Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. The body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. Probiotic foods line your gut and are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system.
There are many super healthy probiotic foods you can eat. We’ve put together a list of the top 5 probiotic foods to help keep your gut healthy, keep you regular, improve digestion and boost your immunity.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar. Kombucha is also said to help with mental clarity and mood stability, and decreasing symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety. Try this recipe from iFOODreal.
- 14 cups water
- 1 cup organic cane sugar (not honey or coconut sugar)
- 2 tbsp. loose leaf black or green tea (preferably organic)
- Kombucha SCOBY
- 2 cups previously brewed kombucha (from a jar with SCOBY)
- In a large pot, bring water to boil and turn off heat. Add tea and sugar, stir and let cool completely.
- Place in a sink filled with cold water to speed things up or let sit overnight.
- In a glass beverage dispenser, add kombucha Scoby and 2 cups of previously made kombucha.
- Pour cooled tea on top using a mesh strainer.
- Cover with a paper towel secured with a rubber band and put in a place with temperatures above 21C or 70F (I leave mine on a kitchen counter) to ferment for 14 days. It is OK if scoby isn’t floating at the top (it will later).
- After 7 days (less in summer) start tasting kombucha. If it isn’t sweet, has a tangy taste, fizzes as you pour and the scoby is floating at the top, then your kombucha is ready.
- Pour using a funnel into air-tight cap bottles
Kefir is a fermented beverage that tastes a like a yogurt drink. It has a tart flavor with a creamy texture, and it’s loaded with probiotic health benefits. This recipe from Genius Kitchen is great!
- 1 tbsp. kefir, grains (looks like little pieces of cauliflower)
- 1 quart whole milk
- Put kefir in a glass jar and fill almost full with the whole milk (organic, non-pasteurized is preferable).
- Cover with a clean cloth and place on the counter.
- Wait 1 to 2 days, stirring periodically with a plastic spoon (not metal).
- When thick, strain out the kefir grains with a plastic strainer. Don’t smash the grains.
- Place grains in a clean jar and repeat.
You can cut down the tang of the kefir by ‘2nd fermenting’:
- After removing grains, put 1-2 slices of lemon or lime peel or a vanilla bean back in the jar with the kefir.
- Cover and let sit on counter another day.
- After removing the peel/bean, taste the kefir.
- If it is to your liking, then cover with a plastic lid and put in fridge until ready to drink.
- If not, let sit a little longer with the peel/bean.
Sauerkraut is one of the healthiest probiotic foods you can have. Draxe have an easy to follow recipe.
- 1 large head of shredded cabbage
- 3 tbsp. pickling salt
- 1 tbsp. caraway seeds
- In a large bowl, mix cabbage with 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Massage the cabbage to release juices.
- Leave for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle remaining salt on the cabbage as well as caraway seeds.
- Pack cabbage mixture into a large glass food container.
- Top with a quartered onion to fit inside the container, weighing it down.
- Cover container with a lid.
- Place in a cool spot overnight on a plate.
- Make sure the sauerkraut is completely submerged in liquid.
- Check cabbage every other day for 2 weeks, skimming off of any scum that may form on the surface.
- Let stand for at least 4 weeks in total.
- Then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Yogurt is one of the oldest and most popular fermented foods. Cooking NY Times has a delicious recipe you can make at home.
- 2 quarts whole milk, the fresher the better
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
- 3 to 4 tbsp. plain whole milk yogurt with live and active cultures
- Rub an ice cube over the inside bottom of a heavy pot to prevent scorching (or rinse the inside of the pot with cold water).
- Add milk and cream, if using, and bring to a light simmer, until bubbles form around the edges.
- Stir the milk occasionally as it heats.
- Remove pot from heat and let cool until it feels pleasantly warm
- Stirring the milk frequently so it cools evenly.
- Transfer 1/2 cup of warm milk to a small bowl and whisk in yogurt until smooth. Stir yogurt-milk mixture back into the remaining pot of warm milk.
- Cover pot with a large lid.
- Keep pot warm by wrapping it in a large towel.
- Let yogurt sit for 6 to 12 hours until the yogurt is thick and tangy
- The longer it sits, the thicker and tangier it will become.
- Transfer the pot to the refrigerator and chill for at least another 4 hours
1.) Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a healthy probiotic food in a bottle everyone’s talking about it. This ACVrecipe by Wellness Mamais definitely one to try.
- Organic apple scraps – enough to fill your jar 3/4 of the way full
- Organic cane sugar
- Filtered water
- Clean your jar very well and let air dry.
- Fill jar 3/4 full with apple scraps. If you are using whole apples, roughly chop them up before you put them in the jar.
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon cane sugar into 1 cup of water. You need to use enough to completely cover the apples.
- Pour sugar water over the apples until they are completely submerged.
- Weigh down the apples with a fermentation weight or with the small glass jar. Any apples that are exposed to the air could mold.
- Cover with the cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with the rubber band.
- Store in a dark place that stays pretty consistently at room temperature.
- Leave it for approximately 3 weeks.
- Check on it every few days to make sure the apples are staying under the water and to make sure no mold is growing.
- After 3 weeks, it will still smell fairly sweet.
- Strain the apple pieces out and return the liquid to the jar. (Compost the scraps.)
- Recover and put the jar back in a dark spot for another 3-4 weeks, stirring every few days.
- When the ACV has reached the “tartness” you like you can put a lid on it or transfer it to a different jar with a lid and start using it!
If you try any of these recipes tell us in the comments below or share your pics with us on social media — tag @topfivecom and #top5probiotics.