Many foods contain probiotics (the good bacteria that help your body maintain health) and prebiotics (fiber that good bacteria eat but that isn%u2019t digestible by humans). However, it%u2019s difficult to get enough probiotics strictly through food. You need to take a probiotic supplement to get enough probiotics in your diet to maintain good health, especially if you%u2019re treating a particular illness (such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea).
Fermented foods %u2014 which used to be a larger part of the human diet because fermentation was a great way of preserving food %u2014 contain probiotics. Fermentation is the process of adding yeast to a food to change its structure. Primarily, sugars and starches are broken down during fermentation.
One thing to keep in mind: It%u2019s the live bacteria in the food you eat that make it full of healthy probiotics. Since heat destroys the bacteria, you need to make sure that your yogurt, for example, says live or active cultures on the label. Some yogurts are pasteurized, which kills the bacteria. Those yogurts with live cultures add them back in after the pasteurization process.
Probiotic-rich foods include the following:
%u2022Yogurt (with live cultures)
%u2022Dark chocolate (a good, high-quality chocolate)
%u2022Natto (a fermented soybean)
%u2022Some soft cheeses (such as Gouda) contain Lactobacilli bacteria
%u2022Sourdough bread may also contain Lactobacilli
%u2022Fruits such as bananas and tomatoes
%u2022Vegetables like artichokes, green beans, leeks