Gastrointestinal (GI) health is essential for overall health and well-being. The GI tract is responsible for not only the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat; it also plays a major role in our ability to rid ourselves of toxins (a process called detoxification) and comprises about 70% of our overall immune function.

One of the key players in these processes are the trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit the GI tract – a system that is collectively called the gut flora. Keeping the gut flora in balance is vital for proper GI functioning, and one of the best ways to do that is to eat fermented foods that are high in probiotics.

Fermented Foods for GI Health

Research is uncovering more information about the importance of the gut flora every day. What is known is that one of the most effective ways to maintain optimal GI health is by eating foods that are high in probiotics, which are good bacteria that live in your gut and show up in fermented foods. Eat some of the following fermented foods that are high in probiotics every day and your gut will thank you!

Best Fermented Foods for Probiotics

  1. Miso – miso is a fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans that adds a bold, slightly salty flavor to many dishes.
  2. Sauerkraut – sauerkraut is simple to make from just cabbage and salt; it provides a healthy dose of probiotics and fiber.
  3. Yogurt – look for brands that state “Live & Active Cultures” as these guarantee about 100 million probiotic CFU (colony forming units) per gram (or about 17 billion CFU in a 6-ounce cup).
  4. Kefir – kefir is a fermented milk drink; it looks and tastes like drinkable yogurt.
  5. Kombucha – kombucha is a tangy tea typically made from black or green tea. It comes in numerous flavors and varieties, so try several to find one you enjoy.
  6. Tempeh – tempeh is made from naturally fermented soybeans. It has a slightly nutty flavor and is packed with probiotics. It is also a great vegetarian source of protein.

Experiment with one of more of these fermented foods each week to provide the probiotics your body needs to achieve and maintain optimal health.