6 probiotic foods to improve your overall health

By Urvi Shah

From your gut to your heart to your mind and more, probiotics are a one-stop-shop for unlocking many health benefits

Are you trying to maintain a healthy diet while in confinement? To try probiotic foods. Probiotics are known to support the health of your digestive system. They nourish your gut and boost your immunity. It has been proven that imbalances in your gut microbiome can leave you vulnerable to diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes. Incorporating probiotics into your diet is a wise move.

Research indicates that the benefits of these living microorganisms, also known as yeasts, extend to the heart as well. Their benefits are said to be linked to improved skin, vaginal and urinary health and reduced allergies. Some studies suggest that probiotics also have an impact on the central nervous system. They are said to also support the treatment of mental health issues like anxiety and depression, as well as some neurological disorders.

Here are six probiotic foods that can help improve your overall health. It is recommended to consume them regularly.


Yogurt is associated with healthy bones and muscle growth, and works well for people with high blood pressure. Fermented by two strains of bacteria (lactic acid and bifidobacteria), it is also beneficial in controlling diarrhea in children and may relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (SCI). As bacteria convert “lactose” to “lactic acid” during fermentation, yogurt can also be consumed by people with lactose intolerance.
Pro tip: Try to consume yogurt containing live cultures instead of the pasteurized versions of the product.


This drink is the residue that remains after churning the butter. It’s packed with minerals, probiotics, and vitamins, and works to support your gut’s nourishment. It helps build a healthy immune system. Buttermilk does not contain as much lactose as milk and in the right proportions, it can also be consumed by people with lactose intolerance.
Pro tip: Avoid cooking or cooking the fermented drink as it can kill live bacteria and cause the liquid to lose all of its probiotic qualities.

Cucumber pickle

Cucumber pickle is a cucumber submerged in a salt water solution. This pickle contributes to the health of your digestive system and encourages the development of a healthy and diverse microbiome. They also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and help your body fight infections.

The natural bacteria (lactic acid) help in the fermentation when making this pickle. Pickles are also loaded with vitamin K and sodium. Vitamin K helps your body to clot blood and prevents excessive bleeding.
Pro tip: Do not prepare pickles with vinegar. The product obtained will not contain any trace of probiotics.


Green olives

Olives are a probiotic superfood and are also fermented in a salt water solution. Lactobacilli, a type of intestinal bacteria, enable the procedure. The bacteria contains two types of strains: lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus pentosus. According to research, the former, in addition to helping digestion, ridding your system of IBS-related problems, and alleviating the problem of bloating, also reduced cholesterol levels.

Olives are also saturated with healthy fats and several nutrients. They are believed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial qualities. Consume olives fermented in salted water instead of plain water.

Soft and matured cheeses

Some kinds of cheese contain living and active cultures. Among them, mozzarella, cheddar, gruyère, gouda, Parmesan cheese, and swiss are varieties which retain their good bacteria. Gouda, in particular, is an excellent carrier of probiotics. These types of cheeses provide probiotics to your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Cheese contains several minerals and vitamins (calcium, phosphorus, selenium and vitamin B12) and is rich in protein. It is prepared by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk. While most types of cheese are made by fermentation, not all are probiotic.
Pro tip: Ripened cheese is a good probiotic option because it is packed with beneficial bacteria.


The Korean dish, kimchi, is more commonly made with cabbage but it can also be made with radishes, green onions and other vegetables. It is well known for its vitamin and mineral content. Kimchi is reported to contain a strain of bacteria (Lactobacillus kimchi) that nourishes your gut, improves colorectal health, lowers cholesterol, and also contains anti-obesity, anti-constipation, anti-cancer, anti-aging and anti-oxidants. It is also known to promote healthy skin and help strengthen your immune system.

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