Before discussing the vegan probiotic sources, let us give you a brief introduction about probiotics.
Probiotics are bacteria like organisms which play an important role in regulating our digestive system and boosting up the immune system. They assist the breakdown of food in out gut thereby resulting into its proper digestion. These extremely useful elements keep out gut in harmony. In addition to improving our digestive system, probiotics have many other benefits on our health like they lower the chances of diarrhea, prevent cholesterol levels from getting high and also provide immunity against viral, fungal and bacterial infections.
You must be concerned about the intake of probiotics. However, you can intake them in two ways- through probiotic supplements and by eating probiotic rich foods. But, it is always recommended to intake probiotics through food so that you can avoid the side effects of supplements. Yogurt is known as the best source of probiotics. But as veganism cuts the use of all animal products, yogurt is no longer an option for them. Though the plant based yogurts are also available in the market nowadays, but in many of them probiotics get destroyed during the heating process. Thus, it becomes little difficult for vegans to get the proper amount of probiotics.
But, now you don’t need to worry. If you are a vegan, then you have many other non-yogurt options which are good sources of vegan probiotics. Here, we are going to enlist these probiotic rich foods that you can include in your diet.
Sauerkraut is tangy, crunchy and little salty that everyone will love to eat it again and again. It is prepared from the fermented cabbages and is loaded with probiotics. It is also highly rich in Vitamin B and vitamin C components. Though you can easily get sauerkraut from market, but to get all its nutritional benefits, especially probiotics, you need to ensure that it is natural. When buying sauerkraut from the market, make sure that it is not pasteurized because pasteurization will kill all its useful elements. Another way of getting natural sauerkraut is preparing it yourself. Not only this product will provide you the required amount of vegan probiotics, but will also provide you good immunity against heart, skin and digestive problems. Sauerkraut also helps you to prevent cancer and strengthen your bones.
2. Water Kefir
You must be aware of the kefir which is prepared using dairy products, but here, we are talking about the water kefir. Many of you may not be aware of this kefir which is prepared from simple or coconut water. While preparing water kefir, you have the choice of using kefir grains or powdered kefir starter culture. But, it would be better if you use kefir grains as they contain more probiotics than powdered starter. You can also add some sugar for taste and to make it more nutritious, you can add some dry fruits to it. Water kefir is similar to Kombucha, but it contains more bacterial strain than Kombucha.
However, many people think that whether this product is equally rich in vegan probiotics as that of milk kefir or not. Though it contains fewer strains of probiotics, but it is the product on which vegans can rely for the intake of probiotics.
This spicy and sour dish is also prepared using fermented cabbage along with other veggies. It is rich in probiotics, antioxidants and vitamins that are greatly beneficial for our good health. Usually, cucumber and radish are used as additional veggies, but to make it delicious you can add the vegetables and seasoning of your choice. Though kimchi is also available in the market, but you should avoid buying it. In order to retain all its bacterial components, you should prepare it yourself.
As Kimchi is also prepared by using seafood or fish, vegans should check the ingredients if they are buying it from the market. All the weight conscious vegans will be happy to know that kimchi is a low caloric food.
Prepared from fermented soy-beans, tempeh is a rich source of vegan probiotics. Along with that it is a good source of magnesium, folate, iron, vitamin K, fiber and many proteins. It acts as a natural antibiotic and provides great immunity against different kind of diseases. Vitamin K regulates the blood clotting, maintains the bone density and plays an important role in preventing the cardiovascular diseases. Folate is the best component for the development, repair and maintenance of blood cells. The color of tempeh may vary in your different recipes, but make sure that it does not get yellow, pink or blue as it is the sign of over fermentation.
Kombucha is probiotic superstar. It is the best source if you are looking for vegan probiotics. It is slightly fizzy and sour in taste. It is prepared using tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast, thus, it contains high amount of gut friendly bacteria. Along with that it is also rich in antioxidants and Vitamin B12. Kombucha plays a vital role in improving our digestive and liver functions. It boosts our immune system and provides an effective protection again cancer and other normal infections. Along with ensuring our wellness, Kombucha also helps us to enhance our beauty. The vitamin B12 improves the condition of our skin, hair and nails.
It is beneficial to prepare Kombucha at home to retain all its beneficial components, but if you are buying it from the market then ensure to buy from a reliable brand.
Prepared from fermented soybeans as a main component, Miso is considered as a great source of probiotics. It is a nutrient-dense food which is believed to alkalize the body, and neutralize the effects of pollution on our body. Along with providing the high strains of vegan probiotics, it plays an important role in restoring the beneficial probiotics to our intestines. It assists the assimilation and digestion of food in our stomach by preserving the digestive fluids in it. Including Miso in your diet will also protect you from prostrate, breast, lung and colon cancer. While preparing Miso, ensure that it is not overheated as it will kill all beneficial probiotics.
7. Sourdough bread
You won’t believe that you can also get probiotics from bread. It is the sourdough bread which can provide probiotics to your body. This is a valuable dish for the people who are conscious about their body weight. Because it has lower glycemic index, it will make you feel full for longer. It is rich is lactobacillus bacteria which produces lactic acid in our body and thus, helps in the easier digestion of food. The fermentation process while preparing the sourdough leads to the production of healthy gut bacteria.
8. Sour pickles
You should eat sour pickles if you are looking for food sources of vegan probiotics. Whether you believe or not, they are good sources of probiotics. One thing that you need to consider while choosing pickles is that they should be prepared using sea salt and water instead of vinegar. It is because of the fact that vinegar will not assist the growth of beneficial bacteria in our body. If you are going to intake pickles as a source of probiotics, then ensure that they are fermented with bacterial cultures.
Nutritiously prepared pickles are good for strengthening our immune system, maintaining the blood pressure levels in our body and preventing the heart strokes. They also protect us against various types of infections which include cold, tuberculosis, pneumonia and vaginal infections.
Microalgae refer to ocean based plants like spirulina, blue-green algae and chorella. However, microalgae are not a food in itself but it can be added to many other foods, like, you can add microalgae to your soup, sweet smoothie and other dishes.
These plants are rich in probiotics and when mixed with the other probiotic rich food, they will really boost up the probiotic levels in it.
10. Green peas
It has been recently discovered that green peas are good source of probiotics. It is the food item on which the vegans can rely on. This probiotic rich food source provides you protection against various infections and also improves the digestion in your body. As it is not expensive, you can take it in your daily diet. Though peas can be cooked via low heating, but is better to boil them for retaining all its probiotic components. You can cook them alone or can mix with any other vegetables. Peas can also be added to soup.
So, vegans don’t need to worry about their probiotic intake. All the above mentioned foods are easily available and you can simply include them in your daily diet. However, beside these above given probiotic rich foods, you can also take probiotic supplements if your body is greatly in their need. But, while buying any supplement, make sure that it is approved by FDA.
Always try to intake the probiotic foods which not only boost up the bacterial content in your body, but also provide other health benefits.