Probiotic Food: The Good Bugs

When you think of gut health, your mind may jump straight to the word “probiotic.” This isn’t surprising; a Google Trend Report indicated that consumer demand for probiotics has increased significantly since 2004.

Additionally, since the mid-1990s, research has suggested that probiotics may “aid digestion and help maintain gut health.”


What are probiotics?

The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”  

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, probiotics may help your body find the proper balance of microorganisms and “stabilize the digestive tract’s barriers against undesirable microorganisms.”


Probiotic Foods

Probiotics aren’t only available in supplement form. Many delicious foods are naturally full of probiotics!

Yogurt, for example, is produced when a starter culture of bacteria – usually Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus –  is added to milk. The bacteria break down the lactose sugars into lactic acid.

Pickling is a time tested technique for preserving vegetables and fruits. While pickling can involve immersing produce in vinegar to kill all the bacteria, a similar outcome can result from immersing produce in salted water for several weeks. In that briny environment, the Lactobacillus bacteria that naturally occurs on produce like cucumbers have a chance to produce lactic acid, which serves as a preservative.

Another common category of probiotic-rich foods is fermented foods. Foods ferment when molds, yeasts, or bacteria produce enzymes that break down the food into smaller, simpler compounds. The fermented foods are often abundant in probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Pediococcus, and Weisella.

Probiotic-rich foods include:

  • Yogurt
  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Kvass
  • Cottage cheese
  • Many more!


Curious if the probiotic bacteria in the food you’re eating is making its way to your gut?

Explorer™ identifies microbes found in the most common probiotic foods and lets you see how your levels of these microbes compare to others who consume these foods.


Use the code UNLEASH at checkout to get 50% off a Gut Explorer kit through the end of February 2019.

If you’ve used Explorer and have a story to tell, we’d love to hear from you! Share your story on social tagging @ubiome and #UnleashYourExplorer. You’ll be entered for the chance to win 1 Gut Explorer kit each week during February and for the Grand Prize Drawing: a Gut Time Lapse set.*

*All posts must tag @uBiome and use #UnleashYourExplorer to be counted as a valid entry. The first weekly contest will run Friday 2/1 to Thursday 2/14. Entries must be received by 11:59pm PST on Thursday 2/1. The Grand Prize contest will run Friday 2/1 – Thursday 2/28.  Entries must be received by 11:59 PST on Thursday 2/28 for the Grand Prize. Weekly winners will be announced at 10:00am PST on Friday 2/15. The Grand Prize winner will be announced by 10:00am PST on 3/1/2019.