Probiotics are living micro-organisms (ferments, bacterias, yeast) beneficial for our health. They influence the gut flora and strengthen the immune system.
We can take them as food supplements (in that case they need to have different types of bacterial strains) but certain foods can have the same effect.
Every traditional culture has fermented foods such as dairy, grains, beans, vegetables, fruits….you all know fermented yogurt, sauerkraut, or gherkins but others with names like kimchi, kefir, kombucha are still relatively unknown….. however they can be prepared at home and rich in flavors.
Probably the most popular probiotic food, it is very rich in probiotics such as bifidobacterias, and lactic acid if prepared at home. There is a large variation of quality of yogurts on the market today (they often contain fructose, food coloring, refined sugar, artificial flavor, and are pasteurized) A choice of goat or sheep and if possible organic yogurt is recommended.
Sauerkraut is made by lacto-fermentation from raw cabbage. It was originally used for the food preservation but it was replaced by pasteurisation .
Sauerkraut is beneficial for the intestine, it is rich in natural lactic acid and fights intestinal parasites. it is rich in vitamine A, C, B, E and K and contains minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and magnesium. Sauerkraut should be unpasteurized and as natural as possible for best results.
Beetroots, carrots … can be prepared with the same process.
2 different types are available, a fruit kefir and a milk kefir both from different types of grains.
Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of tea with a starter scoby (a "mother" made from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) and sugar. The result is a fermented drink that can be aromatised by fruits, spices…
Excellent source of probiotics, they are rich in sodium and vitamine K.
Tempeh is a fermented soya, very popular in Asia. It can replace tofu, and meat. It is rich in probiotics and a good source of B12 vitamines.
Miso is a traditional Japanese paste made from fermenting soybeans (or rice/barley) some salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae). The paste is used in a soup with warm water. It is rich in proteins.
Among the micro-algae, spirulina and chlorella are often talked about for their vitamines and mineral content. They also have detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and alcaline benefits.
It is used by many cultures in Asia and Africa. Originally it was the liquid left behind after making butter or cream. It is very low in calories, rich in minerals, calcium, phosphorus, proteins and vitamines B12.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish prepared from a mix of lacto-fermented vegetables, spices and chillies. It is a good source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron, and vitamines A, C, B1 and B2.
APPLE CIDAR VINEGAR
We hear more and more about its virtues. It is best not filtered and not pasteurized to improve the probiotic content. It improves digestives problems, has anti inflammatory virtues, and provides a healthy skin.
Gouda, gruyère, cheddar parmesan are some of the varieties of cheese that are made from unpasteurized milk and are going through an aging process enhancing the production of natural probiotics (pasteurization is a heating process to destroy microorganisms)