Probiotics are beneficial organism, most which are mostly found in the healthy gastrointestinal tract. The probiotics are also called the ‘good’ or the ‘healthy’ bacterias because they help restore the natural balance in the guts and overall benefit the digestive system. They are usually added to yoghurts or taken as food supplements. Especially when traveling our ‘good’ bacterias will mix up with the ‘bad’ bacterias of foods etc. that we’re not used to and therefor it is always a good idea to consume some natural probiotics such as kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut or water kefir – which is (yaaaay) tasty and completely vegan. Consuming probiotics while traveling also helps prevent occasional travelers diarrhea and to get rid of parasites, that is unfortunately common in tropical areas.
Since 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system, it’s no surprise that the gut is considered the ‘second brain’.
You can either buy already made probiotics in most health stores or restaurants – or you can make it yourself (if not traveling of course).
One bottle a day will keep the gut doctor away
Basically it is recommended to intake 100ml to 150ml or about 50g of probiotics a day to keep your belly balanced and healthy. Here is my three favorite probiotics:
Kombucha – the health elixir
Kombucha is a natural fermented tea that has been consumed for thousand of years. It is made out of black or green tea and sugar and is produced by fermenting the tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The drink contains a variety of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and has been prized by traditional cultures for its health promoting properties. Daily intake of kombucha has several benefits such as:
- Keeping your gut healthy and in balance
- improving your digestive system
- boosting your immune system
- weight loss ( when brewed on green tea)
- clear skin
- may prevent cancer
- liver cleanse
Growing up in a Russian family, sauerkraut or ‘kapusta‘ as we call it in Russia, is another favorite probiotic. Its basically sliced / finely cut cabbage with onions and carrots that are being fermented by various lactic bacterias in a jar for several days. It has a crunchy and a sour taste and goes perfectly with savory dishes. You can either buy it in jars (mostly in ethnic food shops) or make a batch of your own – it only requires cabbage, onions (optional) and carrots, salt and some time.
Always have a batch of sauerkraut in your kitchen
Kimchi is a traditional Korean way of making fermented or salted vegetables. It mostly consist of napa cabbage, Korean radishes with a variety of seasoning included chili, scallions, ginger, garlic and salt. Sometimes vinegar also occurs in kimchi recipes. Be aware that not all store bought (or if you see it in Korean restaurants) are vegan, as some Kimchis are added fish sauce or jeotgal (salted seafood) – so make sure to ask for a vegetarian kimchi if you see it in shops/restaurants. Kimchi is a tasty side dish to add to Asian dishes, in sandwiches or soups.
The pungent, highly seasoned fermented cabbage is the Korean equivalent of soul food.
Recipe for kombucha – via liveeatlearn
Recipe for sauerkraut – via soulintheraw
Recipe for Kimchi – via minimalistbaker