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Probiotics are a good bacteria that help maintain a natural balance in the intestines and protects us from harmful bacteria.  Probiotics protects us in two ways: firstly, by keeping our digestive tract healthy by replacing the lost beneficial bacteria and through our immune system, and secondly, they help maintain the correct balance of good bacteria to prevent  allergic reactions or autoimmune disorders. The good news is you can find these good bacterias in 5 awesome fermented/vegan foods!

Check out these great options add more probiotics to your diet and keep your insides feeling fantastic….

1.  Sauerkraut

It is the superfood of probiotics…no wonder German’s eat so much of it.  Sauerkraut is made in a similar process to yogurt, through fermentation.  The process works by the lactic acid bacteria digesting the sugar of the cabbage — this process makes the cabbage healthier and more digestible than in its original state. Cabbage in its raw form contains substances called ‘goitrogens’ that can block the production of thyroid hormone, but goitrogens are reduced or eliminated through the fermentation process.  Another ‘bonus’ is it is higher in B vitamins than cabbage, particularly in vitamin B12, making it great for those consuming a plant-based diet.

2.  Miso

Miso is a staple in Japanese cuisine that is made by fermenting soybeans, rice or barley.  The most common strain of probiotic bacteria found in miso is lactic acid and lactobacillus. Miso contains enzymes that provide chemical by-products that prevent overgrowth of bad bacteria in the intestinal tract. Miso is an effective probiotic because of its low pH; it is able to get past the stomach acid intact allowing for the active probiotics to effectively enter the small intestine.  Miso generates B vitamins and vitamin K in the small intestine and helps to regulate the gastrointestinal tract.  Check out these Asian inspired recipes for your next lunch Roasted Garlic Miso and Greens Soup and an Asian Slaw Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing

 3.  Non-Dairy Kefir

Kefir is a popular health drink in Finland, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. Traditionally, Kefir is produced by adding kefir grains to milk and letting the mixture ferment for a day. However, there is non-dairy kefir as well that can be made from sugary water, coconut water and fruit juice.  Check out these yummy recipes with kefir…Mango Lassi and a Green Smoothie !!

4.  Kimchi

Kimchi is a spicy Korean condiment similar to sauerkraut that is made from cabbage, veggies and chilies.  Most kimchi is made with seafood, but you can make your own veggie kimchi as well. Kimchi contains the bacterium called lactobacillus kimchi as well as other lactic acid bacteria that are beneficial to our gastrointestinal as well as immune systems. Give these Kimchi Fried Rice Balls a try!!!

5.  Kombucha

Kombucha is a raw, fermented, probiotic, and naturally carbonated tea.  It is made with water, tea, sugar and a fermenting culture called symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) It is rich in amino-acids, probiotics, antioxidants, glucuronic acid, trace minerals, B vitamins…it is a living, enzyme-rich drink. Most kombucha products are raw and organic.  Here is a great recipe on how to make your own kombucha!!

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