Probiotics are today known to help with better digestion and immunity, allergies, asthma and more. While yoghurt and fermented milk products are the most popular source of probiotics for women and men alike, how can vegans enjoy the benefits of these power-packed foods and supplements without resorting to animal-derived products?
5 Vegan Foods that Pack a Probiotic Punch
If you’re vegan, there are many foods rich in probiotics that you can include in your diet, like:
- Pickled/Fermented Foods : Yes, fermented vegetables and fruits are the number-one source of probiotics for women and men who eat vegan. Get your hands on some delicious kimchi (minus the seafood), sauerkraut, Japanese pickled plums, pickled ginger, horseradish or cucumber, and even brine-cured olives.
Raw fermented vegetables are great for your probiotic fix, as long as they are not cured with vinegar. If you’re unsure of whether supermarket products are vegan or contain live bacterial cultures, they’re easy to make on your own!
- Vegan Yogurt : Yogurt is great for a variety of health-boosting reasons, especially since it contains live cultures of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, but vegans are not left without options. Non-dairy foods are used to create vegan yogurt, including coconut (the healthiest), soy, arrowroot, cashew nuts and even legumes.
The healthy bacteria naturally found in these foods can be further boosted with the addition of live cultures. In fact, some kinds of vegan yogurt can provide your system with 8 or more probiotic bacterial strains!
- Sourdough : As healthy as it is delicious, sourdough bread makes a great side dish and yummy element for soups, salads and sandwiches alike. The starter mix used to create sourdough contains a whole host of probiotic bacteria, and you can use to over and over to make your own bread at home.
Sourdough bread is ideal for vegans, since the fermentation of the starter mixture takes care of your probiotic fix, and you can turn it into loaves, soup sticks, croutons and any other form you’d like!
- Kombucha and Water Kefir : Kombucha tea is made through fermentation, with the addition of sugar, yeast and probiotic bacteria to black tea, and water kefir is another delicious and healthy probiotic drink produced with a live culture of beneficial bacteria and yeast.
The probiotics in both these drinks help with digestion and immune system performance, but ensure you select brands that have tested for the presence of bad bacteria in addition to probiotic ones.
- Probiotic Supplements : Supplements are available in a wide range of forms and with different bacterial cultures in them, so vegans can definitely turn to these for their probiotic requirements. Strict vegans can explore supplements produced in facilities where no animal products are processed.
If there’s any probiotic food you can add to your diet, you should, but also incorporate supplements with specific strains of probiotic bacteria. In case you have any serious medical conditions, make sure to consult a doctor first!