How To Add Probiotics To Your Everyday Meals & Snacks
Check out easy ways to incorporate probiotic food sources into your daily diet to help support your gut health and wellbeing!
From fruity kombucha beverages to probiotic shots and supplements, probiotic products have gained more popularity in recent years amongst health-conscious consumers. You've also probably seen the word probiotic being tossed around various media platforms. This wide interest can be due to the growing research about the link between probiotics, gut health and disease management.
If you are wondering what probiotics exactly are, they are live bacteria and/or yeast like the ones in naturally in our gut that promote a thriving digestive system. Also known as the "friendly" bacteria, they can help balance out the "bad" bacteria in our gut. A dysbiosis or imbalance of our gut microbiota has been linked to diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and even mood disorders. Consuming probiotics has been linked to reduced inflammation, improved digestion, immune system support and overall wellness.
Food sources and supplements are both ways to get a dose of these beneficial bacteria. But in this post, I'll be focusing on easy ways to incorporate popular probiotic food sources into everyday meals and snacks. Probiotics are commonly found in dairy, kefir, pickled veggies and soy products that are fermented. Check out some easy ways to incorporate these food sources into your diet below.
Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that is loaded with probiotics to support gut health. It is similar to yogurt but has more of a sour taste and thin consistency. Kefir is also known as the "champagne of milk" due to its fizziness from natural carbonation. A quick way to include this beverage into meals or snacks is to simply drink it with your breakfast or as part of your daily snack. You can also add it to smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, homemade salad dressings, and even in curry dishes. Kefir can also be a replacement for milk or water in some baking recipes!
Sauerkraut is a popular probiotic source that translates to "sour cabbage" in German and is commonly used as a side, topping or condiment. It is crunchy and tangy, perfect for adding some flavor to several dishes. It can be a great addition to salads, sandwiches, wraps, stir fries, baked potatoes, tacos, egg salad, or breakfast avocado toast. Sauerkraut can be found at most grocery stores but is also simple make at home since it typically requires two ingredients-salt and fresh shredded cabbage. It is important to note that sauerkraut can have a higher salt content so limiting or avoiding it can be necessary if you follow a low-sodium diet.
This nutrient-rich Indonesian staple made with fermented soybeans is another great way to get a dose of some good-for-you probiotics. Tempeh is commonly used as a meat replacement in plant-based diets due to its high protein content(just 3 ounces can have 17 grams of protein). It has a nutty taste but can easily take on the flavors of any dish you add it to. Tempeh can be grilled, sautéed, and even baked. I typically like to marinate it and bake it to use in recipes like stir fries, chili, tempeh tacos, wraps and salads. Another creative way to enjoy them is to make tempeh baked "fries" and to dunk them in a creamy flavorful dip like my Creamy Hummus Dip.
Fermented Dairy and Dairy-Free Yogurt
Yogurt is a common and simple way to incorporate probiotics into your daily diet. But, if you are looking for alternatives to dairy-based products, fermented dairy-free alternatives can be a great choice too. These products are often soy, coconut, oat, or almond based with probiotic bacteria added to them. When shopping for nutritious yogurt options, selecting ones that have less added sugars and minimal ingredients can be a better pick. You can enjoy these yogurts for a snack or as part of a homemade smoothie, parfait, chia pudding, soups, stews and in dips!
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