We have around 100 trillion bacteria living inside the gut. Some of these are good and some are bad. Having the right balance is associated with a strong immune system, excellent digestion and overall good health. Probiotic foods are easy to digest as they have already been partially broken down by bacteria. This process increases the bioavailability of nutrients for absorption.
With the increased consumption of processed food live foods are becoming less common, however probiotic supplements are increasing in popularity. Traditional cultures knew the benefits of probiotic foods even if they didn’t understand the science. While supplements may have some benefits it’s always better to choose natural sources where possible; and probiotic food is a tasty way to gut health.
Compared to supplements probiotic foods contain hundreds of times more good bacteria and a wider variety of strains. However supplements have a limited variety of strains, and as each person has their own unique population of bacteria this may not be beneficial to everyone. In addition there is still a lot of conflicting opinions on whether or not probiotic supplements actually stay in your gut long term and how many survive through the stomach acid. However probiotic foods seem to be much more resistant to digestion
Although probiotic supplement may be beneficial in some cases as a temporary treatment, probiotic foods should be included occasionally as part of a healthy diet. Probiotic foods come in many forms which can be purchased or home made, these include:
• Some cheeses
If you decide to purchase these foods be aware that pickled isn’t always the same as fermented. Pickled foods that you buy in the supermarket are preserved using acid (usually vinegar) and are produced using high heats which destroy many nutrients. They also lack the good bacteria found in fermented foods. Fermented foods do not use vinegar, instead the vegetable is left in salt water brine for at least a week where the colour, texture and flavour change while bacteria reacts to produce lactic acid; a natural preservative. Therefore creating a live nutrient packed food. To ensure you are buying live probiotic foods make sure it is fermented and not pickled in vinegar.