If you haven’t tried truly fermented foods then this might perhaps be the missing link to your diet.
A fermented food is a food that is cultured with healthy bacteria that predigests the food and produces probiotic bacteria. Some of the world’s longest living cultures; such as the Bulgarians, Japanese and Indian all consume some sort of probiotic food.
There is even Nobel Prize winning material discovering that our own probiotics were the first line of defense for the immune system. The work by Metchnikof who won the prize in the early sixties found that disease and early aging were due to an imbalance of gut microbiota.
He was the man that claimed that when the large intestine began to rot from undigested food we became sick due to parasites and yeast overgrowth. This is where we gained awareness of things such as constipation and for it to be avoided at all costs.
Oddly enough, up to 80% of American’s suffer from constipation while other countries like Bulgaria do not, also living especially long and healthy lives.
Why are the Bulgarians living up to their 100’s meanwhile America’s dying of poop-rot induced heart-attacks? Well, aside from America’s spiritually repressive attitudes in general, Bulgarians consume large amounts of cultured foods. In addition to consuming these medicinal foods, they also do not consume the same modified and industrialized foods found in America.
Back in the days especially, Bulgarians did not have fridges so they would ferment large amounts of raw milk, turning into a probiotic soured milk. According to research, apparently consumption of a Créme of Bulgare or soured milk makes the colon more acidic, which promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.
Though there are many factors to a living a long and healthy life, it’s arguably true that a whole foods diet, rich in lactic bacteria to support a healthy digestive system is a wise move in the right direction on many accounts.
The Top 10 Best Probiotic Foods
In deciding what makes the ideal probiotic food we want to consider a few things; the type of food, the type of bacteria and of course how it was prepared. There are several types of probiotic foods and each offering a different experience.
There is of course always the taste factor too, which is important when considering we want longevity here. If you do not find the food tasty, you won’t reap much of the reward.
Which ever of these foods you decide to incorporate into your diet, you will be consuming a healthy food that is actually more nutritious than in it’s original form. That is because culturing and fermentation increases the bioavailability of nutrients.
Here are my favorite probiotic foods for you to choose from:
- Milk Kefir- This is a yogurt like beverage that has been referred to as the ‘Champagne of Milk’. This is because it contains beneficial yeasts in addition to beneficial bacteria. These yeasts turn the milk it’s cultured in into a effervescent beverage. It’s superior to yogurt because it contains often up to 30 + strains of bacteria and yeast. Where yogurt contains only a few and no good yeasts. This makes kefir an ideal food for balancing Candida infections. If you’re going to do kefir, make sure you use raw milk that is preferably ethically raised, organic and grass-fed. To make your own, find a source of raw milk (you can use almond and nut milks) then let sit at room temp for 1-2 days with a starter culture. This is much easier to prepare than yogurt too!
- Yogurt- This shouldn’t come of much surprise to many. Real raw yogurt is a cultured milk using lactic acid-producing bacteria called Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillius bulgariicus (the bacteria found soured milk). These are well researched and known for benefitting the digestive system. If you are to consume yogurt your best options are sheep’s or goat’s milk. However, you can try cow’s milk too if it is of quality. In France I would make my own yogurt using raw Jersey Cow milk. It was so yellow from the CLA and Omega’s and digested like a dream. You can make your own using raw milk, mason jars and a yogurt starter. The downside is you need to heat up the milk a bit and keep it much warmer than you do when making kefir.
- Raw cheese- Cheese gets a bad wrap; however, really raw cheese is loaded with enzymes (lipase), probiotics, vitamins (especially vitamin K), and minerals. Raw milk cheese from grass-fed cows is also a great source of Iodine, which is needed for healthy thyroid function and basically a million other ones. My favorite is raw sheep cheese.
