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Add Probiotics to Your Diet

By Kate Safin, East End Food Co-op


If you’re looking to improve your digestive health, consider adding foods rich in probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits (sometimes referred to as “good bacteria”); the term also applies to yeasts. One of the best sources of probiotics are in tasty fermented foods. Fermenting is a traditional food preservation technique that uses the process of lactofermentation, where natural bacteria create lactic acid by feeding on sugar and starch in food. The process not only preserves the food, but creates beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, enzymes, and B vitamins.

Top 10 places to find healthy probiotics

  1. Yogurt – fermented milk; there are lots of different flavors and styles of yogurt, from those sweetened with fruit and honey to rich and creamy Greek yogurt.
  2. Sauerkraut – finely shredded salted cabbage that is left to ferment.
  3. Kimchi – (pronounced kim-chee) a spicy pickled or fermented mixture of cabbage, onions, and seasonings like garlic and ginger.
  4. Kefir – A fermented drink made with kefir grains (a mixture of bacteria, yeast, and complex sugars). Yogurt kefir and water kefir are both delicious probiotic-rich beverages.
  5. Kombucha – a bubbly fermented tea made from bacteria called a “mother,” various fruits, and black or green tea.
  6. Sourdough Bread – a fermented bread made with a sourdough starter.
  7. Soft Cheese – Gouda, Gruyere, and Cheddar cheese may contain probiotics because of the way they are made.
  8. Pickles - cucumbers that have been pickled in salty water and fermented.
  9. Tempeh – fermented soybeans; the taste is earthy and similar to a mushroom.
  10. Supplements – If none of the options above sound appealing, you can still get a daily dose of probiotics by taking them in pill form.

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East End Food Co-op is the last natural foods co-op left in Pittsburgh from those original, back-to- nature stores. The Co-op offers all of the products of a full-service grocery store, but with a natural and local touch. For more information, visit www.eastendfood.coop.



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