Your gut health can influence a number of other systems throughout your body, and thereby, plays a big role in your overall well-being. Has your stomach ever just felt off, and it put you in a bad mood or just a funk? Something as simple as just feeling poorly can alter your quality of life, even if only for a short bit. To ensure that this doesn’t become an issue, eating foods that promote good gut health is smart, and few foods are better for your gut health than sources of probiotics.
We discussed all the health benefits of probiotics previously, but for a quick rundown, they may be great for your digestive and stomach health, your heart, and even weight loss. As an added bonus, there are plenty of delicious foods that have probiotics, like kombucha, kefir, or miso, which all have the essential fermentation needed to create probiotics. Sauerkraut and some pickles are also great sources of probiotics that you can easily get. But what if you’re looking for something more substantial or a dish that combines multiple sources of probiotics? That’s what these probiotic-heavy recipes are for!
Creamy, Crunchy Dip
If you’re looking for a simple recipe that’s loaded with probiotics and goes well with almost anything, this dip is for you. Simply by combining Greek yogurt and diced fermented pickles, you have a dip that’s crunchy and creamy with a nice balance of sweet and sour. It’s also a really forgiving combination that allows you to tweak and improvise based on your personal taste. For example, we like to add about a clove or two of garlic and a pinch of salt to the mixture, but you can also add some dried dill weed, mustard, or even more pickle juice, if you want a stronger flavor.
This dip is an excellent base to help you develop a palate for cooking and practice pairing and balancing flavors. Just be sure to make sure the ingredients you’re picking up have probiotics. Some commercially available versions of these ingredients use methods that either don’t have probiotics or kill them through processing. For example, while many pickles are a great source of probiotics, not all are. Since fermentation multiplies the probiotics present, unfermented pickles, like those made with vinegar, don’t have them. To get around this, make sure whatever pickle you’re using is fermented (many will note on the packaging if they contain probiotics) or simply make your own. You can count on most Greek yogurts as a good source of probiotics, but make sure it has the “Live & Active Cultures” seal to be certain. If you’re out of Greek yogurt, many plain yogurts and some sour creams also have probiotics. (Again, look for the seal or mentions on the packaging.)
Yogurt Pickle Dip Recipe
- 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- 1 spear of fermented pickle (roughly ¼ cup chopped)
- 2 tbsp of pickle juice (more to taste)
- 1 tbsp of kosher salt
- 2 cloves of chopped garlic (roughly 2 tsp)
- Roughly chop pickle spear and garlic cloves.
- Mix the diced pickle and garlic, and the rest of the ingredients, in a bowl.
- Taste and adjust to your liking.
- Serve on toasted bread, with chips, or as a sauce for a savory entrée.
This Italian classic is a shareable appetizer that’s simply amazing. A classic caprese consists of alternating slices of tomato, mozzarella, and sweet basil. All of the ingredients need to be fresh, so no dried basil or shredded mozzarella. Usually, it will be dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This salad can also be served on toasted bread to create a caprese bruschetta, making it a perfect finger food for get-togethers or quick snacks.
Generally, caprese has two ingredients that have probiotics for you. The primary source is mozzarella. Like many soft cheeses, mozzarella has a unique mix of fat content and low acidity that is great for promoting probiotic growth. The trick is to find mozzarella made with raw or organic milk, since pasteurized milk can inhibit the growth of probiotics. Balsamic vinegar also contains some probiotics, which it gets from the acetic acid found in the vinegar. When you combine the probiotics with the other health benefits found in its simple, fresh ingredients, a caprese salad is a really nice way to start a meal!
Simple Caprese Recipe
- 1 large tomato
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella
- ½ cup of fresh basil
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- Wash and dry the tomato and basil.
- Slice the tomato and mozzarella into ¼-inch pieces.
- Arrange the pieces in this order: tomato, mozzarella, a basil leaf or two.
- Repeat two or three times before starting a new row.
- Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the rows.
For a dish that offers a great mix of flavors that’s backed by a healthy number of probiotics, try out kimchi. This spicy, savory dish, made of fermented cabbage, has practically everything you’re looking for. It’s very healthy for you, as we found out in “Should I Be Eating Kimchi?” You can also add it to almost any meal, as many Koreans already know. (On average, Koreans eat about 48 pounds of kimchi annually.) If you want to make this delicious, versatile dish, check out this article for our full kimchi recipe!
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Consuming probiotics is an easy way to help manage your gut health, keep you feeling better and improve your digestion. With these simple and/or quick recipes, you can hopefully get a good number of probiotics and keep your digestive system running smoothly.