Probiotic are live microorganisms that have health benefits when consumed. They are also known as “live culture” or “active culture”. These probiotic foods are consumed to improve digestive health, reduce depression and promote good heart health. Probiotics are microorganisms naturally present in the digestive tract that helps in digestion and reduce inflammation.
Common types of probiotics include Bifidobacterium, lactobacillus, Saccharomyces boulardii. There are dairy and non-dairy products which are rich sources of probiotics. Dairy products which include aged cheese (cheddar, mozzarella), kefir, yogurt are good sources of probiotic, but not all dairy products are probiotics. Some of the non-dairy products which are good sources of probiotics include sour dill pickles, kimchi, kombucha, miso, natto, sauerkraut, tempeh and brine cured olives.
Replacing meals with probiotic food can be done by consuming breakfast with yoghurt combined with berries, flax seeds and nuts.
In morning, instead of tea one should switch to probiotic rich beverages such as kefir or kombucha. Sauerkraut can be served as side dish. Instead of vegetable soup drink black bean soup with miso and ginger.
Although there are some misconceptions about probiotic foods and if some category of food contains probiotics, it does not mean all food of that source will contain probiotic. Probiotic foods are clearly marked for example all yoghurt does not contain live and active cultures. Beer, chocolate, sour dough, soya sauce, wine do not in every case contain any probiotic and it’s a misconception among people that these foods contain probiotics.
These live cultures are inactivated by additional processing such as baking, filtering or pasteurization.
By consuming probiotic foods some people may experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, gas etc. These can be minimized by adding two new foods to your diet on weekly basis, and anyone consuming special diet due to preexisting medical condition should consult a doctor before eating live and active cultures.
Always read food labels carefully to ensure that food contain live and active cultures or when you try any supplement.