Here in 2016 we are constantly hearing about probiotics, prebiotics, fermented this, etc, etc. The interest of getting enough probiotics in your body has turned into a huge market for the consumer with a lot to gain in their health. The vast majority of yogurt brands that have come on the scene is proof that this is happening at a fast rate. Are probiotics a miracle cure? Do they really help our bodies that much? Some of the benefits include- Irritable bowel syndrome, infectious diarrhea, eczema, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, allergy prevention, strengthened immune system, weight loss, stronger teeth, decreased blood pressure, as well as enhanced exercise recovery. In this blog, I am going to list my top 5 favorite probiotic food choices and how to make them on your own.
- Greek yogurt- My absolute favorite and most easily accessible is Greek yogurt. It is an easy to find at all grocery stores and has more benefits than regular yogurt like increased protein, and increased probiotic content to being more concentrated. The main ingredient in Greek yogurt that provides the probiotic is Lactobacillus acidophilus which helps with improved digestion, as well as strengthens your immune system. Greek yogurt can be eaten several ways whether plain, with fruit, maybe blend into a green smoothie, or what we do at our house is use in place of sour cream when we have mexican food.
- Kimchi- Some of you have maybe never heard of this popular Korean dish, but it is surprisingly easy to find and make. The dish is known as an immune system booster from the bacteria lactobacillus kimchii. Kimchi dishes typically consist of cabbage, radish, scallion,carrots or cucumbers. Most health food stores will sell it, but you can make it on your own by combining the cabbage with salt to let sit for a few hours, then combine garlic, ginger, and other veggies or spices you want to add and let sit again this time for a few days at room temperature. This fermenting process will create the good bacteria and you can start to enjoy its benefits!
- Miso- Another popular Asian dish, miso is a seasoning that has been around for over a thousand years. Miso is found in soups and also as a paste to use on different dishes. The process of making miso is one of patience and can take up to 6 months so if time is not on your side you can find at most health food stores. If you are wanting to give it a shot, you can make miso with soybeans, barely koji, sea salt, and water. Start by soaking and cooking the soybeans first, then mix the barley and sea salt and cover. Miso can last up to 1 year, so the lengthy process can be worth it! Several different bacteria are produced in this fermenting process that can add to your healthy gut!
- Sauerkraut- Another probiotic from cabbage most of us have heard of. Most people think German dishes with this probiotic, but there are several good recipes out there for this food. Sauerkraut is relatively easy to make and has a long shelf life. To make, you need cabbage (any type of cabbage-red,green,etc) and salt. Combine the 2 ingredients in a jar and let sit at room temperature for several days. The cabbage will slowly ferment into a sour tasting flavor. You will know when the sauerkraut is ready to eat when it starts to taste good, so you will want to check on the taste of it periodically. Sauerkraut goes well as a side dish with almost anything, so get going on this healthy dish and enjoy!
- Kefir- Originating a few hundred years ago near Russia, this probiotic has many benefits and can be found in most heath food stores. Made from the fermented kefir grains, this healthy food is easy to make on your own.You will want to combine whole milk with kefir grains into a jar and stir. Next, cover the jar with a paper towel. Let the jar sit for 1-2 days at room temperature, then strain the kefir grains out. Your healthy bacteria is now ready to drink, and make sure to keep the strained kefir grains to make another batch.