Yesterday I spoke all about Probiotics and why they were important; you can read all about this here: “Probiotics – Do you need them?“. Today I wanted to talk about how we can gain access to Probiotics via food 🙂
#1 Fermented Vegetables
Fermented Vegetables are a wonderful source of probiotics. Whilst Sauerkraut is a great option, it isn’t necessarily the tastiest alternative. Thankfully, the team at ‘Peace Love and Vegetables‘ and also ‘Green St Kitchen’ (for my Perth friends), do a wonderful ‘Kim Chi’ (warm and spicy) and ‘Beetroot Kraut’ (tart yet sweeter, soften tones) which pair perfectly with almost any dish. NOTE: for those that suffer from migraines or headaches, it’s best to avoid these foods as they are high in histamine.
#2 Milk Kefir
For those who don’t have an allergy to dairy, milk kefir offers anywhere between 10-34 strains of probiotics. Milk kefir has a slightly acidic, tart flavour and is slightly higher in probiotics than yoghurt. When purchasing look for kefir made from unhomogenised, full cream organic cows, goats or sheep milk. For those who can tolerate cold foods, pop milk kefir into your smoothie, as a salad dressing (with herbs and spices) or use it as a substitute for buttermilk in recipes.
#3 Water Kefir
Unfortunately, given mainstream dairy is heavily processed here in Australia, I recommend many of my clients opt for a water kefir. Water kefir is made by fermenting kefir grains in non-chlorinated water or coconut water that has been slightly sweetened (to feed the grains). Whilst it’s not as high in probiotics as traditional milk kefir varieties, it still contains some beneficial strains. Health food stores are starting to stock some wonderful varieties of water kefir, my personal favourite is the Apple Water Kefir from Happy Gut Organics.
Easily the most popular form of probiotic food however, there is a great difference in quality of products on the market. If you can get your hands on an organic, full fat, live cultured, pot-set natural or greek yoghurt without the added sweetener, you’re in luck. These are usually found on the bottom shelf of the yoghurt aisle in the basic packaging 😉 For those looking for a dairy free alternative, I’ve also noticed a number of coconut yoghurts, also cultured with live bacteria at health food stores around the country.
Kombucha is produced by fermenting black, white or green tea, with sugars and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (otherwise known as a SCOBY). The fermentation process ensures that the sugars are consumed by the probiotics during the culturing process prior to the bottling, revealing a tart, fizzy tasting drink. Unfortunately, many of the Kombucha varieties on the market today taste like a sweet alternative to soft drink, indicating added sugar, so be careful which brands you select. My personal favourite is Buchi 🙂
Miso is a traditional Japanese spice found in many of their traditional foods. It is created by fermenting soybean, barley or brown rice with a fungus called koji. The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few days to a few years to complete. When purchasing Miso, be sure that it’s coming from a non-GMO, organic paste and is gluten-free (if you have GIT issues). Miso can be made into a soup or spread on toast. For those on the Gold Coast, there is a stall at the Organic Farmer’s Market in Miami every Sunday with some beautiful hand-crafted Miso on offer.