6 Probiotic-Rich Foods to Start Eating Now

FOOD  |  October 02, 2016
  • 1. Yogurt
    1 / 6 1. Yogurt

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    Yogurt is a rich source of probiotics and is easily available at supermarkets. Look for yogurt that states “active” or “live cultures” clearly on the label, as not all yogurt has live cultures. These contain large amounts of live bacteria that survive well in the intestinal tract and improve your digestion.  

    The type of yogurt you eat – Greek, natural, low-fat – doesn’t matter, but the brand does. Each brand uses different cultures, and some make pasteurised products which actually kill off the bacteria. So read the packaging before you buy.

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  • 2. Fermented Cheese
    2 / 6 2. Fermented Cheese

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    Fermented cheeses like cheddar, gouda, swiss or parmesan as well as some varieties of cottage cheese also contain probiotics. Only organic cheeses will have surviving probiotics though, so read product labels carefully before buying. Limit your portion size, because cheese is high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.

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  • 3. Kombucha and Kefir
    3 / 6 3. Kombucha and Kefir

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    Kombucha tea is all the rage right now. The fizzy drink, which tastes a little like beer, is made from a culture derived from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast or SCOBY, mixed with sugar and either green or black tea, to produce a range of beneficial micronutrients after eight days.

    Kefir is a sour, fermented milk drink made through a process similar to kombucha, but it combines milk with a live culture of kefir ‘grains’, which is another SCOBY and not actual grains. The fermented mixture is sieved after a day and the new grains that have grown over the fermentation process can be used to make more batches.

    Both drinks can be consumed plain, but you can also add fruits, juice or natural sweeteners like honey to enhance their flavour. One cup a day is enough to boost the amount of healthy bacteria in your system. 

    To make your own kombucha or kefir at home, you can buy a starter culture online. Ready-made drinks, starter cultures and private classes are available at www.bushwickfoodlab.com. Sheryl notes that fermented beverages need to be kept chilled to remain effective. When stored in the fridge, they can be kept for one to two months. 

    But do note that fermented drinks contain a small amount of alcohol, so those allergic to alcohol should refrain from consuming them.

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  • 4. Probiotic Tea
    4 / 6 4. Probiotic Tea

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    If the sour vinegary taste of kombucha and kefir is off-putting to you, try the Teabiotic range by We Are Cultured instead. The range uses a patented, resilient live strain of probiotic that survives well in room temperature. It is only activated with water, which means that the good bacteria will not die before you get to consume it.  

    The probiotic is incorporated with other natural healthy ingredients like ginger, turmeric and matcha, freeze-dried in powder form. Simply add it to water and drink. Avoid brewing the tea with water above 85 deg C as this could destroy the probiotics.  

    Alternatively, sprinkle the powder over desserts, add it to protein shakes or even in your cooking. Drink one to four servings a day – a box of 16 sachets costs $29 and up at www.wearecultured.com.

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  • 5. Fermented Soya Beans
    5 / 6 5. Fermented Soya Beans

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    Soya-based products can be a good source of probiotics. Miso paste, for example, is made through a process of fermenting soya beans, rice or barley and a fungus culture, which produces probiotics. Use it to make soup, sauces or in a stir-fry.

    Similarly, tempeh, which contains whole soya beans compacted together with fungi in the fermentation process, is rich in probiotics. Unlike miso, tempeh is low in sodium and is a better option for those with high blood pressure. Avoid the traditional deep-fried method of preparation, and stir fry with vegetables or boil tempeh in stock or water instead.

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  • 6. Supplements
    6 / 6 6. Supplements

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    Freeze-dried cultures are also available in capsules from pharmacies. These contain billions of healthy bacteria that aid in the digestive process and clean the intestinal tract to promote regular bowel movements, and are activated when they come into contact with your gut.    

    Probiotic supplements are particularly useful when you are recovering from a flu and are required to complete a dose of antibiotics. They help you to quickly replace the good bacteria that have been killed off by the antibiotics.

    Take one capsule along with your breakfast. This gives the probiotics the best chance of survival as the food and drink you consume will act as a buffer against your gastric juices, preventing the acid from destroying them so they can multiply in your intestines. 

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