Considered a superfood, probiotics are food products fermented by lactic acid bacteria. They play a major role in modulating the gut flora, thereby managing many gut disorders. Yogurt, buttermilk, tempeh, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and cheese are some probiotics that provide various health benefits. It's easy to make them at home.
Probiotics have been the buzzword among the health conscious for quite some time now. Touted as a superfood, probiotics which are food products fermented by lactic acid bacteria, have a lot to offer. Relief from lactose intolerance symptoms and shortening of rotavirus diarrhea are now widely accepted benefits from selected probiotics.1
It has also been suggested that some probiotics can offer relief from inflammatory conditions like ulcerative colitis and pouchitis (is the inflammation of an artificial rectum created in patients who have undergone colectomy or to manage conditions like ulcerative colitis). They are as effective as anti-spasmodic drugs in easing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics play a significant role in our diet because modulating the gut flora plays a significant role in managing acute and chronic gut disorders.2
Your gut is a complex network of gastric acid, bile, intestinal microflora, and some good and bad bacteria. So you want to make sure that there’s more of the good bacteria that can help you maintain a balance. That’s where probiotics come in. Probiotics comes from the fusion of two Greek words – ‘pro’ meaning ‘for’ and ‘biotics’ meaning ‘life’.
Today, stores are flooded with probiotic products – we even have probiotic ice-cream. Yogurt, buttermilk, tempeh, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and cheese are some good sources of probiotics. Live cultures are being added to a variety of foods to make them gut-friendly. But did you think that the only way to get your daily dose is through those supplements and probiotic shots at the supermarket? Well, think again because there are lots of ways to get probiotics into your gut without stepping into the supermarket. Try these natural homemade probiotic foods that you can whip up in your own kitchen.
5 Natural Probiotic Foods For Your Gut
With a diet rich in yogurt, you can be assured of a healthy gut as it balances the intestinal flora. Several studies even report that the natural probiotics in yogurt have a role to play in inhibiting tumor formation.3
It is also useful in chronic liver disease as well and also has a cholesterol-lowering effect.45
How To Make: It’s easy to make yoghurt if you already have some leftover. Just add about 5 tablespoons to 500ml of warm (not hot) milk. If you want to make it from scratch, squeeze a lemon into warm milk and let if ferment overnight.
2. Kimchi Salad
This pungent and spicy Korean salad works as a side dish and is mostly made by fermenting cabbage. It is a good source of lactic acid bacteria, that helps in digestion. Kimchi is anti-cancer, anti-obesity, anti-aging, and anti-constipation. It promotes immunity, brain, and colorectal health and reduces cholesterol.
How To Make: Mix in together one cabbage (cut lengthwise), one-fourth cup salt, and about four cups of water. Let it sit at least three hours or overnight. Drain the cabbage and rinse with cold water. Make a thick paste with one tablespoon water, sugar, pepper flakes, and nori. To the cabbage, add julienned radish, and scallions and grated ginger. Add the paste as well. Mix it in and place it in a glass jar in sunlight. Your kimchi should be ready in 24 hours.
Another wonderful non-dairy source of probiotics is sauerkraut prepared from shredded cabbage fermented by lactic acid. Fermented products like sauerkraut can serve as carriers of probiotic microorganisms.7It is widely relished in European countries as a side dish, alongside burgers and on top of sausages. It has a sour-salty taste.
How To Make: It’s fairly easy and you’ll only need four ingredients. Shred a medium-sized cabbage in a big salad bowl, sprinkle about one and a half spoons of salt and toss for a few minutes. Leave it for about 10 minutes or till it starts leaving some water. You can flavor the sauerkraut with caraway seeds (optional). Put the cabbage into a mason jar along with the water it released. Make sure you choose a jar that is the right size so it fits in tight and snug. Forget about it for three days and enjoy it afterward.
