Probiotics Health Benefits | 9 Probiotics Rich Foods

Akash Sehrawat

7 min read | Jul 24, 2020



Scientists have started to call our gut ‘The second brain’ 1


According to Michael Gershon, author of the book ‘The Second Brain,’ this is because our gut has about 100 million neurons, more than the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. Your brain and gut are connected by a visceral nerve called the vagus nerve.


It is a two-way information highway where information flows from your gut to the brain and vice-versa. 2https:// Roughly 70% of our immune system is located within the gut in the form of gut-associated lymphoid tissue [GALT] 3https:// Literally there are more immune cells in your gut than anywhere in your body.


Another amazing fact is that more than 90% of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin is produced in your gut. The right balance of serotonin is important to regulate mood, appetite and overall well-being. 4 A collection of bacteria, fungi and viruses are housed in your gut. Of these microbes, bacteria are the most studied, outnumbering other microbes two to three times. 


Now, whenever the word bacteria is used, it means germs and diseases, right? Not really! That’s just part of the story. Quite simply, bacteria in your gut are divided into good and bad bacteria, just like there are good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.


Bad bacteria are the kind that multiplies and mean harm. Some examples are e-Coli and salmonella. Good bacteria, famously known as ‘probiotics,’ exist to protect their host body- us! They play various important roles.

What Are Probiotics?


Probiotics are simply the good bacteria in your gut, including some yeast that can act as probiotics. The Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] of the United Nations and the World Health Organization [WHO] provide a more scientific definition.

Live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host

There are different types and strains of probiotics offering unique health benefits. The most common variety of bacteria in our gut are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.

Health Benefits Of Probiotics


Help Us Digest And Absorb Our Food


Most good bacteria are found in your large intestine, with varying levels in other parts and organs of your body. These good bacteria help digest whatever food particles your stomach and small intestine cannot digest. They also help synthesize Vitamin K2, folate, short-chain fatty acids like butyrate (SCFA) and some B vitamins.  5https:// Screenshot%202019-04-30%2007.15.10.png?dl=0, 6, 7 Screenshot%202019-04-30%2007.16.21.png?dl=0, 8


Stimulates The Immune System


About 70% of the immune system is located in our gut. This makes a lot of sense since the foods we eat and drink contain pathogens, viruses and bacteria. Having our immune system in the gut allows it to fight off these unwanted invaders more effectively.


Modulates The Neurotransmitters Responsible For One’s Appetite And Mood


There is also enough evidence to suggest that gut microbiota modulate neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and dopamine. 9 pubmed/25078296, 10 can-influence-how-you-feel-it-all-starts-with-serotonin


The gut is the largest site for serotonin as gut microbes, and gut cells produce it. 11 10.1096/fj.14-259598 Literally, 90% of the serotonin in the body is produced in the gut. 12 feel-it-all-starts-with-serotonin


Lowers The Oxidative Stress And Inflammation


Our gut microbiome plays a key role in controlling oxidative stress and inflammatory responses, as well as improving metabolism and energy expenditure during intense exercise, according to this systematic review. 13 pmc/articles/PMC5908316/


Fend Off Bad Bacteria


Probiotics help fend off harmful bacteria that try to harm you. Similar to how the ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 should be 1:2, the ideal ratio of good to bad bacteria should be 85:15.


If this ratio is disrupted due to changes in diet and lifestyle like less sleep, more stress, high intake of alcohol, smoking, antibiotic use, consumption of fast and junk food, consumption of conventional dairy, etc., then symptoms like headaches, mood swings, weight gain, acne, gas, bloating, and stomach pain start to crop up.


Over time these symptoms, which are a sign of something wrong in your body, may become full-blown diseases like IBS, Crohn’s disease, autism, cancer, and so forth.


It helps You Lose Weight


A condition called gut dysbiosis can occur when bad bacteria in your gut greatly outnumber good bacteria. This condition can disrupt normal metabolic functioning and can cause insulin resistance. All this can ultimately result in unwanted weight gain. 14https://


Remember The Ratio Between Good Vs. Bad bacteria?


Yes, 85:15 

9 Most Powerful Probiotic Foods On The Planet


Let’s list some of the most powerful probiotic foods on the planet.


Buttermilk [Lassi]



Lassi or Buttermilk is also a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorus. It helps people who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. 15


You can have buttermilk either with your Indian meal or as a standalone snack. Just ensure it is made at home from raw milk because pasteurization destroys beneficial bacteria! You can find many YouTube videos on how to make your own buttermilk or yogurt (the next probiotic food) at home.


Please note that even if you are lactose intolerant, you can still have this drink. I have two lactose-intolerant family members, my dad and my sister, but they do well with yogurt and lassi as lactose (the sugar in milk) is fermented by the bacteria.





