15 Health Benefits of Probiotics, According To Science (+15 Best Probiotic Foods)

Probiotics are live bacteria which are ingested in food and are beneficial health-wise to the human body. They come with numerous benefits as outlined below. To help you incorporate probiotics into your diet, we also included a list of the 15 best probiotic foods. 

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1.      Probiotics help reduce allergy and eczema 

About 20% of the world is affected by allergy which is a chronic disorder. Allergy is also the commonest childhood chronic disease. There is a hygiene hypothesis of allergy which purports that speedy allergy increase is associated with less exposure to infections in childhood.

Persistent bacterial stimulus from developing digestive bacteria is required for the effective development of the gut immune system. A lack of exposure to infections in childhood and early stages of development predisposes the digestive system to a higher risk of allergies in later stages of life. Certain probiotics play an important role in allergy prevention by triggering the immune system which is innate. The immune system then protects the body from allergens in turn (2).

The mechanism of operation of these probiotics that they use to produce effective results is not wholly understood yet but it is alleged that they produce the beneficial effects by improving the production and lining of the gut with mucus to bar allergens and through microbial stimulation of the innate immune system. They have been proven to be effective in control of pollen allergy in both children and grown-ups (3).

Certain strains of probiotics may also reduce the severity of eczema in young ones (4). A study showed an improvement in the eczema symptoms for infants who were given probiotic-supplemented milk as contrasted with those given milk with no probiotics. Another study showed that children of women who took probiotics during pregnancy reduced their children’s risk of eczema for the first two years by 83%.

Bottom Line: Certain probiotics play an important role in allergy prevention by triggering the innate immune system thus preventing allergies. They are also known to reduce the severity of eczema in children.

2.       Anti-Aging

There is a lot of evidence which shows how the probiotics positively influence aging especially on the skin (5). This is by restoration of acidic skin pH, alleviation of oxidative stress, diminution of photo-aging, enhancement of the skin barrier function and enrichment of the hair quality. In addition, probiotics help in the digestion process and absorption of important nutrients which sanction the body to assimilate nutrients and fats which improve skin health and help to keep it glowing.

Bottom Line: Probiotics restore acidic skin pH, alleviate oxidative stress, diminution of photo-aging, enhance the skin barrier function and enrich the hair quality.

3.      Anti-Cancer.

By strengthening the immune system, the probiotics help our body to fight carcinogenic and toxic compounds. They can also express the antiproliferative effects and bar the growth of cancerous tumors.

Studies have proven that probiotics are actively involved in the prevention of colon cancer by inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells. The facilitation of the bowel movement by probiotics also lowers the risk of colon cancer. Moreover, it has also been shown by studies that the production of anti-cancer chemicals is stimulated by probiotics (6).

A certain probiotic known as Lactobacillus casei has been associated with the reduction of bladder cancer risk (7).

Bottom Line: Strengthening the immune system helps the body fight against toxins and carcinogenic compounds. Production of anti-cancer chemicals is stimulated by probiotics.

4.      Constipation Relief.

Constipation is a condition more often than not caused by inadequate water intake, insufficient fiber intake, and hypothyroidism, poor regulation of fecal enzyme activity or as a side-effect of some drugs. The process of digestion and excretion is sped up by probiotics which is a positive contribution towards avoidance of constipation that is a condition affecting many people at various degrees of severity.

Some probiotic species (Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus) convert bound bile salts into free salts which consequently leads to improved mucous selection and enhanced bowel regularity. Free bile salts increase the amount of water drawn into the colon which aids in softening the stool and eases its egestion (8).

The probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12®, for instance, helps in the lubrication of the gut and natural stimulation of peristalsis by converting prebiotic fibers into short chain fatty acids (9).

Bottom Line: Probiotics aid in the prevention of constipation through various mechanisms such as enhancing lubrication of the gut and natural peristalsis stimulation.

5.      Fatigue Prevention.

There has been an association of fatigue and gut problems for years but how they are related wasn’t understood until recently.

The abnormalities of the digestive system are related to fatigue and therefore dealing with the digestive problems would help to alleviate the condition. This has been associated with over-permeability of the gut (10).

Probiotics improve gut health and therefore can help to prevent the occurrence of fatigue.

Bottom Line: Probiotics improve gut health and therefore help to prevent fatigue.

