Living With Chronic Pain

Probiotic-Rich Foods And How To Incorporate Them Into A Healthy Diet

Earlier this week, we shared some delicious probiotic drink recipes that are easy to make at home. Today, we’ll share some foods that contain probiotics and can benefit your digestive health, aid weight loss, and have also been found to lessen inflammation and pain.

The recipes we’ve chosen share the process that will cultivate probiotics via fermentation. Fermentation is one method to pickle foods, but not all pickled foods contain probiotics. Rather than using vinegar, a common choice for pickling, fermentation is completed through lactic acid fermentation. During fermentation, the starches and sugars in the food are converted into lactic acid by the bacteria lactobacilli. The lactic acid production is what gives fermented foods their unique sour smell and flavor. Choosing to pickle foods with vinegar will result in the loss of most the good probiotic bacteria.

Do you have any ideas on how to incorporate these, and other probiotic-rich foods into your diet? Share them in the comments!


Yogurt with live cultures contains probiotics.

Yogurt, Greek yogurt in particular, is an excellent source of protein and calcium, and also has a lower lactose content, which makes it a tolerable dairy source for many people who can’t drink milk. Perhaps even more importantly, it’s a great source of probiotics, which are commonly lacking in the modern diet. To get the benefits of probiotics, make sure you’re picking a variety that has live cultures. And, always check the nutrition labels on yogurts, as many of them are loaded with sugar. The best bet is non-fat, plain Greek yogurt.

Yogurt can be enjoyed as a breakfast option with fresh fruit, in a smoothie, as a dip with fresh vegetables, and even in salad dressing.


Sauerkraut, if unpasteurized, contains many healthy probiotics.

Sauerkraut, made of shredded cabbage, is full of healthy nutrients, and if made correctly (using salt, rather than vinegar), contains probiotics that can help weight loss and reduce pain. For a mere 27 calories per cup, sauerkraut offers 4 grams of fiber, 35 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, 21 percent of your daily vitamin K needs and 12 percent of your daily iron needs. How’s that for a nutrition powerhouse?

If you opt to purchase sauerkraut, make sure the product isn’t pasteurized, as that eliminates the probiotics that you’re after; you’ll find the unpasteurized sauerkraut in the refrigerated deli section.

Making your own sauerkraut is quite simple, and you can modify the recipe with spices that suit your palate. This recipe is made with turmeric and ginger, both of which have been found to contain anti-inflammatory properties.


Miso, made from fermented soy beans and grains is a great source of probiotics.

“Miso” means ‘fermented beans’ in Japanese.  It is a traditional ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cuisine made from fermented soybeans and grains. Miso contains various B vitamins, vitamins E, K and folic acid. There are many varieties of miso, including variations made with soy beans and barley (yellow miso), soy beans and rice (white miso), and many others.

The protein-rich paste is highly popular as it provides an instant flavour foundation. It adds the fifth taste, known as ‘umami’, to all sorts of dishes including soups/broths, salad dressings, vegetables, stews, glazes, and marinades. The site The View From Great Island shares many wonderful ways you can incorporate miso into soups, salads, and other delicious dishes.


Escabeche, or Mexican pickled vegetables, is one way to consume probiotics, when made with a saltwater brine.

Escabeche, Mexican Pickled Vegetables, are nothing short of delicious. Escabeche can be made with a variety of vegetables, but typically contains carrots, jalapenos, onions and many delicious spices.

While you can vary what you include in the recipe, the process is most important in creating probiotics. As with the other items we’ve shared, this recipe requires using a saltwater brine, not vinegar, which destroys much of the good bacteria you’re seeking to cultivate.

In addition to enjoying it with traditional Mexican food, Escabeche can be used to top steak, added to omelettes, and as a salad garnish.


Pickles are a source of probiotics due to the lactic acid fermentation process.

Pickles are cucumbers that have been pickled in a solution of salt and water. Pickles that are made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics.

They are left to ferment for some time, using their own naturally present lactic acid bacteria. This process makes them sour. They are low in calories and a good source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting. 

Pickles can be paired with everything from sandwiches, chopped up in tuna, on an appetizer platter, and many other options.


A traditional Korean food, Kimchi has an incredible amount of health benefits due to the probiotics.

Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, and is enjoyed at almost every meal. It is made by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus). In addition to the probiotic benefits, research has shown kimchi to help reduce cholesterol, has many antioxidative properties, promotes brain health, and also helps digestion as with other foods that contain probiotics.

Some creative ways to incorporate kimchi into your diet is to add them to scrambled eggs, on grains like quinoa, barley, or brown rice, and even as a topping on pizza.

Considering all the health benefits that have been linked to the consumption of probiotics, including digestive health, weight loss, and decreased inflammation and pain, there’s plenty of incentive to explore the world of probiotic-rich foods and drinks. While not everything may sound appealing to you (I bet there are plenty of households split on whether sauerkraut is appetizing or not. . .), there are so many variations, a little homework is sure to result in something to best your preference.

If eating plain Greek yogurt doesn’t sound exciting, make a Greek yogurt ranch dressing– you’ll skip the fat from a store bought version, get your veggie intake, and reap the benefits of probiotics. Not sure how to get creative with pickles? Make this Dilly Potato Salad– use Greek yogurt as a sub for the mayonnaise, you’ll be able to incorporate the pickles, and, potatos are full of resistant starch– and will keep you satiated. Seek and you shall find- there are endless amounts of recipes available- enjoy!


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