Does your meal seem to hang around inside you longer than you’d like?
Does it feel like your food is killing you from the inside out?
Have you forgotten what it’s like to eat whatever you want without a stomach ache or a prolonged stay in the bathroom?
If this is you, it sounds like your digestive system might be in health limbo. And that’s not something you should overlook or consider normal.
If you get an upset stomach after eating, you might blame it on the food, how it was cooked, how it tastes, or the fact that you might just be under the weather. But if you start to notice that your stomach gets angry no matter what or when you eat, it might not be the food that’s giving you issues, but rather a lack of other foods.
Probiotics have been making headlines in recent years, claiming to offer a variety of health benefits ranging from immune system support to digestive system rebalancing. And it’s true -probiotics can do both of those things, and more.
However, it’s important to note that, just like vitamins and minerals, it’s essential that you get your probiotics naturally – not in supplement form. And you can get all the probiotics your body needs when you eat enough probiotic foods.
What are probiotic foods and how do they help digestive issues?
Probiotics are known as “good” bacteria that are naturally found in your digestive tract. They are essential in keeping bad bacteria in check, and help your body break down food and nutrients.
However, good bacteria can become damaged or wiped out from your digestion system. And when that happens, you end up suffering every time you eat until you can replenish your probiotic stockpile.
Taking antibiotics kills all bacteria, good and bad, within your body until the targeted infection is demolished. This means that after your round of antibiotics is finished, you have to rebuild your good bacteria colony.
In addition, eating foods that don’t contain enough good bacteria can lead to an imbalance in your digestive tract, making it easy for bad bacteria to take over operations. Your intestines are lined with “adherence” sites, or places where bacteria can attach. The more good flora you have latched in your intestinal track, the fewer places bad bacteria will have to make themselves a home.
Probiotics have been known for helping with issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach aches, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and other digestive issues. And if you find yourself suffering from any of these issues, adding rich probiotic foods into your diet could provide a natural relief.
10 Probiotic Foods To Quell Digestive Issues
Yogurt provide a hearty source of live bacteria cultures, including Lactobacillus and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Science suggests that the real benefits from eating yogurt come from organic varieties of grass-fed animals and forgoing the pasteurization process.
In addition to digestive help, yogurt is also an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D.
Try this delicious recipe for a tasty yogurt breakfast parfait.
Popular in Korea, Kimchi is a fermented side dish made mostly from fermented vegetables, namely cabbage. Fermented foods are well known to contain live bacteria cultures that can help ease digestive issues.
You can buy kimchi in some supermarkets, or make your own kimchi at home with this recipe.
Sticking to the fermented foods list, kombucha is a specially brewed tea that undergoes a fermentation process. Once the tea is brewed, it is stored in containers with a SCOBY, or live bacteria-filled disc. You can infuse kombucha with a variety of flavors, like fruits or ginger, to offset the vinegar-like taste.
People who drink kombucha have also seen an increase in other areas of their health, such as weight loss and more energy.
Buying kombucha in the store usually costs upwards of $3 for a 16-oz bottle. It’s much cheaper to make your own, plus you can flavor it any way you wish.
Tempeh is a meat alternative made from soybeans and chock full of probiotics. You can add tempeh to salads, cook it on the grill, bake it, or sautee it.
Try this recipe for a grilled tempeh burger – your taste buds might not know the difference.
If you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant, chances are you’ve tried Miso soup. Miso is a spice made from fermented soybeans, rice, barley or rye. The resulting product is teeming with lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria.
In addition to helping with digestion, miso is thought to help alkalinize the body and prevent harmful effects from carcinogens.
Try making your own miso soup at home with this recipe.
If yogurt were a drink, it would be kefir. This dairy product comes from combining goat’s milk with fermented kefir grains, resulting in a high concentration of lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria. It’s also a good source of antioxidants.
You can find organic kefir in most grocery stores. If you don’t like the taste of it by itself, here are 5 ways to use kefir as a milk substitute.
A common find in Europe, sauerkraut is the technical term for fermented cabbage. Its sour taste helps to activate your saliva glands, which wakes up your digestive juices. And because it’s fermented, it’s also covered with live bacteria cultures.
Sauerkraut has been thought to relieve allergy symptoms. It’s also a good source of vitamins A, B, C, and K.
When using sauerkraut in cooking, it’s best not to heat it, as the heat can damage or kill the good bacteria. Instead, try using it to top off your hot dog, eat it as a side dish, or get a double dose of probiotics with this recipe for mango-kimchi salad.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar comes from fermented apple juice. As long as you are drinking it raw, you are essentially drinking “the mother,” that is, all the enzymes, proteins, and probiotics that enter the liquid during the fermentation period.
In addition to its probiotics, apple cider vinegar may help you lose weight by keeping your appetite in check. It could also help in lowering blood sugar.
For many people, apple cider vinegar doesn’t go down too well on its own. Instead, try this recipe that mixes it with honey.
9. Sourdough Bread
Compared to other breads, sourdough contains a higher proportion of Lactobacillus to yeast. This leads to a higher production of lactic acid, which leads to less phytic acid, a potentially dangerous acid that can impact digestion. It also helps to “predigest” starches in the grains, which means less work for your body.
In addition, sourdough bread is a better option for people trying to lose weight or have high blood sugar, as the heat during baking reduces the availability of starch. It’s also chock full of good stuff like antioxidants, vitamins B1-B6, B12, zinc, potassium, and a host of other things your body needs.
Pickles have been long known to hold a treasure trove of probiotics, but it’s not just pickled cucumbers. Whatever vegetables you can pickle, such as beets or olives, you can score a quality source of good bacteria.
Pickling foods also help to retain important vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K.
If you’re tired to heading straight to the bathroom after every meal, and want to feel more like your old self, a few simple adjustments to your diet could be all you need to conquer digestive problems. And it doesn’t mean giving up everything you love to eat.