6.      Improved Digestion and Nutrient Intake.

The gut consists of a microecology within it which is maintained by the balance between the ‘good' bacteria and the ‘bad' bacteria as has been proven by scientific research (11). In an ideal such microecology, the ‘good' bacteria should comprise at least 85% of the total gut biota (11). If this balance is interfered with in any way, it leads to a number of health problems, some of them being the digestive problems.

By improving the enzyme activity and increasing the digestibility of substances, the probiotics are able to improve the microbial population of the beneficial bacteria and consequently having a positive influence on the digestive process. The probiotic-rich fermented milk was used as a tonic for countering the digestive problem.

Probiotics also influence the bioavailability of nutrient in a positive way. This is done by improving the body's ability to extract and absorb important vitamins and minerals from food and thus making sure they do not go to waste. This improved absorption of important food nutrients such as calcium, zinc, iron and zinc and also all the B vitamins are among the most important roles of probiotics in the human body since they result into a load of benefits gained from the sufficient nutrient absorption (12).

Bottom Line: Probiotics such assists in improving the process of digestion of various foods including lactose and also positively influence the bioavailability of nutrients.

7.      Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Prevention.

Inflammation Bowel Disease (IBD) is a disease which is characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Despite the fact that the exact cause which triggers and maintains this disease is unknown, it has been associated with a disturbance in the endogenous intestinal bacteria and defects in the mucosal barrier.

Nevertheless, probiotics are used as an operational and innocuous method for the active management and treatment of patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (13, 14). The use of bacterial supplements as an adjuvant to the treatment of the disease is rapidly gaining popularity.

Bottom Line: Probiotics have been used as an operational and innocuous approach for effective management and treatment of patients suffering from IBD.

8.      Lactose Intolerance Symptoms Relief.

The Asian population, African Americans and Native Americans exhibit high rates of lactose intolerance. This is due to the deficiency of the enzyme lactase which is involved in the processing of lactose. A significant proportion of the world’s adult population experiences symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and flatulence. If milk products have lactase in abundance, people with lactose intolerance can consume them without experiencing any adverse effects. Fermentation of lactose in the colon by probiotics alleviates the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance (15).

A strain of probiotics called Acidophilus as well as other similar types of bacteria are able to produce similar effects as lactase and have also the capability of breaking down and promoting the digestion of lactose (16). This, however, does not treat the condition of lactose intolerance in the person but only relieves them from certain painful and uncomfortable symptoms.

Bottom Line: Probiotic strains called Acidophilus and also other similar types of bacteria are able to produce similar effects as lactase and have also the capability of breaking down and promoting lactose digestion.

9.      Mood and Anxiety Control.

There have been studies to investigate the relationship between bacteria found in the digestive system and psychological conditions like anxiety, stress, and depression. Recently, an increasing number of studies on both human beings and animals have associated gut health with mood and mental state (17). It has been found out in both animals and human beings that probiotic supplements can help to improve several of the existent mental health disorders (18). This relationship also has an influence on our bodies’ immune systems.

A review of several human studies found that improved anxiety, autism, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and memory were observed after supplementation of the probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for one to two months (18).

Additionally, the bacteria found in the gut produce 95 percent of the body’s serotonin stores, a neurotransmitter which stabilizes the mood (19). Because of this, it would not be a surprise that the probiotics seem to exhibit mood elevating effects. In one study, it was shown that lower rates of depression were observed in people taking the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus than in those who did not.

Bottom Line: Studies have shown that probiotics could aid in improving symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, stress, memory, and others.

10.  Osteoporosis Risk Reduction.

It is vital for bone health to maintain a proper calcium balance in the body. An imbalance in the processes resorption and osteogenesis leads to changes in the bones structure which are irreversible and eventually results in osteoporosis (20). Many studies in literature have confirmed the positive effects of supplementing the diet with oligosaccharides and probiotics on the absorption of the mineral calcium and its retention in the body (21).

The fermentation of oligosaccharides by the probiotics in the large intestines increase the acidity in the large intestines which facilitates dissolution of calcium-phosphate-magnesium complexes formed in the small intestines. This increases the amount of absorbable calcium form in the human body which is the ionized calcium.

Bottom Line: Probiotics increase the amount of absorbable calcium form in the human body thus promoting good bone health.

