Probiotics are an important component of every diet. These little bugs are responsible for maintaining the health of the stomach and intestines. Many adults are guilty of eating a low-probiotic diet, which results in many digestive issues.
Here you’ll find a list of the eight best natural sources of probiotics to create harmony in your intestines and improve the overall health of your body.
1. Dark Chocolate
This is great news for you chocolate lovers! Pure dark chocolate is rich not only in probiotics but in prebiotics as well, both of which help normalize the tumultuous situation inside your stomach. To get the most benefits you’ll need to find chocolate that is 70% cacao or higher, and a small square is usually enough to provide all the benefits.
2. Green Peas
Here’s one more reason to eat your veggies. A study published in 2014 in Journal of Applied Microbiology showed that green peas contain a potent probiotic called Leuconostoc mesenteroides. This particular probiotic actually stimulates your immune system and bolsters the body’s mucosal layer that runs through the digestive tract. Because canned veggies often contain excess salt and other ingredients, try adding some fresh green peas to your diet as often as possible.
Like with many other fermented foods, sauerkraut is rich in probiotics. If you can find the unpasteurized stuff, you’ll be able to get more probiotics out of a serving of the hot-dog topping than you even would in a serving of unpasteurized yogurt. This Lactobacillus bacteria increases the amount of healthy flora in your digestive tract, improving your overall immunity. For the most benefits make sure you find a product that has been fermented and has not been pasteurized.
4. Green Olives
Olives undergo a natural fermentation process when they are salt-water brined, and this is what gives them their unique flavor when you dive into that jar of green olives. These green olives contain two different live cultures, both of which have been shown to not only regulate the bacteria situation in your gut but to also reduce bloat and promote a flatter stomach.
Perhaps the most classic fermented vegetable, pickles also offer probiotic benefits. To get the benefits, however, make sure you pick up pickles that are actually fermented, and not just soaked in vinegar and then canned. It is the fermenting process that actually promotes the growth of these live cultures, so be aware that if you go with a pickled pickle option, you will get little to no probiotic benefits.
6. Beet Kvass
Kvass is a fermented drink that hails from Russia. Beet Kvass makes for a potent bacteria beverage and it also contains high amounts of potassium and dietary fiber. If you search high and low for beet Kvass to no avail, you can easily make your own at home.
This effervescent fermented tea drink will help keep your belly happy. Again, make sure that you get an unpasteurized version (even if that means you have to make it yourself at home) as the pasteurized versions often found on the grocery store shelf will offer no probiotic benefits.
Combining fermented cabbage, radishes, and scallions, kimchi is an Asian dish with a distinctive red coloring. Kimchi contains a unique strand of probiotics called Lactobacillus Brevis, which may help you lose weight in addition to healing your gut, according to research done in Korea at Kyung Hee University.
Probiotics are an important part of your diet and are crucial to keeping your entire body healthy. If your current diet is less than stellar or you believe you don’t get as many probiotics as you should, try adding one or some of these probiotic-rich foods to your diet. You’ll soon notice a happier gut and you’ll likely feel better overall.