21 Best Probiotic Foods To Add To Diet

Submitted By Jazlyn Hunt  

The human body is teeming with different sorts of bacteria, both beneficial and harmful. Recent scientific studies have proven that having a healthy amount of bacteria in guts improves immunity and digestion. Probiotic foods are known as having the good bacteria and play a critical role in absorbing vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, chromium, and vitamins A, D, E, and K among many others. Best probiotic foods thus should be the essential part of your daily food intake. In the following, you will find a substantial list of such foods that will help you manage a healthy diet plan.

“What makes probiotic foods so special is the presence of Leuconostoc mesenteroides, which is a bacteria strain that dramatically improves the functionality of immune system. Normally these bacterial strains are present in the body’s airways and lining of digestive tract to act as mucosal barrier function.”

21. Green Peas

Green Peas

According to a recent discovery, green peas are among the best probiotic foods around. This probiotic food is an incredible way to keep healthy and aid the body in fighting off many sorts of ailments such as common cold and infections. Heat can denature the bacterial strains so cooking via heat should be kept to minimum.

Boiling is a good way to prepare them for consumption. Green peas are a classic addition to mashed potatoes, are served with different meats especially steaks and roasts, can be just as easily be used in mixed vegetables and are added to soups, stews and casseroles.

20. Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is a world famous sweet food which is devoured with relish and gusto. It also happens to be the best of best probiotic foods around. Chocolate is prepared from cocoa powder which is made from powdered cocoa beans of cocoa fruit. The cocoa powder itself is bitter but with the addition of nuts, milk, butter and sugar it turns into a delicious food.

Dark chocolate especially has been scientifically proven to have many health benefits. It fights depression, significantly lowers the risk of heart diseases, controls diabetes and dark chocolate is an excellent probiotic food source. Low temperatures during cooking are necessary to keep bacteria intact and chocolate acts as an excellent medium to keep the probiotic bacteria alive during trip through gut. Dark chocolate is excellent food option and that is just one more reason to keep loving and eating it.

19. Natto


Natto is a traditional Japanese food item served during breakfast along with rice. It is chock full of plant proteins and probiotics. It is a very healthy probiotic food to start the day and contains probiotic Bacillus subtilis natto which is excellent bacteria for gut. Natto is prepared from fermented soybeans and is just as full of vitamin K as it is with proteins, which make it very healthy for muscles and strong bones.

Nattokinase is an enzyme produced as a result of fermentation which fights Alzheimer’s disease. This best probiotic food does come with a slight setback: Natto has a very strong flavor accompanied by a pungent smell as a result of fermentation. Not to mention it is not a pretty sight while eating.

18. Kefir


Kefir has lots of lacto bacilli and bifidus bacteria which make it a good medicine to control digestive disorders as it destroys the bad gut bacteria and improve digestion. It also gives the immune system a good boost and is a rich source of proteins and minerals such as calcium and potassium, which are very important in daily diet. It is usually available in the form of fermented milk but it is also available in different enticing edible forms such as in ice cream, cheese, popsicles, oatmeal and even vegetable based probiotic drinks.

17. Miso


Miso is one of the best probiotic foods prepared from soybeans, fermented rye, many types of beans, brown rice and barley. Miso can be made from various other types of beans as well. Miso is a common addition to marinades, soups and heavy stews. It has lactobacillus and bifidus bacteria which has many health benefits for the gut. Miso comes as a thick paste with a tangy kick to the tongue and has lots of salt in it.

Adding just a little amount to a soup adds its health benefits of probiotic food and adds its own flavor to the mix. In case sodium content is a problem, opting for Chinese Miso helps because it also has a higher Miso content.

16. Kombucha


Kmobucha is finding its way back to popularity in the form of Kombucha tea. Although it seems as a simple, healthy probiotic food drink it is actually a fungus flush full of different probiotics. Not only is Kombucha becoming more popular at homes but many different industries have started mass producing it and its estimated revenue for 2015 is predicted at $500 million.

