Probiotics, also known as the good bacteria, help the body absorb important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron and vitamins A, D, E and K, from food. According to a recent study published in the Hypertion journal, people who eat probiotics usually have lower blood pressure reading as compared with those who do not. Studies have also suggested that foods rich in probiotics can reduce several common problems such as gas, diarrhea and other digestive problems. Incorporate these natural food sources of probiotics in your diet to boost intestinal as well as overall health.
Kefir, derived from Turkish word 'keif' which means feeling good, is a fermented dairy product made with a combination of cow’s milk and kefir grains. Kefir grains are the symbiotic culture of yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria. It is also a great source of calcium and antioxidants. The antioxidants transfer electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent that can prevent or slow cell damage.
Sauerkraut, a condiment used as a side dish, is usually made from fermented cabbage though it can also be made with other vegetables. It is not only loaded with vitamins like B, A, E and C but it also reduced severity of allergy symptoms. Pasteurized sauerkraut, however, lacks the necessary probiotics.
Yogurt, one of the most well-known foods high in probiotics, has good bacteria like lactobacillus that can help maintain a healthy balance in your gut. Yogurt is prepared from bacterial fermentation of milk and is considered to be a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B2 and B12, potassium and magnesium. Regular consumption of yogurt can prevent osteoporosis, colon cancer and vaginal infection and reduce blood pressure, constipation and diarrhea. Yogurt is one of the readily available foods.
Salty pickles prepared from sea salt and water instead of vinegar also contain a lot of probiotics. Don't expect pickles made from vinegar to offer any probiotics as vinegar doesn't allow good bacteria to grow. Add sour pickles to your plate to spice your food up as well as to get benefits of probiotics.
It may sound hard to believe, but some breads can also offer healthy probiotics. For example, San Francisco's famous Sourdough bread contains lactobacillus and is low in the glycemic-index, which keeps you fuller for longer periods of time. So, even your bread can be loaded with probiotics.
Kimchi, a spicy and sour traditional Korean side dish, is made from cucumber, radish or cabbage and can also offer ample probiotics. Some recent studies have associated kimchi consumption with immune system regulation. Being mostly pickled vegetables, it is also a great source of fiber.
Kombucha is a sweet liquid prepared by fermenting black tea with a mushroom-like colony of bacteria called Scoby. If the label on the bottle of Kombucha says that it contains probiotics, take it home with you.
Miso, a popular Asian seasoning is prepared by fermenting soybeans with brown rice. The fermentation process makes miso quite rich in probiotics including lactobacillus acidophilus. Try such natural foods that contain probiotics to improve your health.
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