to be taken in sufficient quantities, regularly and properly, for optimal effect.

These micro-organisms come into action once integrated into the intestinal flora, also called the intestinal microbiota.

This article will make a list of favored foods to preserve the intestinal flora.

The right foods to preserve the intestinal flora

Probiotics can be found in food supplements as well as in medicines. But how to find them in the food we eat?

It is interesting to know that fermented foods, especially dairy products, contain a large number of probiotics.

But fermented nutrients are not the only source of probiotics. Here is a list of some foods rich in natural probiotics:

Vegetables

Regarding vegetables, it is advisable to eat beets, carrots, radishes, and peppers that are immediately beneficial.

Olives

Generally, olives are marinated in vinegar which is a good source of probiotics.

Gherkins

Like olives, pickles are rich in probiotics because they are often pickled in vinegar.

Chicory

Chicory is rich in fiber and is a source of iron, phosphorus, and vitamins B6 and B12.

It owes its intestinal benefit to one of its components: inulin. This functional ingredient is extracted from its root and contributes to many body functions.

Inulin is also present in other foods such as bananas, onions, artichokes, asparagus, barley, wheat, and rye. If our digestive system does not assimilate it, the inulin arrives intact in the colon, where it promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria.

If you’re not sure how to take chicory, you can roast the chicory root, grate it and add it to coffee.

Artichoke

Artichoke is a good source of iron, copper, and vitamin B9.

Like chicory, artichokes are a good source of inulin, a natural probiotic good for the intestine. It is not digested by the small intestine but fermented by the bacterial flora of the colon.

The beneficial bacteria of the flora use it to develop, and their effects are thus multiplied by ten.

Good to know: Other foods rich in inulin and therefore considered probiotic foods are leeks, garlic, onions, and asparagus.

Honey

Honey can be considered a probiotic food thanks to its fructo-oligosaccharide content,

It can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, fight certain toxic substances (thanks to its antibacterial effect), and fight against constipation.

Honey is also a good source of potassium and antioxidants.

Don’t forget that honey is as caloric as sugar. Therefore, it is advisable to moderate its consumption if you want to keep your figure.

Fermented cabbage or sauerkraut

Some people consider sauerkraut to be a superfood. In fact, consuming it allows the mobilization of beneficial bacteria for the intestine, better resisting possible attacks from aggressive micro-organisms.

This action is due to “lacto-fermentation,” i.e., the transformation of cabbage sugar into lactic acid and this allows it to be classified as a probiotic.

Sauerkraut is rich in vitamin C and is a source of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, which makes it a fermented food containing mainly lactobacilli, which are part of the intestinal flora.

Preparing sauerkraut at home is very easy. Just cut the cabbage into pieces, wash it, salt it, and let it rest for about a month in a closed container.

Natural yogurt

A source of calcium, phosphorus, and rich in vitamin D, yogurt is mainly composed of lactic acid bacteria, which are the source of probiotics.

You often advised to eat yogurt if you are taking antibiotics, as it helps prevent these products from killing the good bacteria in the intestine.

Studies have shown that yogurt is particularly recommended if the antibiotic is targeted explicitly at the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria.

The latter is present in the intestine of 75% of the population and can cause, in some instances, chronic gastritis, ulcers, or, more rarely, gastric cancer.

Therefore yogurt could enhance the action of the antibiotic while preserving the intestinal flora.

Probiotic yogurts

If you suffer from diarrhea, mini-drinkable formulas containing acid-lactic bacteria are particularly recommended as they help restore intestinal balance.

Some doctors even advise taking them during diarrhea to help stop it and facilitate the renewal of micro-organisms usually present in the intestinal tract.

Studies have shown that these products also help reduce abdominal bloating that often accompanies an intestinal disorder (both diarrhea and constipation).

Probiotic yogurt is rich in lactic acid bacteria and calcium.

Fermented milk

Like yogurt, fermented milk contains lactic acid bacteria, which are also part of the probiotic family.

Blue-veined and rinded cheeses

Blue cheese such as Roquefort, Camembert, or Brie contains a large number of probiotics, so are to be preferred to preserve the intestinal flora.

Miso soup (fermented soybeans)

In addition to the main product’s soluble and insoluble fiber content (i.e., soybeans), miso is actually a paste made by fermenting a dry vegetable with a grain and a mushroom. Miso is also a good source of iron and zinc.

There are different types of miso: from the softest, light beige, to a denser version with a brown or reddish tone. Miso is usually added to soups.

Taking a glass before or during a meal helps to improve digestion and take care of the intestinal tract.

It should not be boiled again once incorporated into the preparation.

It is recommended to consume products derived from soy, such as miso, tofu, or tempeh, as all these foods are rich in probiotics.

Brewer’s yeast

Described as a probiotic, brewer’s yeast is a “living” material.

It contains the bacterial strain called Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Wine

According to some studies, the polyphenols in wine are good for the heart and intestinal flora as they help destroy pathogenic micro-organisms in the stomach.

To benefit from its beneficial effects, you should limit yourself to one glass a day.

Be careful though as alcohol abuse can negatively affect the body.

Unpasteurized beer

Unpasteurized beers are very rich in probiotics as their manufacturing process involves fermentation by yeast and, therefore, the creation of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae bacteria.

Kefir

Native to the Caucasus, this fermented drink contains lactic bacteria and yeast. Therefore, kefir has a large number of probiotics. It is recommended to dilute it in cow’s milk or any other animal milk.

Kefir is rich in vitamins B12 and B1 and is also a good source of calcium.

It is also one of the easiest foods to digest because its proteins are already partially digested, and this is why many nutritionists recommend it to people with a delicate stomach or a tendency to catch many infections.

Widely drunk in Russia, the consumption of this milk product is 169 oz per year per capita.

Sourdough bread

Produced by natural fermentation, sourdough bread is rich in probiotics because it contains lactic bacteria.

Best probiotic foods for gut health: Conclusion

Micro-organisms have multiple functions:

  • They relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • They regulate the intestinal transit
  • They facilitate digestion
  • They reduce the problems of diarrhea or constipation
  • They boost the immune system
  • And they act as a barrier against infections and imbalances.

Consuming probiotics can also be interesting for women, especially if they are taken before menopause as they will help modify the vaginal flora and alleviate osteoporosis, vaginal dryness, and mucosal atrophy.

Women suffering from recurrent vaginal mycoses are often advised to take probiotics because the imbalance of the vaginal flora is related to the intestinal flora.

While taking antibiotics, a course of probiotics is recommended because antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria.

Bacteria thus allow the intestinal flora to reconstitute itself by eliminating germs that are harmful to the body.

In winter, make a habit of consuming probiotics to help strengthen your immune system.

And finally, choose a diet rich in natural probiotics to preserve your intestinal microbiota.

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About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More