May 16, 2016 | by Tracey Graber RD, CDCES

    Would you like an extra serving of bacteria? Bacteria are edible and in some cases good for you. Our bodies have many different types of bacteria, both good and bad. Bacteria called probiotics are beneficial bacteria and control the growth of harmful bacteria. Probiotics can help improve digestion, boost immunity, and improve some skin conditions including eczema.

    What are sources of probiotics?

    • Fermented foods
    • Probiotic supplements

    Probotic Friendly Checklist

    • Yogurt. Be sure to look for “live active cultures” on the label.

    • probotics

      Bacteria can actually be good for your gut.
      From left to right: Kombucha tea, kimchi,
      pickles and miso paste add flavor and
      probiotics to your diet.

    • Kefir. Think drinkable yogurt. Kefir is a cultured milk product that contains a dozen different live active cultures while packing in up to 11 grams of protein. It can be made using milk alternatives such as soy, coconut, or rice milk and comes in a variety of flavors. Use kefir as a liquid base for smoothies or just drink it as is!
    • Miso. This versatile paste made from fermented soybeans can flavor broth, glaze a protein or mix-up a stir-fry. It is a good source of probiotics, but be mindful of how much you use; it is low in calories but high in sodium.
    • Kombucha tea. A carbonated black tea made that teems with the good bacteria you want in an assortment of tangy varieties.
    • Sauerkraut. Sauerkraut originated from our ancestors’ goal to preserve cabbage. The fermentation process creates the sour taste that some enjoy on a hot dog. Try fresh sauerkraut found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Canned offerings are often packed in vinegar and do not contain live, active bacteria.
    • Tempeh. Fermented soybeans and grains come together to form a tangier form of tofu. Slice, toss, fry, marinate or grill this plant-based protein.
    • Pickles. When fermented by sitting in water and salt, a cucumber transforms into a pickle. Along with added crunch comes a source of probiotics. Pickle this – try beets, carrots, asparagus and okra to change things up. Be mindful of servings for sodium content.
    • Kimchi. A Korean go-to, kimchi is a source of probiotics made from fermented, seasoned cabbage and other vegetables. A combination of garlic, salt, chili, peppers and vinegar, it provides a spicy kick to soups, sandwiches and stir-fry.
    • Sourdough bread. Made with a lactic acid starter, sourdough bread contains a friendly type of bacteria called lactobacillus that can add good microbes to your morning toast and jam.
    • Probiotic supplement. Eating fermented foods is the ideal way to build a healthy gut. However, a supplement can help too. Probiotic supplements come in powders, pills and liquid form. Choose a supplement with 15 billion or more colony forming units (CFU’s).
    • Resources