It’s not difficult to get into a rut with food. As we rush about in our busy lives, many times nutrition takes a backseat to more pressing concerns.
The regrettable cost of this shortcut?
Expanding waistlines, dulled thinking and floundering immune systems.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.
By including a few probiotic-rich foods in our daily routine, we can greatly improve mental and physical well-being — all without unpleasant fad diets.
Traditionally used around the globe, and cheered by modern health advocates, the art of fermentation and culturing is an easy, cost-effective method to maximize nutrition while improving digestion and health.
These foods, with their spectrum of beneficial bacteria, can be an absolute revelation for those with less than perfect physical and mental health.
1. Painless Weight Loss
If you feel your current weight is far from ideal — and would like to shed a few pounds — probiotics can help. Researchers discovered in a study that women who consumed a strain of lactic acid bacteria called Lactobacillus rhamnosus lost twice as much weight as their non-probiotic counterparts.
Over the course of 12 weeks, half the women were given two probiotic pills per day, while the other received a placebo. At the end of the study, the researchers observed that the weight of the women in the placebo group remained stable, whereas the probiotic group continued to lose weight, totaling 5.2 kg per person. As reported by in the study’s press release:
“[P]robiotics may act by altering the permeability of the intestinal wall. By keeping certain proinflammatory molecules from entering the bloodstream, they might help preventing the chain reaction that leads to glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.”
Although Lactobacillus rhamnosus was administered in pill form, the bacterium is also present in products like yogurt with active cultures. Professor Tremblay, lead researcher of the study, believes that the probiotics found in cultured dairy could have a similar effect as the supplement.
2. Clear Mind and Sound Health
Weight loss isn’t the only advantage of increasing your intake of probiotics; they might actually make you smarter too. If you find yourself struggling with brain fog, depression or anxiety, the problem may lie in the gut.
Through the use of antibiotics, consuming a diet high in sugary, processed food or living in a constant state of stress, the beneficial microbiome in our gut becomes imbalanced — which contributes to unclear thinking, sadness and excessive worry. But we can easily correct this issue by enjoying more foods like:
- unpasteurized sauerkraut
- beet kvass
- traditional sourdough bread
- Ethiopian injera
- traditional buttermilk
As an added perk, probiotic-rich foods also give the immune system a nice leg-up. As noted in the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice:
“Randomized, double-blind studies have provided evidence of the effectiveness of probiotics for preventing various diarrheal illnesses as well as allergic disorders. Evidence for their efficacy for use in the prevention and treatment of bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections is also mounting. In addition, probiotics may be useful for preventing respiratory infections, dental caries, necrotizing enterocolitis, and certain aspects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”
If you would like to try your hand at fermenting and culturing, here’s a list of recipes you can use.
Awesome Fermented Food & Drink Recipes
Need to Kick a Soda Habit? Try Kombucha! from We Got Real
Flavored Kombucha by Real Food Forager
How to Make Kombucha (Continuous Brew) by Nourished Kitchen
Traditional Techniques: Brewing Kombucha by Nourishing Herbalist
How to Make Beet Kvass that Actually Tastes Good by Fearless Eating
How to Brew Water Kefir by Nourished Kitchen
How to Make Ginger Bug for Homemade Sodas by Nourished Kitchen
Bubbly Probiotic Lemonade by Learning and Yearning
Water Kefir Basics by Real Food Outlaws
Herbal Kefir Iced Tea by Nourishing Herbalist
Easy Probiotic Strawberry Limeade by Mindful Mama
Cultured Strawberry Soda by Holistic Squid
Lacto-Fermented Orange Juice by Oh Lardy!
Fermented Habanero Hot Sauce by Homemade Mommy
Fermented Salsa by Homemade Mommy
How to Make Kimchi by Real Food Outlaws
30 Second Lacto-Fermented Salsa by Cheeseslave
Easy Homemade Lacto-Fermented Ketchup by Girl Meets Nourishment
Lacto-Fermented Mayo + Video by Girl Meets Nourishment
Fruit & Vegetables
Fermented Vegetables by Homemade Mommy
Fermented Watermelon Radish by Homemade Mommy
Fermented Cabbage Juice by Real Food Forager
Brine-pickled Peperoncini by Nourished Kitchen
Fermented Grape Tomatoes by Learning and Yearning
Lacto-Fermented Dilly Green Beans by Real Food Outlaws
Pickled Garlic, Y’all by The Sprouting Seed
Lacto-Fermented Vegetables by Healthy People, Healthy Planet
A Peck of Pickled Peppers by Mommypotamus
Fermented Radishes by Mommypotamus
Lacto-Fermented Berries by Oh Lardy!
Fermented Yams by Cheeseslave
Moroccan Preserved Lemons by Nourished Kitchen
Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots by Girl Meets Nourishment
Fermented Cranberry Sauce by Oh Lardy!
Ridiculously Easy Homemade Dill Pickles by Primally Inspired
Lacto-Fermented Sweet Pickle Slices by Real Food Outlaws
Lacto-Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles by Real Food Outlaws
Crunchy Fermented Pickle Slices by Girl Meets Nourishment
How to Make Lacto-Fermented Summer Squash and Zucchini Pickles by Fearless Eating
5 Minute Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut or Garlic Sauerkraut by Real Food Outlaws
Homemade Sauerkraut by Hollywood Homestead
Sauerkraut by Homemade Mommy
How To Make Easy Sauerkraut by Primally Inspired
Homemade Sauerkraut by Nourished Kitchen
Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut by Girl Meets Nourishment
Coconut Milk Yogurt by Real Food Forager
Matsoni: The Easiest Yogurt You’ll Make by Nourished Kitchen
Milk Kefir: What It Is & How to Brew It by Nourished Kitchen
How to Make Liquid Whey and Greek Yogurt by Girl Meets Nourishment
Milk Kefir: What it is and how to make it by We Got Real