- Cultured Vegetables– An example of cultured vegetables would be sauerkraut. However, not the stuff you see in a can or bag. That is a dead, highly processed and pasteurized food. I’m talking about the real stuff, fermented in a croc for 90 years and blessed by Monks. Okay, it doesn’t have to be that intense. However, when making my own I definitely add in tons of healing vibes. How this stuff works is the naturally occurring lactic bacteria found on raw vegetables proliferates when stored at room-temp under a salt water brine. You can also use starter cultures to ensure the perfect ferment. Cultured vegetables provide incredible amounts of digestive enzymes and are better than any pill you will take. Consuming them with food will work to digest the food you eat and make it easier to absorb. I recommend eating 4-6 ounces a day (2 ounces with each meal). The options are endless, you have kimchi, pickles and fermented beets to choose from. Essentially, any vegetable can be cultured! Learn to make them yourself.
- Beet Kvass- This is a healing tonic that’s as old as the dirts the beets grow in. A renowned liver tonic, digestive aid, probiotic supplement and skin toinc, there isn’t anything Beet Kvass isn’t good for! It’s delicious too. When you ferment it with a starter culture it ends up with this amazing carbonation to it. Throw in a little ginger and all the better. Learn more about Beet Kvass here.
- Miso- This is a well-known form of fermented soy beans. It comes in the form of a paste and is wonderful in soups, dips and added to salad dressings. Though soy beans get a bad rap, when fermented they become powerful detoxifiers and probiotic foods. Miso soup is one of my favorite foods and is a true beauty food. You want a healthy, robust immune system and glowing skin? Miso it is!
- Coconut Aminos– A soy-sauce like dressing that is made by fermenting the sap of the coconut flower — Coconut Aminos a new and delicious probiotic food favorite of mine. While soy-sauce is a wonderful probiotic-rich food it is hard to find a non-gmo, organic and MSG free one today. I enjoy the Coconut Aminos taste more as well.
- Pickled Ginger– Yeah you know that little pink stuff that comes with sushi? It’s a probiotic food and amazing digestive aid! However, chances are is the one you find with your store bought sushi is pasteurized and low quality. Ginger is a miraculous herb that supports immune health and intestinal microflora. However, you’re going to want to make your own on this one. It’s very simple to do in fact. Just slice up your ginger, add to a sterile jar of spring water and a tsp of real sea salt. I add EcoBloom instead of sugar for a slightly sweeter taste and a starter culture to ensure a probiotic rich product. Let it sit for a few days and viola!
- Water Kefir- I have just started playing with water kefir over the past year. I have always wanted to make it because it looked so delicious and so simple to make. Just like milk kefir, water kefir is rich in both good bacteria and yeast. It’s the simplest of all probiotic foods I know how to make and can be altered into endless of a delicious and medicinal recipes. I love it because you can add in medicinal herbs, health promoting fruits and even teas. It’s a digestive aid, a probiotic, it cleanses the liver and kidneys, great for sweet cravings and really fun to make. If you want to get off alcohol or soda, this is your drink. It is similar to kombucha, however kefir water is cheaper (no tea necessary). Kefir water is a general probiotic beverage. Making is a great alternative to taking a pill, as probiotics are best in the form of foods or drinks. Water kefir contains a greater number of bacteria strains than those found in kombucha. Both beverages are beneficial in aiding natural systems of the body, and both are great for hydration. I have a video turtorial course that shows you all you could need to know about making this wonderful drink!
- Coconut Kefir– This is by far my favorite probiotic food. It’s so delicious and one sip has you feeling extra zooty in the best way ever. I have a theory that once baptized in a vat of coconut kefir, all that ails you is no more. For seriouslies though…Coconut kefir is delicious. It tastes like a soda or champagne without the sugar and crack-addict feel afterwards. It cleanses the liver, the kidneys, the colon and serves as a powerful probiotic. 2 oz of this stuff contains 100’s of trillions of cells of probiotics. That means 2 oz of coconut kefir is likely stronger than taking an entire bottle of probiotic supplements. If you want gorgeous skin and hair, then drink this stuff daily. It also works as a digestive enzyme; sipping it with food will break down your food and help your body digest whatever you eat. It smashes sugar cravings too. Because it cleanses the liver, it also brightens the eyes and when I fasted on this stuff and green juice literally healed my own eye-sight. No jokes. I offer a bonus video in my Kefir Water Course showing you the best way to make this stuff. I also have a blog post where I write up 3 different ways to make it. The benefits are endless so check the blog out and learn some more.