11.  Recurrent Infections Treatment and Reduction of Yeast Infections.

A few studies reported that fewer incidences of respiratory infections are experienced in infants treated with Lactobacillus GG (22, 23). Certain probiotic strains were also used to show their effect of decreasing the recurrence of urinary tract infections in both adults and children.

Antibiotic chemicals which are best suited for killing invading pathogens in the body are produced by probiotics. The probiotics produce more effective antibiotic chemicals and change strategies in case the pathogens become resistant to one particular antibiotic chemical.

Consistent probiotic use has also produced results in treatment of yeast infections in women. Formerly, the modes of treatment involved did not include oral or intestinal solutions but now various Lactobacilli strains of probiotics can be orally ingested and the beneficial effects treat symptoms located in the productive system.

It has also been shown by studies that these types of probiotics can aid in treatment of urinary tract infections (24, 25) and yeast vaginitis which is more common and also bacterial vaginosis.

Bottom Line: Probiotics have been shown to produce antibiotics which kill pathogens and thus deals with recurrent infections.

12.  Strengthening the Immune System.

Based on research, about 83 percent of the body’s immunity can be attributed directly to the gut wall. The gut-associated immune system and the gastrointestinal tract have become advanced into a unified barrier between the internal environment and the continuous challenge from foreign antigens such as food and pathogens (26). The bacteria in the gut form part of the intestinal barrier as an active component. They play a critical role in protection and in the strengthening of the immune system.

One can actually enhance the strength of their immune system and increase the efficiency of the same just by consuming probiotics and being actively involved and conscious of the balance between the bad and the beneficial gut within the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotic bacteria can protect the body against infections by inhibiting the reproduction and survival of invading pathogens in the intestines and also through regulation of the levels of antibodies present in the gut. This results in a stronger immune system which is better suited and set to fight off infections and diseases.

With imbalance in levels of the beneficial and the harmful bacteria, one is prone to autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease (27). Probiotics can help in avoiding these disorders by regulation of the intestinal homeostasis.

Bottom Line: Probiotic can help boost the immune system and protect the body against infections.

13.  Traveler’s Diarrhea Prevention.

Although a medically recommended probiotic therapy which is effective in control of traveler’s diarrhea is not completely established, several probiotics have exhibited significant effectiveness in its prevention; such as L. acidophilus and B. bifidum. Traveler’s diarrhea is a common condition among travelers (28). Depending on the origin of travelers and their mode of travel as well as their destination, there is a 20 to 50 percent incidence of traveler’s disease. The most common infectious agent that causes traveler's diarrhea is the enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.

Bottom Line: A medically recommended probiotic therapy effective in control of traveler’s diarrhea is not completely established. However, several probiotics have exhibited significant effectiveness in its prevention.

14.  Type 2 Diabetes Prevention.

Studies have suggested that taking probiotics can lower the onset of resistance to insulin and thereby, as a result, lessen the occurrence of hypersensitive conditions which are closely linked to diabetes (29).

Bottom Line: Probiotics can lower resistance to insulin and therefore reduce the incidence of diabetes-related symptoms.

15.  Weight Management.

Through employing various mechanisms, consumption of probiotics can assist in weight loss. One of the mechanisms is by the inhibition of the absorption of dietary fat in the intestine. When it is inhibited from absorption, it is then excreted through egestion in feces instead of being stored in the body. This effectively prevents obesity and weight gain (30).

Probiotics through increasing the levels of certain hormones like the GLP-1 helps one feel fuller for longer, store less fat and burn a higher amount of calories (31).

Probiotics may also help with direct weight loss. One study involving dieting women showed that women who consumed Lactobacillus rhamnosus for a period of 3 months lost 150 percent of the weight lost by the rest who did not take any probiotics.

A different study found out that consumption of even low doses of Lactobacillus gasseri for about 3 months resulted in a reduction of belly fat by 8.5 percent (32).

However, caution should be taken when using probiotics for weight control as not all probiotics taken assist in weight loss. Some probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus were even found to lead to weight gain.

More research is required in order to establish the relationship between probiotics and weight.  

Bottom Line: Some probiotics have been shown to help in weight loss and belly fat reduction. Nonetheless, some strains have been associated with weight gain.

Best Probiotic Foods to Add To Your Diet

There are many foods which provide probiotics and are beneficial. The following are just but some of the best of the foods.