There is good news for cheese lovers. Indulging in this food can give you a probiotic boost. Cheese is a great delivery vehicle for probiotic cultures. It is also loaded with conjugated linoleic acid and bioactive peptides that exhibit health benefits.8But all cheeses might not do the trick. Aged cheeses like Gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar are good sources. Cottage cheese also packs in probiotics and can be easily made at home.
How To Make: Boil some milk, preferably the variety with some fat. While it is still hot, squeeze in some lemon juice. The milk will start to curdle and chunks of cottage cheese will appear. Drain the leftover fluid and tie the cottage cheese tightly in a muslin cloth or cheesecloth to bind it. Add it to your sandwiches, salads, pasta, or sautéed vegetables.
The word for the fermented drink comes from Turkish and means “pleasure” or “good feeling”. It’s quite good for the health too! Studies have shown that kefir has antimicrobial, antitumor, anticarcinogenic, and immunomodulatory activity. It also improves lactose digestion.9
In postmenopausal rats, kefir has also shown improved bone mass and microarchitecture, which are key to bone quality.10
How To Make: Take a glass of whole milk and add one teaspoon of active kefir grains to it. Cover up the glass with a cheesecloth or paper napkin, and secure it with a rubber band. Store it at room temperature away from sunlight. It will be ready in 12–48 hours. Strain out the kefir grains (they can be reused) and drink up.
These are some healthy probiotic foods that you can include in your diet. You can choose them according to your taste.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Ouwehand, Arthur C., Seppo Salminen, and Erika Isolauri. “Probiotics: an overview of beneficial effects.” Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 82, no. 1-4 (2002): 279-289.|
|2.||↑||Fooks, L. J., and G. R. Gibson. “Probiotics as modulators of the gut flora.” British Journal of Nutrition 88, no. S1 (2002): s39-s49.|
|3.||↑||Lourens-Hattingh, Analie, and Bennie C. Viljoen. “Yogurt as probiotic carrier food.” International dairy journal 11, no. 1 (2001): 1-17.|
|4.||↑||Liu, Jun-E., Yan Zhang, Jing Zhang, Pei-Ling Dong, Ming Chen, and Zhong-Ping Duan. “Probiotic yogurt effects on intestinal flora of patients with chronic liver disease.” Nursing research 59, no. 6 (2010): 426-432.|
|5.||↑||Ataie-Jafari, Asal, Bagher Larijani, H. Alavi Majd, and Farideh Tahbaz. “Cholesterol-lowering effect of probiotic yogurt in comparison with ordinary yogurt in mildly to moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects.” Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 54, no. 1 (2009): 22-27.|
|6.||↑||Park, Kun-Young, Ji-Kang Jeong, Young-Eun Lee, and James W. Daily III. “Health benefits of kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables) as a probiotic food.” Journal of medicinal food 17, no. 1 (2014): 6-20.|
|7.||↑||Heller, Knut J. “Probiotic bacteria in fermented foods: product characteristics and starter organisms.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 73, no. 2 (2001): 374s-379s.|
|8.||↑||Hayes, M., M. Coakley, L. O’sullivan, and C. Stanton. “Cheese as a delivery vehicle for probiotics and biogenic substances.” Australian Journal of Dairy Technology 61, no. 2 (2006): 132.|
|9.||↑||Leite, Analy Machado de Oliveira, Marco Antonio Lemos Miguel, Raquel Silva Peixoto, Alexandre Soares Rosado, Joab Trajano Silva, and Vania Margaret Flosi Paschoalin. “Microbiological, technological and therapeutic properties of kefir: a natural probiotic beverage.” Brazilian Journal of Microbiology 44, no. 2 (2013): 341-349.|
|10.||↑||Chen, H-L., Y-T. Tung, C-H. Chuang, M-Y. Tu, T-C. Tsai, S-Y. Chang, and C-M. Chen. “Kefir improves bone mass and microarchitecture in an ovariectomized rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis.” Osteoporosis International 26, no. 2 (2015): 589-599.|