Eating live organisms? Yes, that’s right. Here’s a guide to adding health-packed probiotics to your diet.
Nowadays, we go to the ends of the earth to eat healthily. Whether it’s adopting an organic diet, doubling up on the veggies or cutting out fried foods, the American population is more educated than ever. Still, so many of us miss out on essential ingredients known for their powerful nutrition.
So, hear us out: it’s time to introduce probiotics to your meals.
What are probiotics, anyway?
While a prescribed dose of antibiotics helps to ward off harmful bacteria, ‘probiotics’ are live cultures—the good bacteria—that keep your body working in tiptop shape. Of course, yeast and fungi occur naturally in the body. But when you’re feeling sick or lacking certain nutrients, you can kickstart your system’s natural defenses by purposely adding probiotics to each meal.
Now, it’s important to note that the health benefits of probiotics die off at around 115°F. Therefore, your probiotic strategy is limited to certain cooking preparations. That said, many of us consume probiotics in our favorite foods without even knowing it!
Learn a bit about the benefits of these live organisms, and take extra measures to introduce them to your diet on a daily basis.
Probiotics: your first line of defense
When consumed properly and regularly, probiotics offer a variety of health benefits. Depending on the exact strain and its components, probiotic foods are known to:
- Improve digestive health (they’re good for the gut!)
- Alleviate constipation and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
- Help reduce anxiety and depression (especially associated with IBS)
- Promote a healthy heart and cardiac system
- Boost skin’s healthy tone and glow
- Regulate urinary and vaginal health in women
- Ward off cold and allergy symptoms
- Improve oral/dental health
- Help lower LDL cholesterol levels
- Promote healthy blood pressure levels
Although probiotics should never replace medicine or other regimens prescribed by a doctor, your body could use all the good mojo it can get! Above all other benefits, many people consume live cultures to aid digestion and maintain a healthy gut.
Which foods have probiotics?
Some people take probiotics in pill form or via some other dietary supplement. However, there are plenty of dishes and ingredients packed with good bacteria thanks to the good old fermentation process.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most common foods containing probiotics:
- Yogurt – Since it’s made primarily from milk, yummy yogurt has gone through a rigorous fermentation process. Eat it for breakfast to boost your bone health, lower blood pressure, help with lactose intolerance, among other benefits. Don’t forget to look for the label with ‘live active cultures.’
- Kimchi – This delectable dish is a staple in Korean cuisine and consists of cabbage and other veggies. The fermentation process happens thanks to a healthy seasoning of red chili pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, scallions, salt and more. Eat often to promote digestive comfort.
- Sauerkraut – Well, hot diggity dog! Your preferred topping at the ball park makes your wiener taste good and your body feel even better! This Eastern European classic packs a bitter bite and salty kick. Not only is it extremely high in C, B and K vitamins, but it delivers a much-needed dose of fiber to your diet.
- Miso – Used as a key ingredient in various Japanese dishes, miso tastes as amazing as its powerful health advantages! The seasoning is concocted of fermented soybeans, salt, and koji, which is a ‘filamentous fungus,’ according to the good people at Wikipedia. Above all, folks love the smooth, salty taste of a good miso soup. But be careful! If you add miso to the broth while its boiling, you run the risk of killing off its plentiful probiotics.
- Kombucha – Although its available bottled in your local grocery, ‘kombucha’—a kind of fermented tea—can also be made at home. Look up some homemade recipes online, and drink up to soothe an upset tummy, improve digestion and get quick relief from constipation and diarrhea.
- Pickles – Pile them on high! This zero-calorie favorite is packed full of precious probiotics. Of course, pickles also complement so many of our classic American dishes like the cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, lunch meat hoagies and more. Watch out, as they’re high in sodium. Still, pickles are known to support healthy circulation and digestion.
Pass the probiotics, please
So, you think you’re ready to incorporate probiotics into your recipes?
We chose a handful of dishes that easily accommodate a hearty dose of active cultures. Let us know how they turn out!
Scrambled Eggs with Kimchi from Leaf + Grain
This recipe is oh-so easy yet oh-so pleasing. Featuring leafy green kale, alfalfa sprouts, cabbage and radish kimchi, and a dash of olive oil, this no-fuss dish is a delight for the entire family to digest.
Tomato Chicken Curry with Greek Yogurt from Bon Appetit
We always equate yogurt with breakfast or brunch, but let’s go beyond the parfait! After all, your awesome Made In cookware deserves a good workout.
This delectable chicken curry recipe calls for coconut oil, garlic, whole peeled tomatoes, chicken breasts and a host of other scrumptious flavors. The best part? A healthy drizzle of probiotic-packed yogurt at the end.
German Meatballs with Sauerkraut from Taste of Home
Get inspired by Oktoberfest all year long. This traditional dinnertime meal is comprised of a combination of ground beef and pork, onion, Worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs and other pantry staples. Finish off each plate with a beautiful bed of sauerkraut, and you’ve never felt more refreshed (and filled)!
Did we lift the stigma from bacterial food? Enjoy your yummy probiotic dishes, and come back soon for more Made In magic.