Probiotics; Beneficial Forms of Gut Bacteria Found In Food


Benefits of Probiotics


What is a Probiotic?

Probiotics are beneficial forms of gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. In addition to taking a  probiotic supplement, individuals can also eat probiotic foods that are a host to these live bacterium.

After being treated for a C. difficile infection there are some foods one needs to avoid. However, there are many foods that are beneficial for people recovering from C. difficile infection. There are foods that introduce friendly bacteria and they are called probiotics which repopulate the gut with good bacteria.

A recent study found that the probiotic foods that are effective in reducing diarrhea need to consist of the live cultures L.casei, L.bulgaricus, and S.thermophilus.

Natural Probiotic bacteria can be found in fermented foods such as;  Sauerkraut which is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but might also helps with reducing allergy symptoms. Sauerkraut also contains vitamins B, A, E and C.

Tempeh (fermented soybean) A great substitute for meat or tofu, tempeh is a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans. A great source of vitamin B12, this vegetarian food can be sauteed, baked or eaten crumbled on salads. Tempeh is also very low in salt, which makes it an ideal choice for those on a low-sodium diet.

Miso (fermented soybean paste) is one the main-stays of traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup, full of live lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria.

Yogurt is one of the best probiotic foods with live cultures.   Look for brands made from goat’s milk  that have been infused with extra forms of probitoics such as lactobacillus or acidophilus. Goat’s milk and cheese are particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus. Be sure to read the ingredients list, as not all yogurt is made equally. Many popular brands are filled with fructose corn syrup and artificial sweetners.

Kefir (yeast grain)  very similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains. High in live lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria.   Look for a good, organic version at your local health food store or food store organic selections.


Karen Factor, RD, MS, Chairperson of Nutrition Wellness

May 22, 2014