Probiotic Foods & Supplements
What are probiotics? Good bacteria. The human body already has hundreds of varieties living inside, mostly in the gut. The majority of the time, they hum along without an issue, but sometimes illnesses, lifestyle choices, poor diets, and travel can get in the way of our natural bacteria functioning optimally. Keeping the right ratio of good-to-bad bacteria in balance is a great way to stay healthy, and taking probiotics can help. But you don’t have to pop a pill every day to reap the benefits. These days, there are plenty of products on the market with added probiotics (like chocolate granola—more on that below!), so you can keep your gut happy in a variety of different ways. Another way to get a probiotic boost? Incorporate fermented foods with live active cultures, like kimchi and yogurt, into your diet.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that reside in the body, with the highest concentration being in the gut. These bacteria and yeasts are helpful for maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the body. Here are two common strains you’ll often find featured in products that contain probiotics.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most common probiotics. It’s a member of the Lactobacillus genus of bacteria, and its name is derived by what it makes—lactic acid—by producing an enzyme called lactase. Lactase helps break down the sugars found in milk (aka lactose).
Known for helping to put up a barrier of protection in your digestive tract, Bifidobacterium is often recommended for those who experience leaky gut syndrome. This strain of probiotic is tough, and can survive in high levels of gastric acid.
Benefits of Probiotics
There are all sorts of reasons people start taking probiotics, ranging from the general (like just wanting an overall wellness boost) to the specific (like tackling a specific chronic condition or health issue). Here are some of the benefits of probiotics:
- Balances good and bad bacteria in the gut
- Supports immunity
- Helps your digestive system work better over the long-term
Top 7 Probiotic Foods
There are lots of foods that are naturally rich in probiotics, so pick up a few at the grocery store and start incorporating them into your weekly menus.
- Sourdough bread
- Miso soup
Top Probiotic Brands
Thrive Market stocks some of the best probiotic brands around. Here are our top picks.
Garden of Life has been around since 1999, and since the company is so fanatical about food, it’s committed to creating holistic formulas that preserve the integrity of each ingredient. Choose from non-GMO vitamins, protein powders, or probiotics to help you feel your best.
Formulated specifically for women, this supplement offers 32 probiotics designed to support digestive function and vaginal health. Each dose delivers vitamins, minerals, and even beneficial prebiotics, too.
This brand was founded after its chairman and CEO traveled through Malaysia in 1997 and experienced an upset stomach after enjoying some regional cuisine. A local doctor recommended a Japanese probiotic, and the company was officially incorporated in 2000 to become a distributor of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics to the United States.
Modern science meets the artistry of ancient Japanese fermentation in this unique probiotic that requires a three-year fermentation process. Only the strongest bacteria survive, and the blend of 12 strains stays stable without refrigeration.
Purely Elizabeth started in 2009 after the founder learned about the benefits of superfood ingredients like quinoa, chia seeds, and coconut oil. Little-known ancient grains are the backbone of the brand’s popular products you can enjoy on the daily.
Chocolate gets even better with a gut-friendly version that includes a patented strain of probiotics known as GanedenBC30, which has a protective spore that can survive the baking process. The resulting granola is gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO, and made with wholesome ingredients like oats, seeds, plus just a touch of coconut sugar for sweetness.
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For all things probiotic, just browse our blog.
From its Greek roots to modern applications, learn all about the history of probiotics and how they might be beneficial in your daily routine.
Curious about adding probiotics to your diet? Find out the benefits of this daily supplement—specifically for women—plus the best products to add to your rotation.
Here’s how to whip up an energizing snack that’ll help you refuel with a little bit of chocolate, plus other savory and sweet ingredients like almond butter and maple syrup. The raw probiotic powder adds extra digestive support.