3 Probiotic-Rich Foods Dietitians Say You Should Put On Your Plate Every Day For A Healthier Gut – SheFinds

3 Probiotic-Rich Foods Dietitians Say You Should Put On Your Plate Every Day For A Healthier Gut - SheFinds

From digestive disorders to poor mental health to weight gain, an unhealthy gut can lead to a range of issues in your body—which is why it’s so important to nourish yourself with gut-healthy foods that can keep everything in tip-top shape. As it turns out, one of the most beneficial types of foods to consider when it comes to digestive health is probiotic-rich options.

To learn more about this, we spoke to health expert Sheri Kasper, RDN, LDN of Cleveland Kitchen. She told us exactly what probiotics are and how they can keep your gut happy and healthy, and even told us about three the best probiotic-rich foods out there. Find all of her insight below!

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What are probiotics and how do they improve gut health?

Kasper explains that “our bodies have many types of bacteria—some that help and some that cause harm.” The good bacteria that keeps our gut microbiome healthy and neutralize the effects of harmful bacteria are known as probiotics. “This balance is important to overall health and specifically to things like proper digestion, immune function and even brain health,” she says.

Probiotics do so much for your gut! Kasper tells us that they’re “responsible for many key functions, such as making vitamins and strengthening the gut wall.” Unfortunately, certain things can diminish the natural probiotics in our bodies. “Probiotics are naturally found in our gut but there are several factors, such as antibiotic use and poor diet that can harm probiotics and cause the bad bacteria to outnumber the good bacteria. When this happens and bad bacteria thrive, your health can be impacted in several ways,” Kasper explains, citing weight maintenance, heart health, and digestive health as just a few of the aspects of our overall health that can be affected. “There is even a potential connection between gut disorders and brain-related conditions, like Alzheimer’s Disease,” she warns.

For this reason, adding some probiotic-rich to your daily diet is a great way to not only stay on track throughout your weight loss journey, but also maintain optimal health all around. Below are some of Kasper’s top picks you can eat on a regular basis:


1. Kimchi/Sauerkraut

First on Kasper’s list is kimchi or sauerkraut. These are forms of fermented veggies; sauerkraut is a German dish made from finely cut cabbage, while kimchi originates from Korea and can consist of a range of veggies, such as cabbage and radish. “The key is to look for krauts and kimchi in the refrigerated section that are labeled raw and unpasteurized,” Kasper notes, warning that “heat kills probiotics, so a pasteurized sauerkraut will not offer the same gut health benefits as a raw product.” Got it! For this same reason, you should make sure you eat these foods as a side or topping (Kasper recommends adding them to a sandwich, grain bowl, or taco) rather than cooking them into a dish to ensure you get all of their gut-healthy benefits.


2. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the most popular, versatile probiotic-rich foods out there—it may already be part of your regular diet! However, in order to reap the most reward from the live bacteria in yogurt, you should keep an eye out for the right kinds. “Look for brands that are labeled ‘contains live and active cultures’ and have as little added sugar as possible,” Kasper instructs. As far as how to whip up a delicious breakfast or snack with this food, she offers some advice: “I recommend using plain yogurt and topping with fresh fruit, a little honey and some cinnamon to flavor and control added sugars.” Yum!

3. Kombucha

If you haven’t jumped on the kombucha bandwagon, take this as your sign to give it a shot! This fermented tea boasts so many health benefits, including increased gut health. Just as with yogurt, Kasper says choosing the right variety is essential for optimal results. “There are a lot of kombuchas on the market today, but be sure to choose a brand that contains minimal added sugar,” she says. “It’s also important to note that, while most kombuchas are kept cold to protect the probiotics, there is technology that allows for manufacturing of shelf-stable kombuchas that still contain live probiotics. Be sure to review kombucha labels carefully!”

Overall, the diet that’s best for your body should be personalized, but if you’re looking to improve your gut microbiome and set your digestive health on the right track, these foods are great places to start. However, Kasper also says you should prioritize foods you love. “You’re much more likely to consume healthy foods on a regular basis if you enjoy them!” she says. “For example, if you don’t like yogurt but love pickles, eat pickles!” Luckily, we love it all.

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About the Author: Eugene Berry