When it comes to cultured/probiotic and fermented foods, I am officially obsessed. But not everyone is going to make as many of these foods as I do. Although, once you get started it’s an exciting journey! Here are the top five probiotic foods I ALWAYS have on hand, and why . . .
Kefir was the first cultured food I tried, and it has become my go-to food when I need extra help. I use it to prevent colds and flus or any type of sickness. When I’m struggling with anxiety or stress, kefir calms me down. Researchers have established a compelling link between gut bacteria and mental health 1 and believe you me, I’m a believer. Nothing calms me like kefir, and I just couldn’t do what I do without its help. When I’ve taxed my muscles through exercise, kefir gives me a boost with 14 grams of high-quality protein in each cup. Its anti-inflammatory properties help my body recover quickly and supply the vitamins and minerals that are the building blocks of health. When I need a quick meal, kefir is what I reach for and the reason I have hundreds of recipes in my books and blog. I eat a lot of kefir! There is a lot of science behind the power of the 50+ microbes in kefir. It has more probiotics than any of the other cultured foods, it’s the easiest to make, and it’s the most versatile. If I had to choose only one cultured food, I would choose kefir because of its huge benefits and because it’s my personal guardian angel.
Kefir Cheese is something I use constantly. If something calls for cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, or Greek yogurt, I substitute with kefir cheese. You can make kefir cheese overnight if you have milk kefir on hand, or some health food stores sell kefir cheese as well. You can use kefir cheese to top your potatoes, add extra creaminess to an ice cream recipe, add to soups and tacos, make dips, and more! Kefir Cheese has many of the same benefits as kefir, and don’t throw out the whey because this has benefits, too. Check out this blog for more info.The Liquid Gold in Kefir.
Kombucha: This is the main drink in our house. It has replaced our soda addiction and we are forever grateful! Kombucha’s unique probiotic properties allow for more diversity in the diet and assist the body in cleansing the liver. It also supplies you with acetic acid which helps with joint pain and digestion. It has one of the most researched and used probiotics, saccharomyces boulardii, that can’t be killed by antibiotics. Kombucha is a tart and bubbly drink that is unique and delightfully delicious.
Sauerkraut: You can get up to 700 mg of vitamin C in one cup of fermented sauerkraut as opposed to the 60 mg in cabbage alone. We add sauerkraut to many foods. A spoonful has more probiotics than an entire bottle of probiotic supplements. Nothing is more effective on an upset stomach or even food poisoning. A spoonful of the juice works quickly. When you feel the relief, you’ll wonder why everybody doesn’t know about this wonderful home remedy. A jar can last over a year in the refrigerator and remain perfectly preserved. Add a spoonful to sandwiches, wraps, on top of your stir fry, or alongside your meat and veggies! We even have dips and sauces with cultured veggies, so check out my books and recipe section.
Fermented Garlic: These garlic buds will last months in your fridge. You can use them in hundreds of recipes (the juice as well) and they will knock out a head cold ASAP! Garlic is also a prebiotic, so it provides extra benefits as well. You just peel a bunch of cloves and throw them in a jar, cover them with water,salt and a culture, and you’re done. It’s easy, and the juice can be added to salad dressings and sauces to make them probiotic!
While a wide variety of cultured foods is ideal, these five staples cover a lot of ground and give you plenty of probiotic diversity for different meals!