Foods That Contain Probiotics

Probiotics offer plenty benefits for your health. That is why it is recommended that you include them in your everyday diet. Read this article to learn the best food sources of probiotic bacteria.

Probiotics can be found in many fermented foods. Most commonly known are dairy products, such as yogurt, soft cheeses, and kefir.

When you consume probiotic bacteria, they travel through your digestive tract. During this passage, they are exposed to stomach acid, digestion enzymes, and bile in the small intestine. Dairy products provide a buffer against digestive juices and are able to protect probiotic bacteria to a certain degree. This enables at least some of the bacteria to get where they are needed.

Other foods that are made by fermentation include sauearkraut, kimchi, and other fermented vegetables.

When you are buying probiotic foods, look for the words raw, unpasteurized, or lacto-fermented on the label. This indicates that the bacteria are likely alive and haven't been killed off in the production process. Usually, such foods need to be kept in the refrigerator. So, if you find, for example, sauerkraut on the unrefrigerated shelf, it has most likely been pasteurized.

Top Probiotic Foods


Yogurt is probably the most well known probiotic product.

When you are deciding which yogurt to buy, look for the 'Live and active' seal. This seal was created by the National Yogurt Association and means that the product contains at least 100 million live cultures per gram of yogurt. Carefully check the label to see which other ingredients the product contains. Try to stay away from high sugar and fructose corn yogurts, and yogurts filled with artificial flavors and sweeteners.


Miso is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a special kind of fungus, called kojikin. Miso is often produced with additional ingredients, such as rye, barley or rice.

It is a traditional Japanese seasoning and an important part of macrobiotic cooking. It has a very salty and sharp flavor, and is commonly used to make a great tasting, low calorie miso soups.

Miso is a digestive regulator that is supposed to contain more than 160 probiotic bacteria strains. It also contains plenty of minerals, vitamins (especially B vitamins), and is rich in antioxidants.


Sauerkraut is made from fermented cabbage. It has a long history and it is believed that it was brought to Europe by Mongolian Genghis Khan. Sailors used to took it with them on long sea journeys as it helps prevent scurvy (a disease caused by lack of vitamin C).

Sauerkraut is rich in probiotic cultures. It gets its distinctive sour flavor from lactic bacteria, involved in its fermentation.

Sauerkraut also has lots of vitamins, including vitamin C, A, E, and B. When you are buying sauerkraut, look for unpasteurized sort that is kept in the refrigerated area of the store.


Kefir is sort of a cross between milk and yogurt. The origins of kefir can be traced back to shepherds that lived and worked in the area around the Caucasus Mountains.

Kefir is made from goat, cow or sheep milk. It has a creamy texture and sour, tangy taste. It is usually made with kefir grains that are high in Lactobacilli in Bifidobacteria .

When you are choosing kefir, look for the raw, organic type. You can get it in plain or flavored version; always check the label to see all the ingredients.


Kombucha is fermented dark tea, which is high in healthy probiotic bacteria. It is believed that drinking kombucha helps with digestion and increases energy.


Pickles are also a great source of probiotics. Look for naturally fermented pickles, which were processed without vinegar. These pickles are usually fermented in salt and water solution that promotes the growth of probiotic bacteria.


Tempeh is traditional soy product from Indonesia. It is made from fermented soybeans, high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and beneficial bacteria.

Tempeh can be marinated and eaten baked or grilled. Prepared this way it serves as an excellent substitute for meat. Tempeh has a specific flavor, which is often described as smoky or earthy.


Kimchi is another popular Asian dish, which is actually a form of sauerkraut. It is a very spicy and sour fermented cabbage, commonly served as a side dish.

Kimchi is often made with salt, vinegar, chilli peppers, and garlic. It contains plenty probiotic bacteria, along with various vitamins, including vitamin A, B group vitamins, vitamins C; and minerals, such as iron and calcium.

If you don’t mind the spicy taste, Kimchi is one of the best options of adding probiotics to your diet.

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is bread made with fermented dough. It has a slightly sour taste, which is a result of lactic bacteria and yeasts involved in the process.

Sourdough bread is made with a starter culture, which is then mixed with fresh water and flour and left for some time to ferment. Some leave it for only a couple of hours; others wait days before they bake the bread.


Ripened cheese is a great probiotic product. Research shows that many probiotic strains found in cheese survive the journey through the digestive tract.

For cheese to contain probiotic bacteria, it needs to be made from unpasteurized, raw milk. Types of cheese that are good sources of probiotic bacteria include soft cheeses (such as Gauda and Edam) and hard cheeses (such as Emmentaler, Gruyere, and Cheddar).

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