At Naples Vitality in Naples, FL, we pride ourselves on helping our patients take a holistic approach to their health, and a good diet is a key part of this. No matter your age, gender, or current health condition, your overall wellbeing and energy levels will benefit immensely from eating foods that are rich in nutrients. A key component of a balanced nutrition plan is probiotic foods, which contain live cultures of beneficial bacteria. Let’s explore some options.
What Are Probiotic Foods?
We all have bacteria in our guts and other organs that support our vital functions and help us to stay healthy. In fact, there are around ten times more bacteria than human cells in our body, and they are crucial to our wellbeing. Sometimes, they may die due to the use of antibiotic medicine or an unhealthy diet, which can cause our normal mechanisms to be disrupted. You may suffer from digestive problems like diarrhea when this happens.
The term “probiotic” refers to the fact that there are live organisms in certain foods you eat. These can help you when your natural bacteria are disrupted, but they also support your body’s function under normal conditions. The better your beneficial bacteria are, the less susceptible you are to disease, unpleasant symptoms related to your digestive system, and long-term health conditions.
The Best Options for Your Health
Modern medicine doesn’t always take into account what a big difference the food we eat makes to our overall health. Instead, patients are medicated, and the symptoms of their conditions are treated, not the causes. At Naples Vitality, we aim to change that by providing everyone with the information they need to live a healthy, balanced life.
Eating foods with probiotic properties can significantly change the way we feel in our bodies. It can also support mental health, reduce the incidence of heart conditions, and even make your skin look better. Let’s now go over some of the different food options and why they can be so good for you.
Almost all cheeses are fermented, but not all of them will contain healthy probiotic bacteria. In most supermarkets, you’ll be able to find Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese, all of which can have probiotic properties. However, you’ll have to check the label for live and active cultures before making your purchase.
Consumed in reasonable quantities, cheese can be great for your health because it contains so much protein as well as minerals and vitamins that are crucial to your body’s function. In particular, it can support your bone health because of the high amount of calcium, and it will also support the function of your heart.
You can’t go wrong with yogurt, and it’s one of the best sources of probiotic bacteria around, especially lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. Because it’s made of milk, it can also improve your bone health by providing you with vital calcium, and it will help to keep your blood pressure low. If you have a child with diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome, you should try to incorporate yogurt into their diet, as this can provide relief.
One of the main benefits of yogurt is that it comes in many different flavors and consistencies, so it appeals to almost everybody. You can get a plain version and mix it with fruit or you can choose a flavored yogurt and eat it on its own. However, some companies kill the bacteria in the manufacturing process, so make sure to purchase a product with live cultures.
Kefir is another probiotic product made from either cow’s or goat’s milk. Kefir grains, which look like cauliflower but actually consist of lactic acid bacteria cultures, are added to the milk to create the probiotic properties. Like yogurt, this drink can improve your bone health and resolve certain issues with digestion, but in many cases, it also contributes to your body’s natural protection against infections.
People with lactose intolerance may be able to drink Kefir because the bacteria break down some of the lactose that causes the issue. Although yogurt is more common in our culture, Kefir is often considered a better source of probiotic bacteria because the cultures are more diverse and it also contains yeast. If you want to change up your diet to incorporate more international foods, you should definitely include this Turkish drink.
Vegetarians and vegans may not be comfortable with incorporating so much dairy in their diet on a regular basis, but fortunately, there are many plant-based probiotic options. Kombucha is maybe one of the most popular ones because it’s so easy to find or make yourself. You simply need a starter culture and some green or black tea, which you can then ferment at home. Alternatively, there are several brands that sell tasty original or flavored options.
The drink contains both probiotic bacteria and yeast and has been consumed in Asia for many years. In the past decades, it has become more and more popular in the US, as well, because it’s a delicious and easy way of incorporating probiotic foods in your diet.
People who enjoy soy products will like the Japanese food Natto, which is made of fermented soybeans and usually served for breakfast together with rice. Because of its slimy texture and unique smell, it isn’t as popular as some other soybean products in Western culture, but it can be a great addition to your diet, particularly if your family has a history of osteoporosis and other bone problems.
