Probiotic foods are one of the best ways to support gut health, and there are a number of family-friendly foods everyone will enjoy. While we do recommend taking a daily probiotic, additional probiotic rich foods can help support the fragile gut biome that’s so crucial for our health.
While some of these can be eaten by themselves, there are also some great recipes to mix it up.
Perhaps one of the best known sources of probiotics, yogurt is a great fermented food option for your family. However, you need to find the right yogurt, because many are pasteurized. (Thus killing the good bacteria.) Many yogurt brands contain added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and dyes.
The best probiotic yogurts are made with fermented raw milk that have live cultures and no sugar. You can add sweetness with fruit or a bit of honey.
Incorporate yogurt into your family’s diet with smoothies, granola parfaits (be careful of sugar content in the granola!) and with fresh fruit. Make this a fun snack for your kids by turning it into “fondue” and using crackers, fruit, and other dippable fruits!
Another popular choice, kombucha is a fermented tea that contains probiotics. However, many commercial kombucha brands add excess sugar and additional probiotic cultures that are likely “dead”.
The best kombucha brands will not promise a certain number of strains, because it’s hard to know the exact number. If you do want to drink kombucha (it’s certainly delicious!), look for varieties that contain 2-5g of sugar per serving.
Kefir resembles a drinkable yogurt, and can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk. Raw milk is preferable, and it can even be made with coconut or rice milk. There is a significant difference between the strains of bacteria in yogurt and kefir.
Kefir contains strains of bacteria that isn’t found in yogurt, as well as yeast that is beneficial to your gut. These strains help colonize your intestinal tract for optimal gut health.
Try adding kefir to smoothies, or as a drink by itself. Like yogurt, many brands add sugar and other additives you don’t need. Your best bet is making it yourself, which isn’t as complicated as you may think! Here’s a great starter recipe.
Tempeh is a low-fat, high-protein food made from cooked and fermented soybeans. It resembles a firm veggie burger, and is a great vegetarian protein source. While it may seem similar to tofu, tempeh’s taste and texture are very different.
Incorporating tempeh into your diet is easy! Try it in stirfries, sandwiches, or even chili.
Probiotic supplements are great to support a regulated digestive system, and fermented foods like these are an ideal way to get some added gut health benefits. From kombucha to kefir, these foods are bound to become a part of your weekly meal rotation, and can help your family stay healthy and active.