Have you been hearing more about probiotics recently? Wondering what they’re all about?
Well, these past couple of weeks, my home has been filled with kombucha brewing and sauerkraut fermenting, so there’s been even more talk than usual about probiotics in our kitchen. (there’s my first batch of sauerkraut!).
Benefits of Probiotics:
Probiotics are good bacteria found in food that populate your digestive system. Because the nutrients that build and support your body are assimilated and absorbed in your digestive system, probiotics provide a wide range of benefits throughout your body:
– Boost immune system
– Increase energy
– Reduce cravings
– Improve digestion & nutrient absorption
– Improve mood & brain function
Most of the food in our food system is pasteurized to get rid of the bad bacteria. Unfortunately, this also kills the good bacteria (dairy like cheese and milk).
Our culture also predominately avoids fermented foods, so we are not accustomed to the sour taste. Think of tangy plain yogurt versus all of the flavored options like strawberry, vanilla, peach etc. Traditionally, cultures each have their own cultured or fermented foods that they serve daily. Latin american countries traditionally have fermented vegetables, asian cultures have fermented soy products like tofu, tempeh, miso and natto. Unfortunately, over time these fermented foods have lost some of their cultural importance and often what used to be fermented vegetables are now just pickled and fermented tofu has been replaced with unfermented tofu.
But there are still many ways to get probiotics into your diet! Here’s a list to get you started. Some may appeal more to you than others:
Ways to incorporate probiotics into your diet:
– Raw sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables
– Organic tempeh
– Organic miso paste
– Unflavored kefir
– Plain whole milk yogurt (I’ve found the brand Nancy’s has cottage cheese, cream cheese and sour cream that are also cultured but normally these items are not)
As a note, probiotics are alive so you don’t want to heat them. Sauerkraut must be refrigerated in the store and at home (ballpark sauerkraut doesn’t count, sorry!). Tempeh and miso paste should be added to a dish at the end.
So go on, try a new probiotic food and add it to your day! What is your favorite probiotic-rich food? Let me know in the comments!