We all know you're supposed to eat yoghurt and sauerkraut, but not everyone knows how to include these into meals -- and make them taste amazing.
"Probiotics are microorganisms that are essential for the health of our gut bacteria," nutritionist Steph Lowe, aka The Natural Nutritionist, told The Huffington Post Australia.
"Gut bacteria assist in food breakdown, help produce essential nutrients and allow for greater nutrient bioavailability (via pre-digestion)."
With around 70 percent of our immune system located in the gut, probiotics are essential for optimal immune health.
"Without the right balance, nutrient production, absorption, digestion and assimilation is sub-optimal," Lowe said.
"This has powerful implications for health and vitality -- immunity and protection from food allergies and intolerances, cognition, memory and overall brain health, natural detoxification pathways, growth in children and adolescents, exercise performance and recovery, and our fat loss ability."
Here are nine probiotic packed meals that can help boost your gut health.
1. Sourdough topped with yoghurt, fruit and honey
Thanks to the wild yeast in sourdough starter, sourdough bread contains the bacteria Lactobacillus in a higher amount than in other breads. Yoghurt is another probiotic rich food, so why not put the two together?
Simply toast some sourdough bread and top with natural or Greek yoghurt, your favourite seasonal fruit and a drizzle of honey.
2. Miso soup topped with kimchi
Your favourite soup to have with sushi is actually great for your gut, with miso being a fermented paste made from soybeans, sea salt and koji (a mould starter) and often rice, barley or other grains. High quality miso can take up to three years to ferment, producing a gut friendly and enzyme-rich food.
Kimchi is another great probiotic. This traditional Korean dish consists of fermented vegetables (usually napa cabbage and daikon radish) and a flavour-packed paste of red chilli, garlic, ginger and sugar.
To get the most out of these probiotic foods, make a miso soup with veggies, noodles and tofu, and top with kimchi.
3. Yoghurt with granola and berries
If you have this brekkie on the regular, kudos to you. Yoghurt is a fermented milk product which is soured and thickened by adding specific lactic acid-producing cultures to milk, making it a great probiotic.
Try layering natural, Greek or coconut yoghurt with granola and fruit to make this probiotic food extra delicious.
4. Bone broth with vegetables and sauerkraut
It sounds peculiar, but bone broth is simply stock made from simmering bones, just like you would with leftover chicken carcasses, fish or veggies. Bones contain gelatin, which can help restore the gut lining and the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut.
Try turning your bone broth into a hearty, warming soup by adding vegetables and topping with probiotic rich sauerkraut. Double whammy.
5. Rainbow salad with a miso tahini dressing
Transform your boring salad with probiotic miso paste made into a flavoursome salad dressing. Simply mix tahini, miso, lemon juice and cracked pepper, and drizzle all over your salad.
6. Kombucha with fresh lemon and berries
Kombucha is a fizzy, slightly sweet drink made by fermenting sugary tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. It doesn't sound all that appealing, but once you add flavours, kombucha tastes amazing.
You can buy kombucha from supermarkets and health food stores, or make it yourself at home. Either way, when you're ready to drink, add fresh lemon slices and berries.
7. Sourdough topped with avocado and miso tahini
Combine probiotic sourdough and miso with this tasty avocado toast. Just like salt does, miso complements and enhances the flavour of the creamy avocado and sourdough, while the tahini adds earthiness and nuttiness.
8. Tempeh burger with pickles and sauerkraut
Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, yet is less processed. This fermented soy product is not only high in protein and B vitamins, but it's also a rich source of probiotics.
If you're new to tempeh, try these tempeh and black bean burgers. To top it all off and up the probiotics, add pickles and sauerkraut to your burger.
9. Kefir berry smoothie
Kefir is a yoghurt-like drink, which is known as 'yoghurt on steroids' as it contains 30 strains of gut friendly bacteria and yeasts. For those just starting to drink kefir, a delicious way to ease yourself in is with a smoothie made with kefir.
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