Did you know that most probiotic supplements will only colonise (live in) the gut for 7 days? So unless you want to be popping probiotic pills for life (imagine the cost!!!), you’ll need to look for some real food alternatives.
Yesterday I spoke all about Probiotics and why they are important. It’s really important you read that post, so even if you think you know why probiotics are important, still jump over to this page and have a look. Now you’ve read that, you’ll agree that we need to work on fixing the environment first is that correct? Great.
Now your gut environment is sound, I also want to ensure you’re eating lots of prebiotic fibres, like that of fresh vegetables, leafy greens and other plant based foods? You are? Great, then you can read on… If not, I recommend you jump back to my first post and read up!
MY FAVOURITE PROBIOTIC FOODS
#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‘ do a wonderful ‘Kim Chi’ (warm and spicy) and ‘Beetroot Kraut’ (tart yet sweeter, soften tones) which pair perfectly with almost any dish.
CAUTION: If you suffer from migraines or headaches, loose bowels, facial flushing or hay-fever like symptoms, it’s best to tread carefully with fermented vegetables as they are high in histamine and can aggravate those with a histamine intolerance.
#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.
CAUTION: I recommend those with loose bowels, or mucous congestion of the nose/throat speak with a Nutritionist before going overboard.
#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.
CAUTION: Those suffering from Candida infections, I recommend chatting with your Nutritionist before going overboard.
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.
CAUTION: Again, I recommend those with loose bowels, or mucous congestion of the nose/throat to speak with a Nutritionist to discuss this in more detail.
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 🙂
CAUTION: Going overboard on Kombucha will not solve your gut health issues. Kombucha contains a single strain of bacteria, and if you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know that diversity is key. Put the Kombucha down and address the real problem here.
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.
CAUTION: Again, ensure your miso is made from organically grown, non-GMO soy beans.