Probiotics are not new in the world of good nutrition, but they're often overlooked as part of a healthy weight loss plan.
Yes, you can find probiotics in supplement and powdered form which vary greatly in quality, but some of the best sources of Probiotics can be found in naturally fermented foods.
Probiotics provide your gut with “good bacteria” that are absolutely essential to performing many important functions of the body, including maintaining strong immunity, healthy digestive function and stimulating the metabolising which is essential to activating weight loss.
Here, we reveal our top nine favourite probiotic food sources that are important additions to not just a good diet, but a healthy weight management plan.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotic foods are any edible items that have been prepared by fermenting raw ingredients to create healthy bacterias that are beneficial to the gut.
Probiotics are extremely important to your gut health because they provide rich live cultures that replenish the microbiome - the diverse terrain of bacteria that inhabit your digestive system.
One of the key benefits of probiotics is that they fight off bad bacteria in the gut that can cause you to feel sick and run down if not kept in check.
Probiotics are known to help with everything from digestive diseases to weight control, boosting immunity and reducing inflammation in the body.
First and foremost, the reason why probiotics are so important for weight loss, is because there is a strong correlation between obesity and poor gut health. That means, anything you can do to support and restore a healthy gut is going to make the journey of weight loss or finding your ideal weight that much easier.
Finally, most probiotic rich foods are packed with quality fibres which help to naturally give you a lasting feeling of fullness so that you're far less likely to consume empty or unnecessary calories.
Here, we reveal our top nine favourite probiotic foods that should be part of a healthy weight loss plan, that are also versatile, flavoursome and readily available.
Though it's been around for thousands of years, Kefir is one of the best kept weight loss secrets.
Kefir is traditionally a fermented milk drink that’s full of probiotics, but you can substitute it with 'coconut kefir' if you are vegan or you're following a completely plant-based diet.
Loaded with protein, Kefir helps you to feel fuller for longer, curbing your appetite, whilst restoring much needed gut flora, which is vital for a healthy metabolism and shedding belly fat.
Additionally, Kefir contains a fatty acid known as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which is known to reduce body fat.
In simple terms, the probiotics and fatty acids in Kefir stimulate the release of fat into the cell membranes of your muscles to be used as fuel.
Kefir can be a smart, healthy substitute for other drinks in your day-to-day. A Drink a small cup full mid morning or before breakfast.
Learn more in Probiotics: Health Benefits & 7 Powerful Food Sources.
Low in calories and high in plant fibre, Sauerkraut isn’t just a delicious topping for your veggie dog or sandwich, it’s a powerful probiotic that can seriously boost your health and your weight loss.
It regularly makes the top lists of probiotic foods to consume, and it’s tasty to boot!
Sauerkraut is a fancy name for fermented shredded cabbage that is a crunchy and delicious meal accompaniment for a wide variety of meals to add both taste, nutrition and texture. These days some amazing varieties of sauerkraut can be found in your local health food market or store or you can learn to make sauerkraut yourself easily at home if you have the time and desire.
Add it to whole grain sandwiches that are filled with mashed avocado, slices of ripe tomato, organic cheese, crunchy lettuce and home made mayonnaise as a suggestion. Alternatively, eat it straight from the jar or enjoy it as a side dish to just about any main meal.
It's a good idea to look out for unpasteurised sauerkraut which contains live cultures, which you'll find in most good supermarkets or health food stores.
Sauerkraut has plenty of gut-pleasing bacteria, but it also offers a great source of fibre that will help you feel fuller for longer so that you’re less tempted to snack on unhealthy foods.
It also provides a decent amount of vitamins B, C and K, as well as antioxidants and plenty of iron too!
Tempeh is a staple in plant-based diets, but not just for its protein content.
It’s a fermented soybean product that makes a firm patty that many use as a healthy meat substitute, but its the fermentation process that gives tempeh the beneficial bacteria your gut will love.
Not only are you getting a healthy meat substitute (helping to lower cholesterol and fat intake), but you’re also getting a probiotic rich food.
The fermentation process of tempeh also provides you with vitamin B12, a key vitamin that is lacking in many people's diets these days, causing them to feel sluggish and constantly fatigued.
Interestingly, cultures who include tempeh regularly in their diet are among some of the leanest populations in the world.