1.      Yogurt

This is currently undeniably among the best and most easily available probiotic foods. This very popular probiotic is made by addition of two strains of bacteria, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, into pasteurized milk. Due to the lactic acid produced by the bacteria, the milk thickens up to form a creamy compound which is the yogurt.

It is important to note however that although most Greek yogurts are a good protein source, not all of them provide probiotics because some of the products are treated with heat after fermentation which normally kills most of the beneficial active cultures.

Always make sure you check the label of the product for ‘live active cultures’ if in search of probiotic-containing products.

Goat milk, in particular, is high in probiotics such as lactobacillus or acidophilus, bifidus, thermophilus, and bulgaricus. However, most yogurt varieties are further processed by addition of corn syrup with high fructose content, flavors, and artificial sweeteners.

Always avoid the sugary ones as in most cases they feed the harmful bacteria rather than the beneficial ones.

Bottom Line: Among the best and most easily available probiotic foods. It has been associated with a number of health benefits and can also be appropriate for people who have lactose intolerance. It is important to always make sure that the yogurt you choose has live or active cultures.

2.      Cheese

Most cheeses are made by fermentation. However, not all cheeses which are fermented contain probiotics. Soft, aged cheese are like Gouda, parmesan, cheddar, and swiss are normally the only type which helps to maintain the good bacteria.

Preparation starts by addition of lactic acid bacterial culture to milk which then forms lactic acid and leads to formation of curds in the milk and whey. The older the cheese, the more beneficial it is to the bacteria in the gut.

It is always best to buy raw rather than pasteurized cheese failure to which you are unlikely to enjoy any of the probiotic benefits. Goat milk, sheep milk, and A2 aged cheeses are especially high in probiotics such as bifidus, thermophilus, acidophilus, and bulgaricus.

Bottom Line: Not all fermented cheese contain probiotics, only the soft, aged cheese like Gouda, parmesan, cheddar and swiss. Unpasteurized cheeses are the ones which provide probiotics.

3.      Coconut Kefir

This is made by fermenting the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains. It is a dairy-free alternative for traditional dairy kefir except that it is not as high in probiotics as the traditional dairy kefir.

Nevertheless, it still has some probiotic strains which are useful for your health. It has a great flavor and a little stevia, lime juice, and water can be added to it to make a good-tasting drink.

Bottom Line: Made by fermentation of the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains. It is a dairy-free alternative to dairy kefir and is lower in probiotics than the traditional kefir.

4.      Cultured Soymilk

With soymilk, dairy is not the only way through which one can obtain a probiotic fix. The cultured soymilk, or the soy yogurt, in other words, is a nondairy alternative which is also rich in live active cultures.

It is usually enriched with calcium and vitamin D in order to make it more similar to a dairy product which is why it is a good alternative for vegans and those who suffer from lactose-intolerance.

For more variety, almond milk and coconut milk yogurts are also viable alternatives which are rich in probiotics as well.

Bottom Line: It is also a non-dairy alternative rich in active and live cultures. It is enriched with calcium and vitamin D to make it more similar to dairy making it a good choice for vegans and lactose-intolerant people.

5.      Dark Chocolate

Certain chocolate brands like Attune have pumped up chocolate by adding probiotics to it. Attune, for example, has 6.1 billion colony forming units (CFUs). A colony forming unit is a unit of measurement of live, active microorganisms per serving. In order to be able to compare, some of the probiotic supplements can contain 1 to more than 50 billion colony forming units –backed by science.

A study which was published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology found out that these probiotics added to chocolate successfully reached the gastrointestinal tract where they could become active and fill the gut with beneficial bacteria.

As if not enough, chocolate has also been shown to provide prebiotics in addition to the probiotics. It is possibly the sweetest probiotic source and also a good alternative if you want to manage your weight.

Bottom Line: It is a good source of both probiotics as well as prebiotics. Probiotics added to chocolate are able to reach the gastrointestinal tract and become active as shown by studies.

6.      Kefir

This is a dairy product almost similar to yogurt. It is an exceptional mixture of milk and kefir grains which have been fermented. Kefir has been consumed for as long as over 3 millenniums and the term originates from Turkey and Russia which means ‘feeling good’ (33).

Despite the fact that kefir is a dairy product, it is suitable for those who are lactose-intolerant since it is made by the fermentation of the milk by the bacteria, and yeasts in the kefir starter break down lactose in the milk. It is, therefore, a good alternative for the lactose-intolerant (34).

