Woman Eating Probiotic Yogurt
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It's one of the most familiar sources of probiotics -- "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 tummy troubles. You can pay extra for brands with certain probiotics, but any that have "live and active cultures" may help.

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Probiotics In Sauerkraut
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Choose the unpasteurized kind. The pasteurizing process, which is used to treat most supermarket brands, kills active, good bacteria. Sauerkraut and the similar but spicy Korean dish kimchi are also loaded with immune-boosting vitamins that can 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 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

They’re good for your digestion, but not all probiotics can survive the journey through your stomach and intestines. Research finds that strains in fermented soft cheeses, like Gouda, are hardy enough to make it.

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Kefir is Full of Probiotics
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According to legend, shepherds in the Caucasus Mountains, which divide southeastern Europe from Asia, 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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Acidophilus Milk

One of the easiest ways to get probiotics is to use this kind of milk, which has been fermented with bacteria. You may see it labeled as sweet acidophilus milk. Buttermilk, too, is 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 it may make sour pickles help with your digestion.

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Tempeh Contains Probiotics
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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 it and use it in meals in place of meat.

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Probiotic Food Supplements
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Probiotics aren’t only in foods. They also come in capsule, tablet, powder, and liquid forms. Although these supplements don't provide the nutrition that foods can offer, they're easy to use. If you think they might work for you, talk to your doctor first. If you're ill or have immune system problems, you may want to be cautious about taking probiotics.

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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 that already live in your gut. You can find prebiotics in things like asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, oatmeal, red wine, honey, maple syrup, and legumes. Try prebiotic foods on their own, or pair them with probiotic foods to add a boost.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 06/25/2020 Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on June 25, 2020


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American College of Gastroenterology: “Probiotics for the Treatment of Adult Gastrointestinal Disorders.”

National Institutes of Health: “The Effects of Lactose Intolerance.”

New York Times: "Probiotics: Looking Underneath the Yogurt Label."

University of Alabama – Birmingham, Department of Nutrition Sciences: “Yogurt’s Healthy Rep.”

ABC News: "Is Sauerkraut the Next Chicken Soup?"

National Institutes of Health: “Regular Consumption of Sauerkraut and Its Effect on Human Health: A Bibliometric Analysis."

University of Utah Health: “Fermented Foods Are Totally in Right Now.”

USDA: “Nutritive Value of Foods.”

Mäkeläinen, H. International Dairy Journal, November 2009.

Ugarte, M. Journal of Food Protection, December 2006.

Murray, M. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Atria Books, 2005.

National Institutes of Health: “Milk kefir: composition, microbial cultures, biological activities, and related products.”

Harvard Medical School: “The growing role of probiotics.”

Huffnagle, G. The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health, Bantam Books, 2007.

Gisslen, W. Professional Baking, John Wiley & Sons, 2005.

BBC Good Food: “Milk.”

New York Times: “Got Buttermilk?”

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health: “An Introduction to Probiotics.”

Diabetes Care and Education: "Prebiotic Basics."

Sanz, M. J Agric. Food Chem, 2005.

Science Daily: "Red Wine and Grape Juice Help Defend Against Food-Borne Diseases, Study Suggests."

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on June 25, 2020

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.