Top 20 Probiotic Foods To Support Gut Health

Best probiotic foods for gut health

There are two ways to get more good bacteria into your gut: fermented foods and dietary supplements.

Fermented foods are considered the more natural source of probiotics. On the other hand, probiotic supplements, available over the counter, are generally used to address specific health conditions and are not typically recommended for daily or long-term use unless advised by a healthcare professional.



Top benefits of probiotic foods 


Probiotic foods offer several potential benefits for human health. Here are some of the top benefits associated with consuming probiotic-rich foods:

Improved gut health: Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is crucial for digestive health and proper nutrient absorption. They can support a healthy microbiome and promote regular bowel movements.


Enhanced immune function: The gut is closely connected to the immune system, and probiotics have been shown to stimulate and regulate immune responses. By promoting a balanced immune system, probiotics may help reduce the risk of certain infections and support overall immune function.


Reduced digestive disorders: Probiotics have been found to alleviate symptoms of various digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, gas, and diarrhea. They can help restore gut flora balance and improve gastrointestinal symptoms.


Management of antibiotic-associated issues: Antibiotics can disrupt the natural balance of gut bacteria, leading to conditions such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Probiotics can help mitigate these issues by restoring beneficial bacteria and reducing the risk of antibiotic-related digestive disturbances.


Potential mental health benefits: There is emerging research indicating a connection between the gut and the brain, often referred to as the gut-brain axis. Some studies suggest that probiotics may have a positive impact on mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and stress, although further research is needed in this area.


Support for skin health: Probiotics may play a role in maintaining healthy skin. Some evidence suggests that probiotic supplementation or topical application may improve skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea.


Potential heart health benefits: Certain strains of probiotics have been associated with improvements in heart health markers, such as reducing LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure. However, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of these benefits.


Improved vaginal health: Probiotics, particularly strains of Lactobacillus, can help maintain a healthy vaginal microbiota and prevent conditions such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.


It’s important to note that individual responses to probiotic foods can vary, and the specific benefits may depend on the strains and doses of probiotics consumed.



Top 20 probiotic foods to support gut health


There are several probiotic-rich foods that can provide beneficial bacteria to support gut health. Here are some examples of the best probiotic foods:


Yogurt: Yogurt is one of the most well-known probiotic foods. Look for yogurts labeled with live or active cultures, such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium strains.


Kefir: Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains a variety of probiotic strains. It is similar to yogurt but has a thinner consistency and tangy flavor.


Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and is a good source of probiotics, particularly Lactobacillus bacteria. Look for unpasteurized sauerkraut to ensure live probiotic cultures.


Kimchi: Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, such as cabbage and radishes. It contains a range of beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.


Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that contains probiotic cultures. It is made by fermenting sweetened tea with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).


Miso: Miso is a fermented paste commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is made from soybeans fermented with koji (a type of fungus) and often contains the probiotic strain, Bacillus subtilis.


Tempeh: Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that originates from Indonesia. It contains natural probiotics and is a good source of protein as well.


Pickles: Traditional pickles made by fermentation, rather than vinegar, can contain live probiotic cultures. Look for pickles made through the fermentation process.


Greek-style yogurt: Greek-style yogurt is strained to remove whey, resulting in a thicker texture. It often contains probiotic cultures and can be a good source of protein.


Natto: Natto is a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans. It contains the probiotic Bacillus subtilis and is known for its strong flavor and sticky texture.


Sourdough bread: Authentic sourdough bread made through the natural fermentation process can contain beneficial lactic acid bacteria.


Buttermilk: Traditionally fermented buttermilk contains probiotics and can be enjoyed as a beverage or used in cooking and baking.


Kvass: Kvass is a traditional Eastern European fermented beverage made from rye bread, beetroot, or other vegetables. It contains beneficial lactobacilli.


Apple cider vinegar: Unfiltered apple cider vinegar that contains the “mother” (a cloudy substance) can have probiotic properties. It is best consumed in small amounts, diluted with water.


Nondairy yogurts: Plant-based yogurts made from coconut, almond, or soy milk can also be fortified with probiotic strains, offering options for individuals with lactose intolerance or those following a vegan diet.


Fermented soy products: Apart from tempeh, other fermented soy products like soy sauce, miso paste, and natto can provide probiotic benefits.


Pickled vegetables: Pickled vegetables made through fermentation, such as pickled cucumbers, carrots, or beets, can contain beneficial bacteria.


Water kefir: Water kefir is a fermented beverage made from water, sugar, and kefir grains. It offers a dairy-free alternative to kefir with probiotic content.


Coconut milk kefir: Kefir made with coconut milk can provide probiotics while offering a dairy-free option for those with lactose intolerance or following a vegan diet.


Ginger beer: Homemade ginger beer that undergoes fermentation can contain live cultures and serve as a probiotic-rich beverage.



Remember that the probiotic content and strains can vary among different brands and preparation methods. It’s important to read product labels, choose options with live cultures, and consider incorporating a variety of probiotic foods to support a diverse gut microbiota.



And when in doubt that you cannot meet your probiotic needs through food alone, take a supplement!



Align Probiotic is the #1 doctor-recommended brand.


Align Probiotic is nearly two times more recommended by Gastroenterologists (vs other probiotic brands) for over 14 years running due to its unique strain: Bifidobacterium 35624.


  • Align Probiotic is the #1 probiotic recommended by Gastroenterologists for over 15 years running.

  • Developed by gastroenterologists and backed by 20+ years of research.

  • Align Probiotic contains the unique strain Bifidobacterium 35624TM.

  • Gluten- and soy-free, vegetarian and does not require refrigeration.


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