It has higher probiotic content than yogurt although they are almost similar. This is because its fermentation involves yeast and more bacteria. It has a tart flavor and is slightly acidic. Kefir contains around 10 to 34 strains of probiotics.

Bottom Line: It is a fermented milk drink which is almost similar to yogurt although it is a better source of probiotics than yogurt. It can also be safely taken by lactose-intolerant people without any problems.

7.      Kimchi

This is a Korean staple which relies on the fermentation with lactic acid or otherwise known as lacto-fermentation to turn Chinese cabbages or other vegetables mixed with several other spices such as flakes of red pepper, carrots, radishes, ginger, garlic, sea salt, onion and fish sauce for three to fourteen days. This turns to a powerful spicy side dish which is also full of vitamin C.

Apart from being a good source of probiotics, kimchi is also a reliable source of iron, calcium, beta-carotene and the vitamins A, B1, B2 and as mentioned, vitamin C.

It is more or less like sauerkraut and is extremely sour in taste just like most Asian dishes. It is a good option if you want to have a taste of spicy food.

Bottom Line: This is a spicy Korean staple which is made by fermenting cabbage. It can benefit digestive health through the lactic acid it contains in plenty.

8.      Kombucha Tea

This is a bubbly (effervescent) fermented drink made from green or black tea and a symbiotic combination of yeast and bacteria which is known as ‘SCOBY’ (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Existent studies, however, are based on animals and may or may not apply to human beings (35).

This drink can only be beneficial if it is not pasteurized at all which means that every second it takes between the shelf and drinking increases the risk of contamination. It is also advisable to only rely on pre-prepared kombucha bought from the store rather than brewing it at home since home-brewed kombucha has a higher risk of contamination and has been linked with nausea and even toxicity. Maintaining sanitation in its preparation at home is tough and in fact, unpasteurized kombucha drinks have been associated with bacterial infections, liver damage, and allergic reactions.

Due to the fermentation process, the kombucha also contains small amounts of alcohol and it is, therefore, best to take a moderate amount per day –about one ounce.

The fermentation with bacteria and yeast produces probiotics and therefore properly prepared and store kombucha tea is a good source of probiotics although it has fizzy, strong and somehow vinegar-esque taste.

Bottom Line: Kombucha is fermented tea made from green or black tea and ‘SCOBY’. Caution should be taken during preparation since it can be toxic if contamination occurs.

9.      Kvass

This is a common traditional Eastern Europe fermented drink which was formerly made by fermentation of rye and barley which gives it a mild taste. The modern version of Kvass is made by fermenting beet juice or vegetables like carrot and fruit juice.

Kvass has lactobacilli probiotics which play a role in cleansing of the blood and the liver.

Furthermore, beetroots are rich in nitrates which may boost the flow of oxygen into the muscles and thereby improve exercise performance as has been shown by studies. They are also a good source of vitamin C.

Bottom Line: It is made by fermentation of beet juice or vegetables like carrots and fruit juice. It is good for blood and liver cleansing due to the presence of lactobacilli probiotics. Beetroots are also rich in nitrates which boost oxygen flow into the muscles and consequently improve exercise performance. It is also a good vitamin C source.

10.  Miso

Miso is made by fermentation of soybeans with salt and a type of fungus called Aspergillus oryzae or koji. The fermentation process of miso can take between just a few days and even a couple of years to complete which then results to a white, dark brown or red paste which has a buttery feel.

Miso can also be made by combining the soybeans with other materials such as rye, barley, and rice.

The resulting paste is popularly used in miso soup which is a common component of a breakfast in Japan. The miso is normally salty and it can be bought in the various varieties of different colors.

Additionally, miso is a good fiber and protein source and is also packed with different minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and minerals including copper, manganese and vitamin K.

It was reported by one study that lower risks of breasts cancer were observed in association with frequent consumption of miso soup in middle-aged Japanese women (36).

It was also shown by a different study that there was a reduced risk of breast cancer in women who took a lot of miso soup (37).

Bottom Line: This is a fermented soybean paste which is popular in Japan as a seasoning. It is a rich source of nutrients and could reduce the risk of cancer and stroke particularly in women.

