When it comes to health, having your gut in tip-top shape is paramount. If you didn’t know, your gut flora — the trillions of bacteria that live in your intestines — plays an important role in not only metabolizing nutrients from the food we eat but also in providing a barrier against infections and preventing diseases from developing. Among other issues, the presence of good bacteria strengthens our immune system, helps ward off cancer, heart disease, as well as autoimmune diseases.
When the balance between the good and less good bacteria in our gut is out of whack, we can start including probiotic foods in our diets to re-establish our flora to optimum levels. Probiotics are essentially the name given to all the beneficial bacteria our digestive system thrives on. While these are commonly found in dairy-based products, many plant-foods contain them also. Here are a few delicious options of probiotic foods that your gut and taste buds will love!
If you’re unfamiliar with kimchi, it’s time you get acquainted. This Korean fermented dish is made with Nappa cabbage, or cucumber, and a whole lot of delicious spice! As a fermented food, it’s packed with gut-healthy probiotics and it’s also full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from the cabbage.
If you want to get your hands on some kimchi, know that it’s traditionally made with shrimp paste — so watch out for that. You can also check out our guide on How to Make Your Own Kimchi at home. Then, you can add your fresh kimchi to a variety of dishes. Try this Kimchi Poutine, Kimchi Chigae: Korean Kimchi Stew, and this Kimchi Pancake, or these Kimchi Mushroom Burgers, and these Gochujang Kimchi Sausages for a delicious meal. Check out these 15 Gut-Healthy Vegan Recipes Featuring Kimchi also!
Sauerkraut, similarly to kimchi, is made with fermented cabbage. However, this probiotic-rich food is not spicy — it’s traditionally seasoned with salt only — thus it’s perfect for less spice-tolerant palates. The cabbage in sauerkraut is left in an aquatic environment over the course of several weeks during which gut-healthy bacteria proliferate. This process is what makes sauerkraut the ideal food for people with a slow digestion as the abundance of bacteria helps our bodies digest proteins more efficiently.
Want to start including sauerkraut in your daily diet? Make your own at home — the process is easy and cheap! Then try these Chickpea Sauerkraut Salad Wraps, this Kraut-Stuffed Pretzel Cannoli, this Roasted Broccoli and Sauerkraut Quesadilla and this Tempeh Reuben Sandwich. These delicious recipes will quickly become part of your weekly meal rotation!
This trendy drink, made with tea leaves, bacteria, yeast, and sugar, not only gives you a nice buzz similar to the effects of caffeine, but it also works wonders for your digestive system. The benefits of kombucha are derived from the fermentation of sugared tea with the symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast. These good bacteria help with our digestion and strengthen our immune system as well. Kombucha’s positive effects don’t stop there — the tea is also said to ward off parasites, prevent cancers, and cardiovascular disease! How amazing is that?
You can get your hands on kombucha in most grocery stores and health food shops or make your own at home. You can also give this delicious Lychee and Kombucha Spritz and this Fizzy Coconut, Lime and Mint Kombucha Elixir a try. We promise you won’t regret it!
Yogurt is one of the first foods to come to mind when we’re talking probiotics, but alas, dairy-free versions still aren’t the norm. We’re here to change that, because dairy-free yogurts, like this 4-Ingredient Probiotic Oat Yogurt, this Homemade Probiotic Cashew Yogurt, and these Probiotic Blueberry Yogurt Bites, are not only easy to make, crazy delicious, and cheap, but they’re amazing for your gut! Made with probiotic capsules, dairy-free yogurts are just as good as regular ones for keeping your gut flora at an optimal level of healthy bacteria.
Tempeh is an Indonesian dish made from fermented soybeans. As such, it has all the benefits that fermentation brings to your gut — it brings healthy bacteria to your flora. Tempeh is also highly nutritious, it’s high in manganese, copper, fiber, protein, phosphorous, and vitamin B2. Fermented soybeans help you lower your cholesterol levels and build stronger bones as well.
Not sure how to prepare tempeh? Check out Tempeh: a High-Protein, Fermented Meat Substitute to find out more. Then try these delicious Korean Tempeh Steaks, these Balsamic BBQ Seitan and Tempeh Ribs, or this Tempeh and Mushroom Bourguignon. You can also try making any of these 26 Tempting Tempeh Recipes You’ll Love.
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting rice, barley, or soybeans mixed with salt and fungus. Adding miso into your cooking regularly will help you create an optimal balance of the bacteria in your gut. This Japanese seasoning will also contribute to keeping your immune system strong because of the phenolic acids it contains — those are powerful antioxidants that fight free-radicals.
Miso is great in comforting soups which are perfect for fall. Try these Raw Instant Miso Soup Bombs, this Raw Creamy Mushroom Soup with Avocado and Miso, and this Miso Soup With Garlicky Lentils, Kale, and Mushrooms for a cozy evening meal. Soups, not your thing? Give this Miso Sesame Kale Bowl-ed Over, Sweet Potato Noodles With Miso Sauce, and this Asian Slaw Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing a try instead. You won’t regret it!
There’s nothing better than a freshly baked loaf of bread, especially as an accompaniment to a comforting stew or soup. Thankfully for us, sourdough bread is not only delicious, it can also help our digestion. How? Well, sourdough bread is made with a lactic acid starter that contains strains of lactobacillus, which puts the right kind of bacteria into our gut flora. Sourdough is also considered one of the healthiest options when it comes to bread because it doesn’t spike your glucose and insulin levels.
Want to reap the benefits of sourdough? Make this Whole Wheat Sourdough Boule, or this Rye Sourdough Bread. You could also try this Whole Wheat Sourdough Pizza Crust, Sourdough Bread Stuffing, Injera: Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread With Spiced Stew, or these delicious Sourdough Pretzels.
Concerned about gut-health and want to find more delicious recipes featuring probiotics? Then these articles might interest you:
- You Don’t Need Dairy Yogurt to Get Probiotics – Try These 15 Vegan Recipes!
- Probiotics: Health Benefits and Plant-based Options
- What to Look for in a Probiotic
- 7 Natural Ways to Boost Your Gut Health at Every Meal
- The Best Prebiotic Foods for Optimal Digestive Health
- 15 Unique Snacks That Provide Your Daily Dose of Probiotics
- Top 5 Fermented Foods to Eat to Build a Healthy Gut
- Eat for a Happy Gut: 12 Probiotic-Rich Products You Should Buy
If you want to find more gut-friendly snacks and recipes, we also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead Image Source: 4-Ingredient Probiotic Oat Yogurt