Because Natto contains so much vitamin K2 and protein, it can support your body’s natural bone health, and it can also improve the function of your circulatory system. The probiotic properties of this food come from Bacillus subtilis.
There are a number of different drinks sold under the name of “buttermilk”, but the traditional version is the liquid left over from making butter. You may have heard of this process and the resulting separation when speaking to older generations who produced their own butter in the past. Although the liquid is often thrown out, this is a shame because it’s a great source of probiotic bacteria.
In certain countries such as India, Pakistan, and Nepal, traditional buttermilk is consumed regularly. Unfortunately, the buttermilk you can find in American grocery stores doesn’t usually contain any probiotic bacteria, but you may be able to obtain some of the traditional version from other sources, for example directly from a farm.
Have you ever tried traditional Japanese Miso soup? If not, you’re missing out. This delicious dish contains the seasoning named Miso, usually produced by mixing fermented soybeans with the koji fungus and salt. Depending on where you buy it, you may also find that it contains other ingredients like rye or barley, and it will vary in color from white to yellow or even brown.
Researchers have conducted several studies about this seasoning, and they have found that it has immense health benefits. It may lower your risk of stroke and breast cancer, and it can also provide you with a lot of healthy protein and fiber. According to the studies, the benefits mainly apply to women, so they should definitely incorporate it into their diet.
Most people will know that pickles, also called gherkins, are made of cucumbers that have been pickled in salt and water. However, you might not be aware of how healthy this food can be. In addition to containing probiotic bacteria, pickles are also very low in calories, so you can enjoy them without restraint.
They contain Vitamin K, which can help your blood to clot better. If you’re looking for a food with probiotic properties, don’t buy pickles in vinegar because, although they have other health benefits, they don’t contain any healthy bacteria.
If you enjoy Korean food, you will love the side dish Kimchi, which is made of cabbage or other vegetables and contains several lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus kimchi. These can contribute to great digestive health, and they may also be able to slow down the aging process and strengthen your immune system.
Kimchi can be customized to your specific tastes because you can add different spices like garlic, scallion, ginger, or salt. You can also combine it with rice, eat it in a stew, or add it to your pasta sauce to give it a unique flavor. When you start incorporating this food into your diet, you’ll benefit from the increased amounts of iron, riboflavin, and vitamin K that it provides.
When looking for probiotic foods, another great option for vegans and people looking to switch up their diet is Tempeh, a product created from fermented soybeans. Many people enjoy the flavor of this Indonesian dish because it tastes similar to mushrooms, with a slight nutty flavor. Like many of these foods, it contains not only probiotics, but also a host of other healthy nutrients. For a food made entirely of plants, Tempeh is especially rich in Vitamin B12.
People who like cabbage will enjoy Sauerkraut, a well-known way of preparing the vegetable in Germany. It’s a very traditional dish in several European countries because it can be stored for such a long time, and it’s often served with sausages. To create it, the cabbage is cut into fine strips and fermented, which is why it tastes salty and a bit sour.
Sauerkraut is one of the healthiest foods you can eat because it not only contains probiotics, but also several antioxidants that can keep your eyes healthy and the vitamins B, C, and K. When you purchase this food, you need to make sure that you choose an unpasteurized version because the pasteurization process kills the probiotic bacteria. In many areas of the US, the best place to find raw Sauerkraut is on the internet.
Why Should You Eat Them?
As you can see, all of the foods containing probiotics also have other vital nutrients that can support your body. By incorporating them in your diet, you can prevent or slow down certain conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease. In addition, the foods will provide you with an alternative to the traditional American cuisine, thus making your diet more versatile and interesting.
Take Control of Your Wellbeing Now
Probiotic foods are a key component of a healthy diet, and the eleven options mentioned above are a good starting point for incorporating beneficial bacteria into your diet. However, healthy eating alone isn’t enough. Register for Dr. Linell King’s presentation at Naples Vitality in Naples, FL, today. During the course, you will find out everything you need to know about how to take care of your body and mind in a natural, sustainable way.