If you have a stressful and busy life (I think most of us do these days😵💫), it's important to find ways to prioritize your health and well-being. One way to do this is by taking good care of your gut health and incorporating fermented and fiber-rich foods into your diet. These foods can help improve your gut flora 🦠 and give you a much-needed health boost. It is estimated that nearly 80% of your immune system gets regulated through the gut, so what we choose to eat impacts our entire being.
Why fermented foods are good for you?💚
Raw, fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, which can help improve your gut health. These probiotics can help balance the microflora in your digestive system and support a healthy immune system. Fermented foods are also a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds.
Top 5 Delicious Vegan Probiotic Foods
Wondering what foods you should add to your diet? We've put together the list of our 5 best vegan, low-calorie probiotic sources that will keep your gut healthy and your tastebuds very satisfied:
- Sauerkraut - This fermented cabbage dish is a staple in many European cuisines. It's made by fermenting cabbage in salt water (brine), which allows beneficial bacteria to thrive and ferment the cabbage. Simplest recipe uses only 2 ingredients cabbage and salt. Sauerkraut is a great source of probiotics and is also high in vitamins C and K.
- Kimchi - This spicy Korean dish is made from fermented Napa cabbage and a variety of vegetables, such as radishes and onions. It's often seasoned with garlic, chili flakes, and ginger, giving it a unique and spicy taste profile. Kimchi is a rich source of probiotics and also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. (*if buying in-store check that it’s vegan, as some recipes use fish sauce)
- Water kefir - This refreshing fermented beverage is made from water, sugar, and kefir culture. It has a slightly sweet and tangy flavor and is a good source of probiotics, as well as vitamins and minerals. Find out more here or learn how to make it at home
- Kombucha - This fermented tea beverage is made by adding a culture of bacteria and yeast to sweetened tea. It has a slightly sour and fizzy taste and is a great source of probiotics, as well as antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.
- Fermented cherry tomatoes - These small, flavorful tomatoes can be fermented in vinegar or salt water to create a tangy and slightly sour condiment. They are a good source of probiotics and also contain vitamin C and other nutrients.
DIY or buy?
All of these fermented gut-friendly foods are fun and easy to make at home! However, if you're buying them from a supermarket, it's important to check the labels and make sure that they are unpasteurized, unprocessed, and reside in a chilled aisle. Look for labels that say "living," "live cultures," or "raw," as these products are more likely to contain actual live probiotic cultures. Avoid ambient products, which are heat-treated or include preservatives that destroy the beneficial bacteria.
Click here to learn how to make fresh probiotic water kefir at home