What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that have health benefits when consumed.
These are usually beneficial bacteria that serve some function in the body.
Probiotics have all sorts of powerful benefits for your body and brain.
They may improve digestive health, reduce depression and promote heart health.
Some evidence even suggests that they may give you better looking skin.
You can also get them from foods that are prepared by bacterial
fermentation (fermented foods).
By adding more probiotic foods into your diet, you could see all of the following health benefits:
- Stronger immune system
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy from production of vitamin B12
- Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
- Healthier skin, since probiotics improve eczema and psoriasis
- Reduced cold and flu
- Healing from leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease
- Weight loss
Sound good? If you want all of these benefits, then it’s time to start
consuming these probiotic foods for better health.
In fact, you should eat a variety of types of probiotics as each one offers
a different type of beneficial bacteria to help the body in a variety of
Here is a complete list of probiotic foods in the world that are super healthy.
Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink. It is made by adding kefir
grains to cow’s or goat’s 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 allegedly comes from the Turkish word keyif, which
means “feeling good” after eating.
In fact, kefir has been linked to various health benefits.
It may improve bone health, help with some digestive problems and protect against infections.
While yogurt is probably the best known probiotic food in the Western diet, kefir is actually a better source. Kefir
contains several major strains of friendly bacteria and yeast, making it a diverse and potent probiotic.
Like yogurt, kefir is generally well-tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant.
Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea drink.
This popular tea is fermented by a friendly colony of bacteria and yeast.
It is consumed in many parts of the world,
especially in US, Canada, Europe, Australia & Asia. Homemade
kombucha becomes a hot trend all over the world, as
people pay much more attention to their daily health.
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 Europe.
Sauerkraut is often used on top of sausages or as a side dish. It has a
sour, salty taste and can be stored for months in
an airtight container.
In addition to its probiotic qualities, sauerkraut is rich in fiber, as well as vitamins C, B and K. It is also high in sodium
and contains iron and manganese.
Sauerkraut also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health.
Kimchi is a fermented, spicy Korean side dish.
Cabbage is usually the main ingredient, but it can also be made from
A mix of seasonings is used for flavor, such as red chili pepper flakes,
garlic, ginger, scallion and salt.
Kimchi contains the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus kimchii, as well as other lactic acid bacteria that may benefit
Kimchi made from cabbage is high in some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and
Miso is a Japanese seasoning.
It is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a type of
fungus called koji.
Miso can also be made by mixing soybeans with other ingredients, like
barley, rice and rye.
This paste is most often used in miso soup, a popular breakfast food in Japan. Miso is typically salty, and you can buy
it in many varieties, such as white, yellow, red and brown.
Miso is a good source of protein and fiber. It is also high in various vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including
vitamin K, manganese and copper.
Miso has also been linked to some health benefits.
One study reported that frequent miso soup consumption 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.
Natto is another fermented soybean product, like tempeh and miso.
It contains a bacterial strain called Bacillus subtilis.
Natto is a staple in Japanese kitchens. It is typically mixed with rice and
served with breakfast.
It has a distinctive smell, slimy texture and strong flavor. Natto is rich
in protein and vitamin K2, which is important for bone health and cardiovascular health.
A study in older Japanese men found that consuming natto on a regular basis was associated with higher bone
mineral density. This is attributed to the high vitamin K2 content of natto.
Other studies suggest that natto may help prevent osteoporosis in women.
Pickles (also known as gherkins) are cucumbers that have been pickled in a solution of salt and water.
They are left to ferment for some time, using their own naturally present lactic acid bacteria. This process is what
makes them sour.
Pickled cucumbers are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria, which may improve digestive health.
They are low in calories and a good source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting. Pickles also tend to be
high in sodium.
It is important to note that pickles made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product. It forms a firm patty, and
people have described the flavor as nutty, earthy or similar to a
Tempeh is originally from Indonesia, but has become popular all over
the world 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 impairs the absorption of minerals like iron and
However, the fermentation process lowers the amount of phytic acid, which may increase the amount of minerals the
body is able to absorb from tempeh.
Another interesting byproduct of this process is that the bacteria produce some vitamin B12, a nutrient that
soybeans do not contain.
Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal foods, such as meat, fish, dairy products and eggs.
This makes tempeh an overall great choice for vegetarians, as well as anyone looking to add a nutritious probiotic to
Kvass has been a common fermented beverage in Eastern Europe since
ancient times. It was traditionally made by fermenting rye or barley,
but in more recent years has been created using beets, fruit along with
other root vegetables like carrots. Kvass uses lactobacilli probiotics and
is known for its blood and liver-cleansing properties and has a mild sour
10. Raw Cheese
Although most types of cheese are fermented, that does not mean that
all of them contain probiotics.
Therefore, it is important to look for live and active cultures on the food labels.
The good bacteria survive the aging process in some cheeses, including
Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese.
Cheese is highly nutritious, and is a very good source of protein. It is also rich in important vitamins and minerals,
including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium.
Moderate consumption of dairy products, such as cheese, may even lower the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
11. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from apples, vinegar, and a bacterial
culture, known as “the mother.” While ACV is commonly used to
eradicate symptoms from colds, flus or even acid reflux, it’s also a good
dietary source of probiotics.
Like the other probiotic foods we’ve mentioned, ACV must be
purchased raw or unpasteurized in order for it to still contain the beneficial bacteria. You can also make your own
apple cider at home using apples, vinegar and a bacterial culture.
