There are literally trillions of good bacteria called probiotics that live in our gut and keep our “tummies” happy. Research continues to emerge on just how important these mighty microbes might be for our health. But it seems that these little “workers” help improve digestion, boost immunity and – according to some preliminary studies – may even help us stay leaner.
Foods packed with probiotics are described as “fermented”. Add such fermented foods to your diet for a healthy dose of probiotics – and keep your tummy happy!
Kimchi – Named as one of the new most popular foods, Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut. It’s made out of napa cabbage but with hot spices and added Korean radishes and scallions. It can be fresh (as a salad) or fermented (like a side pickle or relish dish). With recipes going back to the 7th century, there are hundreds of recipes so find a variety you enjoy.
How To Use: Add to fried rice or noodles, or use as a burger topping, or add as a condiment with fish.
Miso – Miso is a paste made from barley, rice or soybeans. It adds that distinctive umami flavour to Asian dishes and with its bold flavour, a little goes a long way. Miso is also rich in essential minerals and a good source of various B vitamins, vitamins E, K and folic acid.
How To Use: Classic miso soup, or use as a marinade, or when making chicken sandwiches, cook chicken first in a miso broth, drain, chop and serve with your favourite dressing.
Tempeh – Tempeh is made from naturally fermented soybeans. It is similar to tofu but has more protein and fibre because it’s less processed. With a slightly nutty flavor, tempeh is a good source of probiotics. It’s also a complete source of vegetarian protein.
How To Use: Add to main dishes as a replacement for meat.
Sauerkraut – Common in Eastern European cooking, sauerkraut delivers a healthy dose of probiotics and fibre. Inexpensive and delicious, it is just cabbage and salt that’s been fermented, similar to a tasty coleslaw.
How To Use: Serve with sausages on a bun, or warmed up as a side with bacon bits. Also delicious mixed with sliced apples and lightly fried.
Yogurt – Although all yogurts have healthy benefits, only yogurt labeled with the “Live & Active Cultures” seal guarantees that it contains actual probiotics. Different yogurts also promote different kinds of probiotics, for example, bifidus regularis is suggested to help alleviate constipation.
How To Use: A healthy substitute whenever a recipe calls for sour cream. Or serve with fresh fruit for dessert, or a snack.
Kefir – A fermented milk drink that tastes like drinking yogurt. It has lot of probiotics as well as calcium. It can also be made with other kinds of milk, such as coconut, goat or sheep’s milk.
How To Use: Great for smoothies.