Food,  Health

The top 5 vegan foods that naturally contain probiotics

For all those who are trying to live a healthier life, you might have already been doing your research on how to do so. Of course, there is the given that you should have a more active lifestyle and exercise regularly. Another very obvious thing to do is to have a  healthier diet. While most think this is as easy as just eating fruits and vegetables and less of processed and junk foods, there are also people who do their best to research of what types of food are really good for you.

One of the terms you might have come across is probiotics and prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible parts of foods. You can find prebiotics in food such as the skin of apples, beans, bananas, onion, and garlic. The function of prebiotics is to be the food for the bacteria inside your body, including the probiotic bacteria. When you ingest foods that have prebiotic fiber, the good bacteria are able to flourish and you are able to reap the benefits.

According to Mayo Clinic, meanwhile, probiotics are good bacteria that are either the same or similar to the bacteria which can already be found inside our bodies. Yes, don’t be surprised to hear that we have bacteria in our body. They are live beneficial bacteria that were created during fermentation. While some of them are bad and caused by an unhealthy diet, the other good bacteria are helpful in terms of bodily functions like digestion. They can also destroy some organisms that might cause you diseases.

Other benefits that we can get through probiotics are

1. Helping with chronic diarrhea
2. Help with mental health
3. Reduces the risk of irritable bowel disease
4. Reduces the risk of colorectal cancer

That’s why it is important to make sure that you are including probiotics in your diet. While there are supplements that you can take, but you need to be sure that these are approved by the FDA. If you want something more natural, the good news is that there are foods that you can consume that are rich in probiotics. The foods on this list are plant-based and vegan.

1. Sauekraut – whenever we hear the word sauerkraut, we always seem to associate it with Eastern European dishes. While you may think that this is from Germany, the truth is sauerkraut originated in China and was being eaten there as early as 200 BCE, where they use rice wine to ferment the cabbage. It eventually found its way to Europe where salt was used for fermentation. The term sauerkraut is borrowed from German and its literal translation is sour herb or sour cabbage. What’ great about sauerkraut and the rest of the food on this list is that you can actually make them at home, and you can just take it out anytime for to top your sausage or for a sandwich filling. They also have a long shelf life so you can enjoy it for many months.

2. Kimchi
– if you are a fan of Korea and Korean culture in general, you might be familiar with this Korean meal staple. But for those who have never had the pleasure of seeing or trying this unique dish, kimchi is a spicy, fermented dish made from salted vegetables. Most kimchi dishes consist of Napa cabbage and Korean radish. While the process of making kimchi is similar to that of sauerkraut, there are added spices like scallions, garlic, ginger, Korean pear, and gochujaru, which is the Korean chili powder and what makes it spicy. Traditionally, kimchi is stored in earthen jars underground during the warm months so that they will be kept cool. While this practice is still being done in Korea nowadays, due to technology, there are now kimchi refrigerators where they can be kept for convenience. For vegans, if you are going to eat at a Korean restaurant, make sure to ask about the ingredients for their kimchi as there are people who add salted seafood to their kimchi recipe for more depth of flavor.

3. Kombucha – kombucha is a fermented tea. There are some recipes that contain low levels of alcohol so if you are staying away from that, you can just make your own kombucha to be sure of what ingredients there are. If you want to brew kombucha, you will need a SCOBY starter, which can be bought online or in health-food stores. Kombucha is not only rich in probiotics, but it has lots of antioxidants, amino acids and is very good for those who want to undergo detoxification.

4. Tempeh – when you see tempeh, you can see that it looks a lot like tofu. It actually comes from the country of Indonesia and is made by and natural and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh can be bought in Asian grocery stores, but if you have the time, you can learn how to make it at home. All you need is some soybeans (although you can use other beans like black-eyed peas and the like too), a tempeh starter, and a warm spot somewhere in your house because the beans must be kept at a temperature between 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of 24 to 48 hours.  It is very rich in probiotics and protein., What’s great about tempeh is that it is very versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes and recipes.

5. Pickled vegetables – if you are not a fan of kimchi because it is too spicy, other types of pickled vegetables are also good sources of probiotics.  What’s great is that once you already know the process of how to pickle, you can actually use whatever vegetable you like. Pickling is easy, and some recipes call for just salt, water and the vegetable you will pickle. Do note however that pickling makes use of a lot of salt. If you are watching your blood pressure, eating pickled vegetables may not be a good idea.

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