Kimchi might seem off-putting at first to those who have never tried it, but once you do, you’re hooked.
Similar to sauerkraut but usually with more spice and other vegetables included in addition to cabbage, kimchi is bursting with flavour and can be added to almost any dish you can think of.
It’s a great source of fibre, minerals, vitamins and probiotics to aid in digestive health. It can be a great way to jazz up just about any healthy dish and help you manage your weight at the same time.
Try adding kimchi to all your favourite asian foods (particularly Japanese cuisine), as well as rice bowls, burritos and tacos.
Kombucha is a popular probiotic drink that’s both healthful and delicious.
Kombucha is wonderful as a weight management aid, because it instantly adds healthy bacteria into your gut with very little digestion required.
Kombucha is a blend of cultures and yeast to create a deliciously bubbly and easy-to-drink beverage that can do wonders for your health. It's a perfect accompaniment to lunch or your evening meal.
It also can be very soothing for an upset stomach and to soothe indigestion.
Love them or hate them, pickles are one of the best probiotic foods out there.
If you've tried pickles before and disliked them, give them a second chance by trying some of the new wonderful varieties available in good health food stores and even farmer's markets, or learn to make your own!
Pickles are actually just fermented cucumbers that have been pickled in salt and water.
They’re very low in calories, which makes them a great snack, but also high in fibre and probiotics. Make sure you avoid pickles fermented with vinegar, as they don’t contain live probiotics.
Pickles make for a great accompaniment to sandwiches, crisp breads and dips and will help add healthy bacteria into your diet without loading you up on calories.
Olives are a delicious, naturally fermented food that have been widely adored, particularly in mediterranean diets for centuries.
They are delightful as a wholesome anytime snack, as an addition to salads, cheese platters, or as a pre-dinner accompaniment.
To make olives edible, they are soaked to extract the bitterness, then stored and packaged in brine and sometimes garlic, chilli and herbs to naturally ferment. It's this fermentation process that actually softens the flesh making the olive edible.
Unlike other fermented foods, olives take less time to become probiotic-rich and they rely on the natural bacteria on their skin rather than requiring the addition of live cultures.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Though it is argued in some circles that apple cider vinegar is not strictly a probiotic food, it is full of live beneficial live cultures and it is famous for its weight loss benefits!
Made by fermenting fresh apples in filtered water with a small amount of raw sugar, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is a versatile health tonic that has been around for centuries.
Though it's tart and sour, as a liquid supplement cut with water and consumed in small amounts, apple cider vinegar can help boost your metabolism, stimulate fat burning and heal common gut complaints.
Apple Cider Vinegar also works as a weight management tool because it suppresses your appetite and stabilises blood sugar and you don’t need very much of it to reap the benefits!
Many weight loss gurus rave about the benefits of a daily shot (1-2 Tablespoons) of ACV first thing in the morning, mixed with water and consumed on an empty stomach, because of its positive impact on the digestive system.
We offer one of the best brands of Apple Cider Vinegar here in our store
You’ve probably had miso soup before, but didn’t realise that miso is actually a powerful probiotic food.
Miso is a Japanese staple created by fermenting soybeans and a fungus called koji.
The paste that you end up with is used to make a variety of foods, but most commonly miso soup.
Miso is salty but tasty, and it’s a great source of both protein and fibre. In addition, it is packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants and is a powerful meal accompaniment to aid digestion.
Tip: Besides traditional miso soup, you can include more miso in your diet by using miso paste in your salad dressings, sauces and marinades.
The Main Takeaway
To lose weight, gut health is crucial because it enables your digestive system to function properly, allowing your body to efficiently metabolise and eliminate waste.
Probiotics are vital to a healthy gut because they help cultivate good bacteria in the intestines and a diverse, robust microbiome.
In addition the weight loss and healthy digestive benefits, probiotic foods also support stronger immunity, better nutrient absorption, less inflammation and they will help you to avoid sickness and fatigue.
The good news is, to get probiotics in your diet, you don't need expensive supplements.
Instead, simply incorporate a variety of the nine probiotic rich foods that we've shared with you here, regularly into your eating plan, and you'll give your body a healthy platform to help rediscover your ideal weight.
Tolman Self Care.