7 Probiotic Rich Foods to Include in Your Diet

Probiotic Foods Help Improve Digestion (Image via Unsplash/Joanna Kosinska)
Probiotic foods help improve digestion. (Image via Unsplash/Joanna Kosinska)

Probiotics are good gut-friendly bacteria present in the intestine. Probiotic rich foods increase the absorption of nutrients, improve bowel movement, and minimize the risk of colon and rectal cancer.

They also contribute to better immunity and weight loss. They are widely used for the treatment and prevention of diarrhea. Probiotic bacteria can be found in fermented foods and drinks. They are also available as supplements in the form of instant probiotic drinks, capsules, and powder sachets. Fermented probiotic rich foods are common across cultures and have existed for a long time.

Best Probiotic Rich Foods

The following seven foods are often used as digestive aids across cultures. They're rich in gut-friendly bacteria:

1) Yogurt

Yogurt with Fruits are an amazing combination (Image via Unsplash/Daniel Cabriles)
Yogurt with Fruits are an amazing combination (Image via Unsplash/Daniel Cabriles)

Yogurt is the most popular among probiotic rich foods and is versatile. It can be consumed with oatmeal, fruits and other food items. Yogurt is made from milk after fermentation with probiotics.

Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus) and bifidobacteria are mainly responsible for the fermentation of yogurt. Several other bacteria were also found to aid in the process.

Yogurt can help relieve the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Yogurt is low on lactose and hence safe for lactose intolerant individuals. It's, however, recommended to choose sugar-free yogurt instead of ones with added sugar.

2) Kimchi

Kimchi is a popular fermented, probiotic rich food, spicy Korean side dish made using cabbage. Other vegetables are often added to enhance texture. A mixture of seasonings such as red chili flakes, garlic, and ginger is used to enhance flavor.


Kimchi mainly contains Lactobacillus kimchii as a functional bacteria along with some other strains. It's also rich in non-heme iron, vitamin K, and riboflavin. In Korea, it's often used to improve digestive health.

3) Buttermilk

Buttermilk is popular in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. (Image via Unsplash/Mario Raj)
Buttermilk is popular in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. (Image via Unsplash/Mario Raj)

Buttermilk is a traditional Indian drink. It's made from milk and contains live cultures, so heating should be avoided to keep the bacteria alive.

Buttermilk tastes best chilled and with spices. Buttermilk is low in fat and calories. It contains many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, and phosphorus.

4) Kombucha

Kombucha is a sweet and sour fermented drink made with tea. Sugar and yeast are added to it to start the fermentation process. The liquid is initially fermented for a week during which several bacteria grow in the drink.


These bacteria include lactic acid bacteria, which can work as a probiotic and produce B vitamins. It's a popular and refreshing drink in eastern Asia. Probiotic rich foods are popular across Asian countries.

5) Tempeh

Tempeh is a probiotic rich food originated in Indonesia and is now popular in the vegan lifestyle. It's made by fermenting soybeans. Soybeans are high in phytic acid, which is an anti-nutritional factor and blocks the absorption of nutrients such as iron and zinc.

Fermentation reduces the amount of phytic acid, increasing the nutritional value of soybeans. The bacteria also produces vitamin B12, which adds to the nutritional value of the food. Vegetarians and vegans can get their fair share of vitamin B12 in this food, as they can't consume animal foods.

6) Kefir

Once originated in the northern Caucasus region, Kefir is a type of fermented milk drink made by fermenting kefir grains.

It can also be prepared with a water base for vegans. It's dense in several nutrients and rich in good probiotic bacteria. Milk increases the nutritive value of the drink.

7) Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is also made from cabbage like Kimchi. It originated in eastern Europe. It has a sour and salty taste, and is fermented using lactic acid bacteria.

Sauerkraut is rich in dietary fiber as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, iron, and sodium. It's rich in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants fight free radicals and are beneficial for eye health. Sauerkraut is among the probiotic rich foods often used as a side dish or in sandwiches.


Probiotics are gut-friendly bacteria that prevent constipation, flatulence, and indigestion. Probiotic rich foods are known to aid in weight loss as well.

Many fermented foods contain these probiotic bacteria, which can be easily incorporated into the diet. They can be easily prepared at home and consumed as a digestive aid. These probiotic foods have been used for centuries across different cultures. Including these foods can contribute to better gut health.

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