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11 Probiotic Foods You Need to Work Into Your Diet Right Now

Wondering how to get more probiotic foods into your diet? Start by putting these things on your plate.

Yogurt with sweet blueberries and granola, above view on rustic dark woodJeniFoto/Shutterstock

Yogurt

Not all yogurts are the same, so watch out for yogurts filled with sugars and syrups. Instead, pick yogurts that have natural ingredients and say “live and active cultures” for maximum health and probiotics benefits. Not sure what probiotics actually are? Brush up on a few quick probiotic facts.

KombuchaDaniel Bruno/Shutterstock

Kombucha (fermented tea)

Kombucha is a popular, fermented tea drink that you can find in the refrigerated case sof most grocery stores. It has been found to increase energy and help with digestion. Probiotic foods like kombucha may also have 10 other incredible health benefits, such as helping calm anxiety.

Japanese miso soup in ceramic bowl on dark background, copy space. Asian miso soup with tofu.Oksana Mizina/Shutterstock

Miso soup

Popular in Japanese restaurants, miso soup is a tofu and vegetable broth that’s low in calories and high in probiotics and protein. Also available in packets at the grocery store to make at home, it’s a healthy and delicious break from the usual canned soup.

natural ways reduce bloating soy milkistock/Sean824

Probiotic soy milk

Soy is a plant food that naturally contains some benefits, but some soy milk products on the market have added extra live cultures. Look for labels that say “live and active cultures.” Don’t love soy? Try these 7 probiotic foods to help boost your gut bacteria.

 

Milk kefir grains on wooden spoon on top of a jar of kefir, photographed with natural light (Selective Focus, Focus in the middle of the kefir grains)Ildi Papp/Shutterstock

Kefir

A cross between yogurt and milk, kefir is a tart, delicious way to get probiotics and vitamins into your system. Try pouring the plain variety over healthy granola and fruit, or as the base for a smoothie-like drink.

sauerkrautIldi Papp/Shutterstock

Sauerkraut

Not all sauerkraut plays host to the good bacteria you’re looking for: Make sure to choose one from the refrigerated section of the grocery store that says “naturally fermented” on the label. Then drop a scoop onto your favorite hot dog or eat as a side dish with lean pork. Added bonus: Fermented sauerkraut is one of the 49 surprising anti-aging foods that may keep you healthy longer.

Bar Of Dark Chocolate Top ViewAleksandrova Karina/Shutterstock

Dark chocolate

Although chocolate doesn’t contain healthy gut bacteria like many of the other “probiotic foods” on this list, it does work some major magic in the gut. A study presented at the 2014 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society found that as the antioxidants and fiber in dark chocolate are fermented by bacteria that already live in our digestive system, they create super powerful compounds that may reduce inflammation in the body.

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Naturally fermented pickles

Whether you like them sweet or dill, some pickles—those that are naturally fermented—contain a good amount of probiotics for your system. Make your own or pick up a jar in the refrigerated section of a specialty market, and add to your sandwiches for some crunch.

tempehGekko Gallery/Shutterstock

Tempeh

Made from fermented soy protein, tempeh is one of the best vegan protein sources. It’s naturally fermented and is full of vitamin B12 and probiotics. Try it baked, grilled, or sautéed for a tasty meatless meal.

Green olives backgroundThasneem/Shutterstock

Olives

Spanish-style olives are fermented—not just brined like American-style olives—so they contain live probiotic cultures. Eat them whole as a snack or add to a salad or pasta dish.

Kimchi, the most famous Korean traditional food. It's a basic Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings.KorArkaR/Shutterstock

Kimchi

A popular Korean condiment, kimchi is fermented and pickled cabbage that can be very spicy. Filled with vitamins, calcium, and probiotics, it’s a hot way to stay well. But don’t overdo it—kimchi is also high in sodium, and is one of 17 healthy foods that you shouldn’t overeat.

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Medically reviewed by Maureen Namkoong, MS, RD, on August 18, 2019
Originally Published in Reader's Digest