Even though this probiotic food is becoming popular today, it has been in use by the Chinese for thousands of years. Kombucha is popular in the form of fermented tea which is very high in probiotics. Not only does it improve gut health but also burns excess calories, clears the mind and improves concentration, flushes toxins from body and causes fat weight loss in body. Initial studies have proven Kombucha as one of the best probiotic drink, useful in supporting gut health and improving digestion but research is underway to find exactly what bacteria causes this.

Kombucha should be avoided by people with previous problems with candida, as it is not suitable for their consumption.

15. Umeboshi Plums


This isn’t just among the best probiotic foods; the Samurai warriors of Japan ate umeboshi pickled plums to keep their endurance and strength prevailing during intense battles. Umeboshi plums are now a staple in most diets and are common on most tables and restaurants. They have a relatively sour and salty taste and are highly alkaline in nature. These probiotic foods are often accompanied with rice.

Umeboshi plums have many health benefits such as improving digestion, detoxification of particulars in body, an excellent counter hangover and it prevents nausea and keeps the endurance of a person at peak performance.

14. Yogurt


Yoghurt is a long time contender for the title of best probiotic food and indeed there is truth to that claim. It is an easily available source of probiotics which are essential for proper digestive health. Not only does milk contain excellent probiotic properties, it is rich in proteins and lowers bad cholesterol. Eating a cup of yogurt daily significantly decreases weight. When looking for yogurt, opt for the variety which sports the label of “live and active cultures”, which means that the milk is full of probiotics and the yogurt will have more of them.

It does not matter whether the yogurt is made from cows, goats or even soy or nut milk; it is vital that it contains a punch of probiotics to aid in gut health and digestive processes. Yoghurt is easily available in almost all supermarkets, can be prepared at home and is a prime ingredient in many dishes. It can be blended with fruits to make smoothie, can be eaten on its own, can be made with fruits, can be served frozen as substitute to ice cream, is served with rice, is used as marinating agent in barbecues and is mixed with vegetables to make raita.

13. Sauerkraut


Sauerkraut is fermented cabbages which is a rich source of vitamins. It has a tangy flavor and contains no less than four varying species of bacteria which are necessary for healthy gut. The probiotic bacteria are lactic acid bacteria which makes Sauerkraut a very healthy probiotic food. These probiotic bacteria are directly responsible for a healthier gut apart from significantly reducing the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancers and gut related problems. Some types of sauerkraut are pasteurized which kills bacteria, so be sure to choose the unpasteurized variety.

12. Pickles


Pickles also happen to be one of the best probiotic foods, but the method used to prepare them should be by fermentation, not immersion in brine. Fermented vegetables improve the probiotic health of gut and pickles act in the same manner. The fermentation process of pickles yields lactobacillus bacteria, which is the main probiotic for keeping gastrointestinal (GI) tract clean, primed and functional, which allows it to create B vitamins with efficiency. If watching sodium intake in diet, be sure to choose the variety which has low sodium content.

11. Cheese


Cheese is derived from milk by its acidification and then addition of bacteria to it. The bacteria in turn break down milk compounds into simpler ones. It is one of the best high cholesterol foods there are and is a healthy source of proteins as well as being among the best probiotic foods.

Soft fermented cheese such as Swiss, Parmesan and Gouda has bacteria which aids in the cleaning of digestive tract and do not denature through the trip. Just one slice of probiotic food cheese increases the immune system activity, strength and response time. It is also proven that probiotic cheeses decrease bad cholesterol which results in controlled blood pressure. Cheese is very easy to add to diet.

Not only is this best probiotic food available in supermarkets but also sold by cottage and dairy industries. It can be eaten on its own, as a classic combination with crackers, is part of countless dishes such as pizza, sandwiches, stews, casseroles and breads, is used in baking and many other foods, so there is really no excuse to add some cheesy goodness to your life.

“Probiotic foods are not some fad but are scientifically proven to make a big deal in health and lifestyle with their introduction into diet. They are now the latest trend in food industries as they have multiple immense benefits.”

