Among all bacteria, few of them can actually help to improve our health. They can improve our digestion, immunity, and skin while reducing the risk of several heart diseases. Some of them also help to lose weight and have a healthy diet. So, instead of avoiding them, you have to let them into your body for better health.

Foods that contain such healthy bacteria are called probiotic food. We consume the live microorganisms that are inside the food to get health benefits. These bacteria are beneficial for your body and promote better health.

Here are the top 8 probiotic foods with in-depth details on how they can be healthy for you.

1. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is rich in nutrients and made by the bacterial fermentation of milk. It is indeed one of the best sources of probiotics that can help you to improve your health by giving many health benefits, like:

  • It treats high blood pressure and gastrointestinal disorders
  • It helps improve bone health
  • Provides relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Suitable for people with lactose intolerance

However, not all yoghurt has live probiotics because it is often killed during the processing, and even if you buy low fat labelled yoghurt, it may have unhealthy added sugar. So, make sure to choose the yoghurt that has active or live cultures to get its probiotic benefits.

2. Pickles

Pickles are cucumbers that are mixed with salted water and left for ferment. It becomes sour in the fermentation process due to the presence of lactic acid. 

They are good for the digestive system and contain Vitamin K, low calories, and antioxidants that help fight the harmful bacterias in your body. 

However, it is recommended to make fermented pickles in your diet at a moderate level as it has high sodium that could lead to high blood pressure. Also, pickles prepared with vinegar do not have probiotic properties – so make sure to look into ingredients while picking prickles for you.

3. Kefir

Just like milk, Kefir is a great source to strengthen bones and the digestive system as it contains protein, calcium and vitamin D. It can also slow down the growth of bacteria that may harm your health. 

You can enjoy Kefir in smoothies and blended drinks. It is a grain mixed with cultured milk and yeast for the fermentation process. During this process, its structure changes making it easier to digest.

Despite all the benefits, Kefir can cause side effects like nausea, constipation and intestinal cramping in the beginning days. If it continues for the long term, then you should try Kefir with any non-dairy fluids (such as water or fruit juice).

4. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is shredded cabbage with a sour taste and is often used as a side dish or topping for sausages. It is thinly sliced, salted, sealed, and can be stored for at least four months during the fermentation process. 

Sauerkraut is an excellent source of nutrients, vitamins, iron, and antioxidants properties that are good for your eyesight and digestive system. It has a strong influence on your immune system and lets you recover faster if you are sick.

Although, overeating sauerkraut can lead you to short-term side effects such as bloating because of water retention, or your blood pressure can be higher as it is salty. So, you’ll have to check your health and then plan how much sodium you will take in a day.

5. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and is listed as one of the high probiotic vegan foods among others. It is slightly sweet and has a nutty flavour while having a cake-like texture. 

There are various ways in which you can either cook, marinate or bake tempeh. It is treated as a substitute for high protein meat as its fermentation produces vitamin B12 in an amount that is required to maintain optimal health.

Just to be safe, you should talk to a professional healthcare provider about eating tempeh if you have any thyroid disorder. Some studies have shown some concerns that soy may affect how your thyroid functions. 

6. Kimchi

Kimchi is a popular Korean side dish, which can be added to anything from sandwiches to noodle bowls. It is made up of many fermented vegetables mixed with spicy seasonings. 

Just the cabbage used in preparing Kimchi contains vitamin K, riboflavin and iron. While the lactic acid of the other ingredients of Kimchi makes your digestive system healthy, reduces the resistance to insulin and lowers cholesterol level. 

Since it’s spicy and salty, it is for your own good that you keep the seasoning at a moderate level when preparing Kimchi to gain its probiotic benefits instead of getting high blood pressure, stroke, or other heart diseases. 

7. Cheese

The good bacteria that are healthy for your body survive the ageing process of some specific cheese types: gouda, mozzarella, parmesan, swiss, cheddar, and cottage cheese. They are labelled as live and active culture cheese. 

Cheese is highly nutritious with necessary proteins, vitamins and minerals. It has calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium, which is good for bone and heart health.

However, cheese contains lactose, a sugar that lactose-intolerant people can’t digest. Too much lactose can lead to digestive problems, including bloating and gas. But fortunately, some cheeses are very low in lactose, such as parmesan. So make sure to look into the lactose level of the kind of cheese you decide to take in your diet. 

8. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is prepared with either black or green tea. It tastes like regular tea with a bit of tart flavour and contains an appropriate amount of probiotics, having a wide range of health benefits. 

It detoxifies your system, aids digestion, soothes your gut and boosts your immune system. Additionally, it decreases blood sugar, protects the liver, controls cholesterol levels and stops the spread of cancer cells in your body. It also reduces a certain type of fat found in blood, triglycerides, and can control two types of diabetes.

However, too much kombucha consumption can lead you to experience digestive stress due to high sugar and calorie intake. So you need to follow a proper diet plan. Another concern is, it is caffeinated and slightly alcoholic, so there is a chance that you might feel a bit dizzy. So make sure to drink kombucha when you are not driving or doing anything that needs your attention. 

Final Thoughts

Probiotic foods are incredibly great for the digestive system, blood pressure, cholesterol, immune system, eyesight, bones, and other various health benefits. However, you need to be aware of your medical condition to avoid its side effects. 

P.S: Having a proper diet schedule is definitely a better plan for maintaining a healthy probiotic diet!