Another powerful probiotic food is yogurt. The same logic applies here. It should be made from fresh raw milk because most commercially available yogurts are loaded with added sugar and made from pasteurized milk, which, as mentioned, destroys the good bacteria.


Some studies of yogurt showed promising health benefits for certain gastrointestinal conditions, including lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrheal diseases, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. 16 80/2/245/4690304


Some prominent bacteria cultures that ferment milk to form yogurt are streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus. Just like buttermilk, yogurt is loaded with protein (good for muscle growth), calcium (excellent for bone health), magnesium, and vitamin B12.





In most households in India, an ancient tradition helps increase the shelf life of seasonal vegetables. One such vegetable is cabbage. When you ferment cabbage by salting it and putting it in a steel/glass container, the cabbage starts to release its own brine. 


Over time, cabbage immersed in brine starts to ferment into a crunchy sour thing called sauerkraut. This can be used with meals and extends the cabbage’s shelf life for months. Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C, promotes digestive health, can help prevent colon cancer and even promotes bone health.





Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish. In fact, it is Korea’s national dish.  Just like sauerkraut, kimchi is made by fermenting vegetables like Napa cabbage, radish, cucumber, red chili, and garlic.


The benefits of any probiotic food are to strengthen one’s immune system, help strengthen the gut lining, and provide antioxidants. Probiotic dishes like kimchi and sauerkraut with cabbage as their main ingredients are generally consumed as a side dish or an appetizer. Still, they can also be consumed as a standalone snack.





Miso is a Japanese food made by fermenting soybeans. It is often consumed in the form of miso soup. Most soybeans available worldwide are genetically modified, so it’s best to opt for organic soy. Miso is a good source of zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin K, and protein. 


One thing to be careful about is that miso is high in salt. If you have a medical condition that can be worsened by high salt intake, it’s best to avoid miso.





Tempeh is a soy-based product from Indonesia. It’s fermented and loaded with a variety of nutrients too! The nutrients include potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.


Tempeh is more compact than tofu and therefore has more protein per gram. It’s ideal for vegetarians who need more protein for muscle building. Studies support the notion that tempeh may help lower cholesterol, boost bone health because of its calcium content, and provide cancer-fighting properties.





Kanji is often called Indian kombucha! It’s a traditional North Indian winter drink made with carrots.  One can also add beetroot to kanji for variety and added nutrients. You can also add mustard seed to kickstart the fermenting process.


One pro tip is not peeling the carrots, as there is yeast in the peel that can help the fermentation process. The other ingredients in kanji are 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 3-4 cups of water. Mix all the ingredients in a glass jar, cover it with a muslin cloth and keep it out in the sun for a week or so. Make sure to stir it once or twice. 


Kanji is loaded with iron, calcium, and manganese. It’s great for your eyes, aids in digestion provides antioxidants and relieves symptoms of IBS.





Natto, another fermented soy superfood, originated in Japan. It is usually consumed with rice and miso soup. It has a bitter and nutty flavor. Even though I have never tried it, I have heard people either love it or hate it!


Natto has an impressive list of nutrients, including iron, vitamin C, vitamin K1, calcium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and some protein. 


Any food like natto, which is rich in probiotics, is excellent for digestion, strengthening your immune system, strengthening your gut lining, providing antioxidants, and mitigating free radical damage.  In addition, because it contains calcium, natto helps with bone health.





Kombucha is an ancient Chinese beverage that is made from black tea and sugar. SCOBY starts the fermentation process. SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. The bacteria and yeasts convert sugar into ethanol and acetic acid. The acetic acid is what gives kombucha its distinctive sour taste.


Kombucha boasts a long list of nutrients which include folic acid, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and vitamin B12. Because of its probiotic content, it helps with gut healing and strengthening. It helps improve cholesterol, is antibacterial and antimicrobial, and helps with diabetes.

Conclusion And My Recommendations


You are as healthy as your gut. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said,

All diseases begin in the gut

The gut is also touted as the second brain. If you want to stay healthy, optimal gut health should be your prime focus.  Your gut microbiome is heavily affected by your lifestyle, including your eating habits. If a large portion of your calories come from junk and fast foods, your gut will likely be impaired. 


As a result, you may start to experience frequent bloating, gas and abdominal pain. If you keep ignoring these gastrointestinal symptoms, they will soon start to manifest as full-blown diseases such as IBS and others. 


If you are suffering from these symptoms now, it’s best to connect with a functional medicine doctor or perhaps a holistic nutritionist to help you with your gut-related issues. 


I strongly urge you to include at least a few foods listed above in your diet every day. Most of the foods high in probiotics are snacks or sides, which can easily be part of your main meal.


What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Akash Sehrawat

Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.


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