Food Sources of Probiotics

There is a whole bunch of talk about probiotic foods but what exactly are they? Simply put probiotic foods are foods that contain live bacteria that are thought to be beneficial for us and not harmful. For the most part, probiotic foods are at least partially fermented.

The first thing that comes to mind when someone says probiotic food is probably yogurt because it is the most common food that has probiotic cultures in it. When getting yogurt make sure that you are getting on that says it contains live probiotic cultures because not all yogurt does.

Miso soup is another great food with probiotic cultures in it. It is made from the Japanese seasoning, Miso that is made by fermenting different beans or grains.

Miso soup

Another food that has probiotic cultures in it is Kim Chi. This is commonly found in Korean meals as a side dish. Kim Chi is fermented cabbage that is very strong and usually tastes spicy.

Sauerkraut is another food that contains probiotic cultures and is made from fermented cabbage. The cabbage is cut and then put in brine to ferment for a while; this is when the probiotic bacteria is formed. Sauerkraut is similar to Kim Chi but it is not as strong and can be made from pickled cabbage.

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that when eaten has the consistency of a meat product. To make tempeh soybeans are allowed to ferment and a kind of beneficial mold is produced which holds the soy together.

Buttermilk is another food that has a lot of beneficial bacteria in it. This can be used to make smoothies by adding it to fresh fruit.

Kefir is a drink that is made of milk that has been fermented with grains of kefir. The milk, which can be from a cow, goat or sheep is mixed in with the kefir grain and fermented. This creates a sour drink that is usually mixed with something sweet like fruit.


A source of probiotic cultures that you may never have guessed is brewer’s yeast. This is the by product of making beer and has all the nutrients that is let off during the creation of beer.

Some soft cheeses can be a source of probiotic cultures as well but this isn’t as common as others. Therefore if you are trying cheese make sure you read the label and find out whether there are live bacteria in it.

The last source of bacteria that you may want to consider is pickles which makes sense because everything else on this list has been pickled or fermented. Therefore pickles should be the next logical choice but as always make sure you check before you buy anything.