3 Probiotic Foods Your Body Will Thank You For
You probably know by now that your immune system is responsible for strengthening your body’s defenses against viruses and bacteria. There are multiple organs involved in this particular system but around 70 to 80% can be found in your gut or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is made up of the mouth, pharynx (throat), esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus.
Because of this, it is very important that you keep your gut in good shape so your immune system becomes better at fighting germs, viruses, and bacteria.
One way to nourish your gut (and your whole body too) is to “feed” it with probiotics or good bacteria, especially those belonging to the Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium strains. Adding fermented food to your diet is definitely one of the best ways to get Lactobacili probiotics.
In lacto-fermentation, the food is immersed in brine (water and salt) and the Lactobacilli multiply and break down sugar turning it into lactic acid. The lactic acid prevents the overgrowth of undesirable organisms and preserves the food. Here are some fermented food choices that you may be interested in:
- Yogurt: A very popular probiotic-rich food, yogurt is made by adding live bacteria strains to milk such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus.
The fermentation of the milk results in a creamy substance with a unique sour taste that also contains lots of protein and calcium.
Just remember, when buying yogurt, look for brands that contain active or live cultures and contain very little sugar. This way, you get more of the health benefits and none of the additional unnecessary ingredients.
- Kimchi: This well-known spicy and sour traditional Korean dish is made by fermenting vegetables like cabbage, carrots, radish, or cucumber for several days. A mix of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, salt, and other ingredients are added to the brine to give it its distinct flavor.
Aside from good bacteria, kimchi can also be a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, choline, and calcium.
- Sauerkraut: If you are not a fan of spicy food, but are craving for a sour and salty bite, go for sauerkraut that is very popular in European countries. It is made of cabbage just like kimchi but is only submerged in brine without the chili and other additions in kimchi .
Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B6, C, and K, and nutrients like iron, potassium, and fiber.
Aside from these three choices, check out other probiotic food options like miso, kombucha (fermented black or green tea), or natto (fermented soybeans). While it may take a while for you to be acquainted with the flavors of each item, your body will definitely benefit from the many nutrients in probiotic food.