11.  Natto

This is another Japanese staple food which is normally served with rice during breakfast. It contains a bacterial strain called Bacillus subtilis, which has been shown to boost your immune system, improve the cardiovascular health and to augment vitamin K2 digestion. It has a distinct strong smell and is a good source of probiotics (38).

Vitamin K2 which is abundantly present in natto alongside proteins is also important for cardiovascular health and bone health.

Regular consumption of natto was linked to higher bone mineral density in a study conducted on older Japanese men. This is highly credited to the high content of vitamin K2 in natto.

Natto may also help to prevent osteoporosis in women as has been shown by other studies (39).

Bottom Line: This is a Japanese breakfast staple, a fermented soy product. Has high amounts of vitamin K2 which may aid in prevention of heart attacks and osteoporosis.

12.  Pickles

These are cucumbers which have been soaked in a solution of water and salt, also known as gherkins. They become sour due to the process of the fermentation for some time and being left to ferment using their own lactic acid bacteria which are naturally present.

They may help in improving the digestive health since they are a rich healthy probiotic bacteria source.

They have high sodium content and are low in calories. They are also a good vitamin K source which is an essential nutrient required for blood clotting (40).

However, it should be noted that pickles which are made using vinegar do not contain live probiotics.

To obtain greater benefits from fermented pickles, avoid the commercial products and attempt preparing your own pickles at home in the sun and if you have to buy them, buy from a local manufacturer who uses organic ingredients.

Bottom Line: These are cucumbers which have been pickled in salt water and fermented. They have high vitamin K content and low-calorie content. Nonetheless, pickles which have been made using vinegar do not have probiotics.

13.  Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is made from finely shredded cabbage which is fermented by lactic acid produced by the bacteria.

It is among the oldest traditional foods which is popular in a lot of countries particularly in most parts of Europe. It is usually used either as a side dish or placed on top of sausages to add its salty, sour taste. It can be stored for a long time, several months in an airtight container.

Apart from the probiotic content, sauerkraut is a rich source of fiber and also vitamins B, C and K. It is also rich in minerals like sodium and has others such as iron and manganese (41).

Into the bargain, sauerkraut has the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are important for eye health (42).

However, caution should be taken not to use the pasteurized sauerkraut because it does not contain active and live bacteria since pasteurization kills them.

Bottom Line: This is made by fermenting finely shredded cabbage. It is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It is also important to choose unpasteurized brands that have the active and live bacteria.

14.  Sourdough Bread

This chewy bread which usually has a mild sour taste is made with a lactic acid starter which has strains of Lactobacillus –a friendly bacteria type which adds good microbes in the dough.

Contrary to what some people might think, sourdough is not a flavor but actual fermentation process in which wild yeast and the friendly lactobacillus bacteria break down the gluten and the sugar in the wheat flour, which turns it into good proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

The sour taste comes from the fermentation resulting from the wild yeast which is drawn from the air around, the amount depending on the location.

The bread is much easily digested than the other types of over-processed white breads since the starches from the grains are already predigested by the friendly bacteria.

Bottom Line: Is a bread with a mild sour taste made with a lactic acid starter which has strains of Lactobacillus which add good microbes. It more easily digested than the over-processed white breads.

15.  Tempeh

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and is often considered as a vegan alternative to bacon. It originated from Indonesia and is very rich in proteins.

It is cake-like with a taste which has been described as nutty, earthy and sometimes similar to that of a mushroom. The fermentation process involved has significant effects on the nutritional composition of the food.

Soybeans usually have a high content of phytic acid which is a plant compound which impairs the absorption of minerals such as zinc and iron. The fermentation process reduces the amount of phytic acid which increases the absorbability of minerals from tempeh into the body.

Another great byproduct of the fermentation process is the vitamin B12 produced by the bacteria which is not present in soybeans. Vitamin B12 is majorly found in most animal foods like meat, dairy products, fish, and eggs.

Therefore, apart from being a good source of probiotics, it is also a great option for vegetarians and also for one who seeks addition of a nutritious probiotic to their diet.

Bottom Line: This is also a fermented soybean product which a popular meat substitute for vegans due to its high protein content and moderate vitamin B12 content.

With all the above-outlined benefits of consumption of probiotics, you definitely should slip in some of the foods mentioned into your diet. Note that those are just some of the benefits and not all of them so there are many more to enjoy if you take probiotic content of your diet into consideration.