10. Tempeh


Tempeh is a probiotic food, prepared from fermented soybeans which are high in probiotics. It is the perfect food for vegetarian diets because it has high protein content, which is useful for substituting meat in diet. It also has good fiber content along with very low salt, which is good for people who are looking to cap their sodium intake. The fiber combined with probiotics makes it a very healthy gut food.

Tempeh fermentation makes it a food which allows the body to absorb minerals such as iron and calcium with ease. The enzymes during fermentation reduce complex food particles to simpler ones, which makes its digestion easy. It is a rich source of vitamin B12 and it can be sautéed, eaten on salads and even baked.

9. Kimchi


Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut but is an Asian version of it which is pickled with added spices. It has a vast sum of nutritionally beneficial food compounds and is also a rich probiotic source. The Asian touch to this dish adds garlic and ginger along with other vegetables such as radishes and scallions, combined with sharp spices. The high dose of lactic acid bacteria in Kimchi is very beneficial which makes it a very healthy probiotic food.

This pickled form of sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and supplies the body with beta-carotene, vitamin A, B1, B2, C, minerals such as calcium and iron and proteins. It is a very good food to add to diet, if you can stand up to the spice challenge.

8. Miso Soup

miso soup

Miso soup is a famous Japanese medicinal food which is well known for its macrobiotic properties in cooking and is more than often used as a digestive regulator. This nutritionally beneficial dish is made from fermented rye, beans and a choice of rice or barley. Just a tablespoon of Miso to a soup lends its healthy properties to it and turns it into one the best probiotic foods, having so many a nutritional advantages.

7. Micro Algae

Micro algae

Micro Algae is not a food source on its own but can be added to many other foods to increase probiotic levels. It is derived from ocean based plants such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae. It increases Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract, improving health. Micro algae can be added into morning smoothie, in omelets, soups and stews and sprinkled on food.

6. Poi


Poi is cooked from mashed and cooked taro plants, till they resemble liquid to dough like consistency. It has a higher bacterial content that makes it the best probiotic food than even yogurt but is still pending probiotic labels. There are problems in mass producing it with a hindered percent hygiene, so it is not commercially available. Freshly cooked poi is a very dense source of probiotic bacteria and should be eaten in that form.

5. Ginger Beer

Ginger beer

This form of beer takes its roots back in Victorian Era England. Although it is non alcoholic, it still has trace amounts of alcohol in it. It is a very healthy, tasty drink to increase gut’s probiotic activity. It is available in supermarket in cans and glass bottles under soda category.

4. Unpasteurized Cheese

Unpasteurized Cheese

Unpasteurized cheeses such as Gouda, Provolone, Gruyere, and Cheddar are the best probiotic foods and that is due to the fact that they have live bacterial cultures present in them. The cheese works as a defendant against stomach acidity which would otherwise kill bacteria and transports them to the gut. Unpasteurized cheese has a high protein content which is very good for muscles and low cholesterol levels.

3. Buttermilk


Buttermilk is a lacto fermented dairy product which is very healthy. It is very low in fat content and has the added benefit for lactose intolerant people as the lactose has already broken down into lactic acid, they can drink it too. It might be low in fats but is rich in vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, and proteins. It gives muscles energy, facilitates digestion and decreases acidity levels in stomach.

2. Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Fermented cod liver oil is very healthy probiotic foods. It increases probiotic content along with vitamin D and A levels. It is very beneficial for skin and cell repair. It is available in the form of pills and packed in bottles. It is hard to swallow it on its own so it can also be added to fresh food and eaten on the spot.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is on the list of almost all health foods and it is also considered the best probiotic foods. It is very high in probiotic content and is just as tasty. It can be added to salads to enhance flavor, can be sprinkled on vegetables, popcorn, and chips and even added to other sauces such as tomato ketchup. Add this delicious vinegar category to boost your life.

Quick link = Benefits of apple cider vinegar


The best probiotic foods are the ones that not only increase good bacteria content in stomach but also give other health benefits and nutrient and minerals. This list of probiotic foods can be incorporated into diet very easily and are a healthy choice of lifestyle.

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