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10 Foods Filled With Probiotics

10 Foods Filled With Probiotics
From TIME - April 12, 2018

The following story is excerpted from TIMEs special edition, 100 Most Healing Foods, which is available in stores, at the Meredith Shop and at Amazon.

One of the most crucial parts of our body when it comes to health is our microbiomethe trillions of bacteria that live in our gut. Scientists are learning that the bacterial communities we live with are linked to everything from body weight to asthma to acne. Having the right balance of bugs may keep us well in the long term. Some bacteria in the gut are good for our health, while other strains raise our risk for disease.

We shape our microbiome makeup through our everyday diet. Many of the foods listed below are high in nutrients like fiber, which feeds healthy gut microbes. Those microbes produce short-chain fatty acids that get absorbed into the bloodstream and reduce inflammation while strengthening the immune system. These gut-friendly foods also contain pro- or prebiotics, which help gut-bacteria diversity. Probiotics are bacteria that are very similar to or the same as good-bacteria colonies already in our gut. Theyre in many foods on this list, including yogurt and sauerkraut. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are a type of plant fiber often found in vegetables that nourishes good bacteria. (Good sources of prebiotics include chickpeas, bananas and artichokes.)

Both are important for keeping you regular and building a better microbiome. Here are some probiotic-filled foods to consider adding to your diet.

Cottage cheese

How to eat it: This throwback cheese makes a great base for both sweet and savory snacks. Mix it with fruit and walnuts, or add olive oil, cucumber slices and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Why its good for you: Cheese lovers, rejoice: cottage cheese is a great pick for your gut. As with other fermented foods, cottage cheese often delivers probiotics (check the package labels for live and active cultures), and its high in calcium, which is important for strong bones.

Kimchi

How to eat it: This Korean fermented- cabbage dish can add a flavor kick to nearly any food. Mix kimchi with brown rice or simply enjoy on its own.

Why its good for you: A probiotic made with cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and garlic, kimchi not only is gut-friendly but also may help reduce cancer risk.

Sauerkraut

How to eat it: A small helping of sauerkraut paired with lean meat adds up to a tasty and nutritious meal.

Why its good for you: The cabbage in sauerkraut, a food that dates to the 4th century B.C., is fermented with lactic-acid bacteria, which means its good for keeping your digestive system in balance. You also get fiber and compounds that boost the immune system.

Yogurt

How to eat it: Add fresh fruit, seeds and a little granola to a bowl of plain yogurt for a filling breakfast or afternoon snack.

Why its good for you: A fermented food, yogurt naturally contains lots of probiotic cultures that strengthen the digestive tract. Some Greek yogurt also boasts added probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei that may help increase the good bacteria in your gut.

Miso

Pickles

Kombucha

Apple-cider vinegar

Tempeh

Parmesan cheese

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