Woman Eating Probiotic Yogurt
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Yogurt

It's one of the most familiar sources of probiotics, the "good" bacteria that keep a healthy balance in your gut. Studies suggest that probiotics can help ease lactose intolerance. They also may help tame gas, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.

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Probiotics In Sauerkraut
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Sauerkraut

Choose the unpasteurized kind, because pasteurization (used to treat most supermarket sauerkraut) kills active, good bacteria. This sour, salty food -- and the similar but spicy Korean dish, kimchi -- is also loaded with immune-boosting vitamins that may help ward off infection.

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Miso Soup Activates Digestion
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Miso Soup

A popular breakfast food in Japan, this fermented soybean paste can get your digestive system moving. Probiotic-filled miso is often used to make a salty soup that's low in calories and high in B vitamins and protective antioxidants.

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Bacteria Fighting Cheese
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Soft Cheeses

While they might be good for your digestion, not all probiotics can survive the journey through your stomach and intestines. But certain strains in some fermented soft cheeses, like Gouda, are hardy enough to make the trip. Cheese also may act as a carrier for probiotics, which could give your immune system an extra boost.

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Kefir is Full of Probiotics
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Kefir

According to legend, this probiotic-filled drink dates back to the shepherds of Eurasia's Caucasus Mountains. They discovered the milk they carried tended to ferment into a bubbly beverage. Thick, creamy, and tangy like yogurt, kefir has its own strains of probiotic bacteria, plus a few helpful yeast varieties.

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Digestion Aid with Sourdough Bread
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Sourdough Bread

The next time you make a sandwich, pay attention to what's holding your cold cuts and cheese. San Francisco's famous sourdough bread packs a probiotic that may help digestion.

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Adding Probiotics to Milk
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Milk With Probiotics

One of the easiest ways to get probiotics into your diet is by adding acidophilus milk. It's milk that's been fermented with bacteria. Sometimes it's labeled sweet acidophilus milk. Buttermilk -- usually milk that's cultured with lactic acid bacteria -- is also rich in probiotics.

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Pickles Contain Probiotics
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Sour Pickles

When looking to pickles for probiotics, choose naturally fermented kinds, where vinegar wasn't used in the pickling process. A sea salt and water solution feeds the growth of good bacteria and may give sour pickles some digestive benefits.

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Tempeh Contains Probiotics
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Tempeh

Made from a base of fermented soybeans, this Indonesian patty makes a type of natural antibiotic that fights certain bacteria. Tempeh is also high in protein. People often describe its flavor as smoky, nutty, and similar to a mushroom. You can marinate tempeh and use it in meals in place of meat.

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Probiotic Food Supplements
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Probiotic Supplements

Probiotics also come in supplements, You can find them in capsule, tablet, powder, and liquid forms. Although they don't provide the extra nutrition foods can offer, they can be easier to take. If you're interested, talk to your doctor. If you're ill or have immune system problems, you may want to be cautious about taking them.

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Prebiotics In Honey
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Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

While probiotic-foods have live bacteria, prebiotic foods feed the good bacteria already living in your gut. You can find prebiotics in items like asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, oatmeal, red wine, honey, maple syrup, and legumes. Try prebiotic foods on their own or with probiotic foods to perhaps give the probiotics a boost.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 01/10/2017 Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on January 10, 2017

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REFERENCES:

The New York Times: "Probiotics: Looking Underneath the Yogurt Label."
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ABC News: "Is Sauerkraut the Next Chicken Soup?"
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The Ohio State University: "Microbes Help Make Sauerkraut."
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Gisslen, W. Professional Baking, John Wiley & Sons, 2005.
Meals Matter, Dairy Council of California: "Probiotics: Bacteria that Keep You Healthy."
Oregon Dairy Council: "Probiotic Facts."
BBC Good Food: "Milk."
The New York Times: "Got Buttermilk?"
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "An Introduction to Probiotics."
Soy Foods Association of North America: "Tempeh."
Wang, H. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, March 1984.
Daily Mail: "The Facts About Prebiotics."
Diabetes Care and Education: "Prebiotic Basics."
University of Missouri Extension: "Probiotics and Prebiotics: Is Your Bacteria Safe?"
BNET: "Honey Promotes Growth of Probiotics in Yogurt."
Sanz, M. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2005.
Go Ask Alice, Columbia University: "Sweet Tooth."
Science Daily: "Red Wine and Grape Juice Help Defend Against Food-Borne Diseases, Study Suggests."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on January 10, 2017

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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