Top probiotic foods for a healthy gut.
Most of us have heard of bacteria in the wrong limelight, but it must be noted that some bacteria are, in fact, good for our health. Ever heard of probiotics? Thanks to their incredible health benefits, probiotics have been recently gaining a lot of popularity. Being a friendly kind of bacteria, probiotics work toward keeping your gut healthy and well functioning.
Apart from keeping your gut happy, these friendly bacteria have numerous health benefits, like weight loss, enhanced immune function, better-looking skin, and a reduced risk of contracting many diseases.
Where to get these probiotics from?
Even in the category of probiotics, there are many types. Forget taking supplements or pills, you can actually consume food that has a concentrated content of various probiotics. This makes these bacteria accessible and easy to consume, making it even more attractive to our diet.
Made from lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria, fermented milk is commonly known as yogurt and is great for digestion and the treatment of diarrhea. You can make yogurt at home, but for any fermentation process, one of the main ingredients to have is an active culture.
To make your own, all you need is a tablespoon of yogurt with active culture—also called a yogurt starter—and some milk. Boil the milk, take it off the heat, and let it cool down to lukewarm temperature.
Once lukewarm, shift the milk into a big bowl and mix one tablespoon of yogurt starter in it. Keep this mixture away in a warm place and let it sit for 9-12 hours. Your homemade yogurt is ready!
Kimchi is a staple dish made in almost every Korean household! It is usually made from fermented cabbage, though other vegetables can also be used. The fermentation process is activated due to the presence of lactobacillus kimchii bacteria, which benefits digestive health.
Kimchi is usually easily available in stores, but you can even try making this at home. It is a long process, so if you are the one with patience, you can give this a shot!
Another cabbage-based probiotic food, sauerkraut is popular in many European countries. Just like kimchi, this is fermented cabbage but does not have a complex recipe, added spices, or other ingredients.
To make sauerkraut at home, chop or shred a medium-sized cabbage into thin, fine slices and add some salt. All you have to do now is knead this mixture until the cabbage starts giving out a liquid; this process takes quite a bit of energy! Once there is enough liquid to cover the product, stuff this cabbage into a jar
Press the cabbage so that it’s completely covered in the liquid. You may add some water, if needed,
shut the lid, and keep this jar away for two weeks to fermentation.
You can sauerkraut this with regular food, or munch on it if you don’t mind the distinct, pungent taste.
Also written as kephir, this drink has its roots in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus region. It is made using kefir grains and cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast that look similar to grated cauliflower. Kefir grains are added to cow or goat milk and fermented for a few hours, giving the milk a thin, yogurt texture.
Kefir is great for bone and gut health as well as helps prevent infections. One of the biggest advantages is that kefir can also be consumed by those who are lactose intolerant.
Gaining popularity in recent years, kombucha is fermented black or green tea. This Asian drink is gaining a lot of traction in western countries owing to its health benefits.
Just like with yogurt, kombucha needs a live culture called SCOBY, i.e., Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Making this drink at home can be tedious and takes at least 10 days if you already have the SCOBY. Otherwise, you can easily purchase this over the counter!
Too much of anything is never good, even if its health benefits are tremendous. So, consume these bacteria in moderation. If you notice any allergies or reactions, consult your doctor and let him or her know about this addition in your diet. Cheers to a happy, healthy gut!