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These are usually beneficial bacteria that serve some function in the body.
Probiotics have all sorts of powerful benefits for your body and brain.Photo credit: Shutterstock
Getting probiotics from supplements is popular, but you can also get them from foods that are prepared by bacterial fermentation (fermented foods).
Here is a list of 11 super healthy fermented foods that contain live probiotics.
Yogurt is a highly nutritious dairy product made from fermented milk.
Additionally, yogurt may be better than milk for people with lactose intolerance. This is because the bacteria turn some of the lactose into lactic acid, which is also why yogurt tastes sour.
However, keep in mind that not all yogurt contains live probiotics. In some cases, the live bacteria have been killed during processing.
For this reason, make sure to choose yogurt with active or live cultures.
Also, make sure to always read the label on yogurt before you buy it. Even if it is labeled low-fat or fat-free, it may still be loaded with high amounts of added sugar.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink. It is made by adding kefir grains to cow or goat milk.
Kefir grains are not cereal grains, but rather cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast that look a bit like cauliflower.
The word kefir allegedly comes from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good" after eating (12).
In fact, kefir has been linked to various health benefits.
While yogurt is probably the best known probiotic food in the Western diet, kefir is actually a better source. Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria and yeast, making it a diverse and potent probiotic (15).
Like yogurt, kefir is generally well-tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant (16).
Bottom Line: Kefir is a fermented milk drink. It is a better source of probiotics than yogurt and people with lactose intolerance can often eat kefir with no problems.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria.
It is one of the oldest traditional foods and is popular in many countries, especially in Europe.
Sauerkraut is often used on top of sausages or as a side dish. It has a sour, salty taste and can be stored for months in an airtight container.
In addition to its probiotic qualities, sauerkraut is rich in fiber, as well as vitamins C, B and K. It is also high in sodium and contains iron and manganese (17).
However, make sure to choose unpasteurized sauerkraut. Pasteurization kills the live and active bacteria.
Tempeh is originally from Indonesia, but has become popular all over the world as a high-protein meat substitute.
The fermentation process actually has some surprising effects on its nutritional profile.
Soybeans are typically high in phytic acid, a plant compound that impairs the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc.
This makes tempeh an overall great choice for vegetarians, as well as anyone looking to add a nutritious probiotic to their diet.
Bottom Line: Tempeh is a fermented soybean product. It is a popular, high-protein substitute for meat. It also contains a decent amount of vitamin B12, a nutrient found mainly in animal products.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Kimchi is a fermented, spicy Korean side dish.
Cabbage is usually the main ingredient, but it can also be made from other vegetables.
Kimchi made from cabbage is high in some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and iron (17).
Bottom Line: Kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish, usually made from fermented cabbage. It contains lactic acid bacteria, which may benefit digestive health.
Miso is a Japanese seasoning.
Miso can also be made by mixing soybeans with other ingredients, like barley, rice and rye.
This paste is most often used in miso soup, a popular breakfast food in Japan. Miso is typically salty and you can buy it in many varieties, such as white, yellow, red and brown.
Miso has also been linked to some health benefits.
One study reported that frequent miso soup consumption was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in middle-aged Japanese women (27).
Another study found that women who ate a lot of miso soup had a reduced risk of stroke (28).
Bottom Line: Miso is a fermented soybean paste and a popular Japanese seasoning. It is rich in several important nutrients and may reduce the risk of cancer and stroke, especially in women.
This popular tea is fermented by a friendly colony of bacteria and yeast. It is consumed in many parts of the world, especially Asia.
On the internet, there are many claims about the potential health effects of kombucha tea.
However, high-quality evidence on kombucha is lacking.
The studies that exist are animal and test tube studies and the results may not apply to humans (29).
Yet, because kombucha is fermented with bacteria and yeast, it does probably have health benefits related to its probiotic properties.
Bottom Line: Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. It is claimed to have a wide range of health benefits, but human evidence for these claims is currently lacking.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Pickles (also known as gherkins) are cucumbers that have been pickled in a solution of salt and water.
They are left to ferment for some time, using their own naturally present lactic acid bacteria. This process is what makes them sour.
Pickled cucumbers are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria, which may improve digestive health.
It is important to note that pickles made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics.
9. Traditional Buttermilk
Photo credit: Shutterstock
The term buttermilk actually refers to a range of fermented dairy drinks.
However, there are two main types of buttermilk: traditional and cultured.
Traditional buttermilk is simply the leftover liquid from making butter. Only this version contains probiotics and it is sometimes called grandma's probiotic.
Traditional buttermilk is mainly consumed in India, Nepal and Pakistan.
Cultured buttermilk, commonly found in American supermarkets, generally does not have any probiotic benefits.
Buttermilk is low in fat and calories, but contains several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorus (17).
Bottom Line: Traditional buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink mainly consumed in India, Nepal and Pakistan. Cultured buttermilk, found in American supermarkets, does not have any probiotic benefits.
Natto is another fermented soybean product, like tempeh and miso.
It contains a bacterial strain called Bacillus subtilis.
Natto is a staple in Japanese kitchens. It is typically mixed with rice and served with breakfast.
A study in older Japanese men found that consuming natto on a regular basis was associated with higher bone mineral density. This is attributed to the high vitamin K2 content of natto (32).
Bottom Line: Natto is a fermented soy product that is a staple in Japanese kitchens. It contains a high amount of vitamin K2, which may help prevent osteoporosis and heart attacks.
11. Some Types of Cheese
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Although most types of cheese are fermented, that does not mean that all of them contain probiotics.
Therefore, it is important to look for live and active cultures on the food labels.
Cheese is highly nutritious and is a very good source of protein. It is also rich in important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium (37).
Bottom Line: Only some types of cheese contain probiotics, including cheddar, mozzarella and gouda. Cheese is very nutritious and may benefit heart and bone health.
Probiotic Foods Are Incredibly Healthy
There are many super healthy probiotic foods you can eat.
This includes numerous varieties of fermented soybeans, dairy and vegetables. Eleven of those are mentioned here, but there are many more out there.
If you can't or won't eat any of these foods, then you can also take a probiotic supplement. There are many types available on Amazon.
Probiotics, from both foods and supplements, can have powerful effects on health.
For more info on probiotics, check out this article: The Ultimate Guide to Probiotics.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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