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Most people spend a lot of time trying to get rid of bacteria in their lives because they think they are harmful. But what if I told you that not all bacteria is bad for you?
Your body actually relies on millions of healthy bacteria every day to keep you going and keep your body healthy.
By giving your body beneficial probiotics, you can improve the population of helpful bacteria inside your body that are necessary for your continued health.
Eating foods rich in probiotics (like delicious kombucha!) can prevent illness, treat some disorders and help restore balance in the body.
Learning which foods are high in probiotics will help you feel better and stay healthier over time.
Alright, so what exactly is a probiotic?
You have bacteria, yeast, and other microbes all over your body. These occur both inside and out (sounds kinda gross, I know). But luckily, many of those organisms are helpful bacteria that perform vital functions for your cells, tissues, organs, and body systems.
Probiotics and the beneficial bacteria they support can help:
Boost your immune system, allowing you to heal faster from sickness and injury.
Prevent infection by stopping hostile bacteria from taking over.
Improve your digestion, which allows you to better absorb nutrients from the foods you eat.
The majority of helpful bacteria in your body live in your gut and keep your digestive microflora healthy.
Having a healthy microflora not only aids your digestion, but also ensures your immune system is working properly! That means your body is keeping all the nasty sickness away!
When you throw off the balance of good vs. bad bacteria in your gut, such as when you are sick or when you are taking antibiotics, you need to help your body replenish the friendly bacteria in your system.
Eating probiotics can restore this balance, which creates a barrier against harmful microbes.
Difference between probiotics and antibiotics
When you take antibiotics to treat an infection, you are eliminating the bad bacteria that is making you sick. But in the process of doing so, you are also eliminating the healthy, beneficial bacteria that can make you well.
When you take probiotics during and after using antibiotics, you are helping to restore the natural gut microflora that your body needs quickly.
Probiotic rich foods
Foods that are cultured or fermented are good sources of probiotics, because bacteria is what created their flavor and texture.
Examples of foods that are high in probiotics include: miso, tempeh, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi. While some of these foods have bacteria which grow naturally, others include bacteria that are adding during the preparation process.
These foods and beverages contain one or more of the following strains of probiotics:
Now I know they just look like a bunch of words that absolutely no one can pronounce. But any food that claims to have probiotics should contain at least one of the strains listed here.
This is also true for probiotic supplements, so always read the label if you are in doubt!
Supporting a probiotic environment
In addition to eating foods that contain probiotics, you can also create an environment that is supportive of the healthy bacteria in your body.
You can start by altering the pH of your digestive system by eating more sour foods. Fermented vegetables and vinegars contain small amounts of probiotics, but their acid content is the most powerful part of their benefits and they contribute to a gut environment that allows probiotics to flourish.
You can also be sure the bacteria in your system has plenty of fuel by feeding them a high-fiber diet. The fermentable fiber in fresh vegetables, fruits, flax and chia seeds are perfect for giving probiotics the food they need to maintain your healthy bacteria levels.
Adding probiotics to your diet is one of the easiest thing you can do to improve your health and wellbeing.
These foods contain beneficial bacteria your body needs to fend off unwanted visitors and keep your body striving.
My two personal probiotic favorites are kombucha and Kimchi. Both taste amazing if you’re brave you can even make them yourselves! I’ll attach some links below of some of my favorites to help you on your probiotic search.