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12 Probiotic Foods

12 probiotic foods

12 probiotic foodsProbiotics are living microorganisms in the body that have a myriad of positive functions. They can also be consumed to up your health and improve your overall quality of life [1]. Consuming probiotic foods is linked to improved digestion and heart health, better mood and healthier skin [2], [3], [4], [5].

Probiotics are also available in supplement form but a better alternative would be to add probiotic rich foods in your diet. You don’t have to worry about being sensitive to a certain food or disliking its taste because probiotics are available in a wide range of foods, satisfying even the pickiest eaters.



The following are the best probiotic foods and how you’ll benefit from them:

probiotic foods1. Yogurt

Each serving of yogurt can contain billions of bacteria – the good kind that is [6]. How much live cultures a yogurt has can vary between brands so reading the labels will help. Regular consumption of yogurt has been linked to improved weight, reduced blood pressure, improvement in diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Just try to flavor the yogurt yourself with natural ingredients like berries and nuts and skip the sugar-sweetened kind.

2. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented dairy similar to yogurt that includes fermented kefir grains and milk. People have been consuming kefir for over 3000 years and the word “kefir” actually means “feeling good” [7]. Kefir has a tart flavor and can contain 10 to 34 probiotic strains, having more probiotics than yogurt.

3. Coconut kefir

Coconut kefir is dairy-free making it a great option for those with lactose intolerance. While it does contain some of the same strains as dairy kefir, the probiotic content is slightly less. Coconut kefir tastes fabulous and makes a refreshing drink when flavoured with some lime.

probiotic foods4. Kimchi

This traditional Korean side doesn’t only taste fabulous but it’s incredible for health too. It’s sour and spicy and typically made with fermented cabbage, radish and cucumber. Kimchi contains lactic acid bacteria that are great for gut health as well as fiber and many vitamins [8].

5. Sour pickles

Sour pickles, an age-old favorite among many people also comes with a decent dose of probiotics. Be sure to get ones brined in sea salt or water and not vinegar, as vinegar inhibits good bacteria from growing. Pickle juice is also a great source of electrolytes and helps alleviate muscle cramps post workouts.

6. Dark Chocolate

Lactose intolerants rejoice! What a lot of people don’t know is that dark chocolate contains up to four (!) times more probiotics as numerous types of dairy products.

7. Tempeh

Tempeh is a healthy substitute for meat for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Made with soybeans, this fermented grain is rich in probiotics and protein. The bacteria in tempeh produce their own vitamin B12 as well [9]

8. Kombucha

Although it has been used for centuries, kombucha is becoming increasingly popular these days for all the good reasons. It’s a fermented tea packed with healthy bacteria. The drink is a quick energy booster and it also helps in weight loss.
However, the drink may not suitable for everyone, such as those with candida-related issues.

9. Microalgae

Microalgae are ocean plants like chorella, spirulina and blue-green algae. They are rich in bifidobacteria and lactobacilullus, both of which are super beneficial for your digestive system.

10. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is made with fermented cabbage and other vegetables and is rich in live probiotics. Not only is it a probiotic food, it also helps relieve symptoms of allergies and is packed with vitamins A, B, C and E.

probiotic foods11. Natto

Natto is a popular Japanese dish made with fermented soybeans. It contains potent probiotic strains such as Bacillus subtilis, which is great for the immune system, digestive system and cardiovascular system. It’s also full of vitamin K2 and anti-inflammatory enzymes that fight cancer.

12. Raw Cheese

Soft cheese made with A2 cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk are particularly rich in probiotics that bolster human health [10]. Stick to unpasteurized cheese for an increased amount of probiotics.

Louise and Richard Thomas founders of Fresh Start

Louise and Richard Thomas founders of Fresh Start

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1. Expert consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Aug;11(8):506-14. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2014.66. Epub 2014 Jun 10.
2. A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34938. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034938. Epub 2012 Apr 18.
3. Gut brain axis: diet microbiota interactions and implications for modulation of anxiety and depression. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2015 Apr;32:35-41. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2014.10.007. Epub 2014 Nov 21.
4. Effect of probiotics on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease: implications for heart-healthy diets. Nutr Rev. 2014 Jan;72(1):18-29. doi: 10.1111/nure.12084. Epub 2013 Dec 13.
5. Probiotics and prebiotics in dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Oct;71(4):814-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.04.050. Epub 2014 Jun 4.
6. Bifidobacteria in milk products: An overview of physiological and biochemical properties, exopolysaccharide production, selection criteria of milk products and health benefits. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2013.11.013
7. Microbiological, technological and therapeutic properties of kefir: a natural probiotic beverage. Braz J Microbiol. 2013 Oct 30;44(2):341-9. doi: 10.1590/S1517-83822013000200001. eCollection 2013.
8. Lactobacillus kimchii sp. nov., a new species from kimchi. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2000 Sep;50 Pt 5:1789-95.
9. Recent developments in tempe research. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.1990.tb01555.x
10. Probiotic bacteria survive in Cheddar cheese and modify populations of other lactic acid bacteria. J Appl Microbiol. 2014 Jun;116(6):1642-56. doi: 10.1111/jam.12482. Epub 2014 Mar 17.

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