Although apple cider vinegar can have a strong taste, its health benefits make it a food to regularly include in your
12. Brine-cured olives
Olives that are brine cured are an excellent source of probiotics too.
Like with salted gherkin pickles, be sure to select a product that is
organic first. Next, be certain that your olives aren’t made from a huge
manufacturer. Choose a smaller company that advertises probiotics.
Also make sure that your olives don’t contain sodium benzoate.
13. Sourdough Bread
Contrary to what you may think, sourdough is not a flavor; it’s actually
the fermentation process where wild yeast and friendly bacteria break
down the gluten and sugar in the wheat flour, turning it into good-for-
you proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The “sour” aspect is the taste
from the wild yeast which comes from the air around you, and will often
vary based on your location. Because the starches from the grains are predigested by the bacteria, this
bread is much easier to digest than other types of over-processed white breads.
14. Green Peas
Probiotics in peas? Japanese researchers say there are! A 2014 study
published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that green peas
contain Leuconostoc mesenteroides, a potent probiotic often associated
with fermentation under low-temperature conditions. The bugs
stimulate your immune system, helping to protect the
mucosal barrier, a.k.a. the body’s second skin, which runs through your digestive tract and is the first line of defense
against bad bugs and toxins. Pass on the canned stuff, but add fresh ones to pasta, salads, and omelets.
15. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is like getting a superhero and a sidekick in just one bar.
That’s because it’s been found to be a source of prebiotics and
probiotics. Prebiotics are a source of food for the microbes in your gut,
which convert the candy into anti-inflammatory compounds,
researchers at the American Chemical Society found. And probiotic
bugs will colonize your belly to assist with digestion and strengthen your belly bugs so you can fix an off-kilter gut.
Chocolate is actually a fermented food. Who knew? To reap the benefits, the ACS researchers recommend a cacao
content of 70 percent or above, consuming about two tablespoons of cocoa powder or three-quarters of an ounce
(usually a square) of a bar.
Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics, which are friendly
bacteria that can improve your health.
Yogurt is made from milk that has been fermented by friendly bacteria,
mainly lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.
Eating yogurt has been associated with many health benefits, including
improved bone health. It is also beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
(漬物, literally “pickled things”) are Japanese preserved vegetables
(usually pickled in salt, brine, or a bed of rice bran). They are served
with rice as an okazu (side dish), with drinks as an otsumami (snack),
as an accompaniment to or garnish for meals, and as a course in the
kaiseki portion of a Japanese tea ceremony.
Tibicos are a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharide biofilm
matrix created by the bacteria. As with kefir grains, the microbes present in tibicos act
in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary
liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon
dioxide gas, which carbonates the drink.
Tibicos are also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese
water crystals and California bees, and in older literature as bébées, African bees,
Australian bees, ginger bees, vinegar bees, bees, Japanese beer seeds, beer seeds, beer plant, ale nuts, Jack’s Magic
Beans, and balm of Gilead.
Ssamjang is a thick, spicy paste used with food wrapped in a leaf in
Korean cuisine. The sauce is made of doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil,
onion, garlic, green onions, and optionally brown sugar.
Smetana is one of the names for a range of sour creams from Central
and Eastern Europe. It is a dairy product produced by souring heavy
cream. It is similar to crème fraîche (28% fat), but nowadays mainly
sold with 10% to 30% milkfat content depending on the country. Its
cooking properties are different from crème fraîche and the lighter sour
creams sold in the US, which contain 12 to 16% butterfat. It is widely used in cooking and baking.
Skyr is an Icelandic cultured dairy product. It has the consistency of
strained yogurt but a much milder flavor. It has been a part of Icelandic
cuisine for over a thousand years.
Skyr has a slightly sour dairy flavor, with a hint of residual sweetness. It is traditionally served cold with milk and a
topping of sugar. Commercial Icelandic manufacturers of skyr have added flavors such as vanilla, berries, etc. to the
final product, to increase its appeal.
Shiokara (塩辛) is a food in Japanese cuisine made from various marine
animals that consists of small pieces of meat in a brown viscous paste of
the animal’s heavily salted, fermented viscera. The raw viscera are
mixed with about 10% salt, 30% malted rice, packed in a closed
container, and fermented for up to a month. Shiokara is sold in glass or
The flavor is similar in saltiness and fishiness to that of European cured anchovies, but with a different texture. One
of the best-known chinmi (“rare tastes”), it is quite strong and is considered something of an acquired taste even for
the native Japanese palate. One method of enjoying it is to consume the serving at one gulp and to follow it with a
shot of straight whisky. Some bars in Japan specialize in shiokara.
Salami is a type of cured sausage consisting of fermented and air-dried meat,
typically beef or pork. Historically,salami was popular among southern and central
European peasants because it stores at room temperature for up to 40 days once cut,
supplementing a potentially meager or inconsistent supply of fresh meat. Countries
and regions across Europe make their own traditional varieties of salami.
Puto is a type of steamed rice cake usually served as snack or as accompaniment to
savory dishes such as dinuguan or pancit in Philippine cuisine and believed to be derived
from Indian puttu of Kerala origin. It is eaten as is or with butter and/or grated fresh
coconut, or as an accompaniment to a number of savoury viands (most notably,
Probiotic Foods Are Incredibly Healthy
There are many super healthy probiotic foods you can eat.
This includes numerous varieties of fermented soybeans, dairy and vegetables.
Probiotics can have powerful effects on health.