The Best Probiotic Foods Of 2022

In recent years, there has been a heightened emphasis on the use of probiotics to help restore balance to gut flora. Probiotics consist of live bacteria and yeast that are necessary for good gut health. They are often encouraged when you've been prescribed antibiotics since they can wreak havoc on gut flora. Antibiotics kill off the infection they have been prescribed to treat but also obliterate good bacteria that your digestive system needs (via U.S News & World Report).

Health companies have jumped on the probiotic craze and now sell different types of probiotic combinations supposedly specially formulated to boost gut health. Consequently, probiotic supplements have also become popular as a means to treat a variety of conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, hormonal imbalance, and even seemingly unrelated digestive disorders like eczema, allergies, and urinary issues (via WebMD).

However, some doctors say that probiotic supplements are unnecessary because you can get all the good bacteria you need from food alone.

Food is better for probiotics than supplements

According to dietitian Suzie Finkel (via Verywell Fit), "Research suggests that those that are generally healthy do not attain a benefit from probiotic supplements. I often tell patients to remove probiotic supplements from their regimens, and I do see people feel better without them more often than not!"

Another thing to consider is that probiotics are also not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so there is no uniform standard to safeguard what's in them. When choosing to take supplements, it's best to put in the research to learn which ones are optimal and have fewer side effects (via Cleveland Clinic). 

When it comes to food, there is a variety of delicious meals and snacks that contain live and healthy bacteria. Foods that have been long known for having good probiotics include yogurt, sourdough bread, cottage cheese, kombucha, fermented sauerkraut and pickles, and miso soup.

Best foods for probiotics

Another upside to consuming food high in probiotics is that it has multiple health benefits. "The main benefit in consuming probiotic-rich foods over supplements is that you get to reap the benefits of both the live microorganisms and other nutrients found in the food," says Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN (via Verywell Fit). "With dairy products like yogurt and kefir, for example, you get the satiating benefit of protein. With fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut, you get fiber."

Yet, even with foods naturally loaded with probiotics, some brands are better than others. Registered dietician Alex Aldeborgh identified some of the foods with the best probiotics. For yogurt, Aldeborgh recommends Siggi's Fat-Free Vanilla Yogurt and says the best sauerkraut is Cleveland Kitchen Kraut Classic Caraway SauerKraut. For tempeh, try Soy Boy Tempeh, and, when it comes to kimchi, look for Mother-in-Law's Kimchi House Napa Cabbage. The best kombucha, according to Aldeborgh, is Health-Ade Kombucha Tea in Ginger Lemon.