3 Tasty Ways To Heal With Probiotics

This post comes from our contributor Kristen Hedges.

You are a super-organism. Right now, you have between 100-300 trillion cells of beneficial bacteria & yeast in your body. They digest your food, assimilate your nutrients, and comprise 70% of your immune system. Without them, you would die.

Unfortunately, not many folks know about their resident “good bugs.” So the vast majority of us aren’t taking proper care of them. With a healthy diet & lifestyle, you can maintain a fairly happy colony of bacteria in your belly. But when you’re surrounded by antibiotics, antibacterials, stress & food that doesn’t nourish, you might find that you’re getting sick more often, your digestion isn’t what it should be, & you’re simply not feeling your best. The bad bacteria in your system might even begin to outnumber the good guys, leading to serious illnesses & chronic belly upset.

Luckily, there are several ways to keep your good bugs happy and thriving. While taking a probiotic supplement is a step in the right direction, I’ve found that getting your probiotics from fermented food will help you to digest & absorb more of the beneficial bacteria. I’ve listed my top three favorites below!



What it is: A fizzy, fermented tea.

Why it’s good: Kombucha is a tasty way to get your daily dose of probiotics, and it very rarely comes with any additives or sweeteners. Quite often, the only ingredients on the label are kombucha, and a bit of fruit.

What it tastes like: Organic, plain kombucha is a slightly sweet, fizzy drink, with a faint hint of the tea used in the brewing process. Usually, kombucha is flavored with different fruits & herbs. My favorite combination is lavender + elderberry.

How it’s made: A scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts), also called the mother, is placed in a large jar of sweetened tea, and left out to ferment for a few weeks. The culture, which looks like a giant mushroom, feeds on the sugar & the caffeine in the tea, and produces a drink that’s loaded with good bugs.

Where you can find it: You can find kombucha at most supermarkets, but it’s much cheaper (and fun!) to make it yourself. However, your kitchen will look like a science lab.



What it is: A cultured beverage made from either milk (cow, or a milk alternative, like coconut or almond) or sugar water.

Why it’s good: Dairy is the idea delivery system for probiotics. The milk in the kefir will coat the lining of your stomach, keeping the cultures safe, and allowing them to travel down to your small intestine, where they do their job.

What it tastes like: Milk kefir is a bit like a tangy & sweet, thin yogurt drink. Water kefir is very similar to carbonated sodas & other fizzy drinks. A perfect alternative for kiddos! You can flavor both with fresh and dried fruit, herbs and sweets to make them taste just right.

How it’s made: Little, jelly-like clusters of beneficial bacteria and yeast are dropped into a glass of fresh milk. Overnight, the grains turn the milk into a thickened, probiotic rich drink. In the morning, you can strain out the grains & stick them in a new glass of milk, giving yourself a continuous supply of kefir. Water kefir is make in the same way, but with slightly different grains, and a glass of water mixed with organic sugar.

Where you can find it: The supermarket (look for kinds without added sugar) or make it yourself by purchasing some kefir grains!



What it is: A fermented milk product, found today in a hundred different flavors and forms.

Why it’s good: Yogurt is super easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Plus, you can make & buy dairy free options.

What it tastes like: If you snag the plain, unflavored kind (as you should), yogurt is rather sour, tasteless stuff. But you can make it sweeter by adding a drop of honey, some fresh fruit, or even by adding it to smoothies as a base.

How it’s made: When milk is heated & remains at 100F for a few hours, naturally occurring bacteria will ferment and coagulate to thicken the milk into yogurt. Manufactured yogurt usually has bacteria added to it, while homemade yogurt does not.

Where you can find it: If you get yogurt at the supermarket, make sure that it’s unsweetened & unflavored. You don’t need those yucky additives! Also, look for a kind with 4 or more live cultures in the ingredients. Yogurt is also easily made at home.

You can find Kristen here, and at facebook.com/withonlylove.

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10 years ago

Try raw sauerkraut!
When vegetables have been fermented, they become even more nutritious. The healthy enzymes which are present in the vegetables flourish when fermented, and create an environment that is full of probiotics, enzymes and minerals which are important for a healthy body.
Raw, cultured vegetables are really potent in terms of helping your body to operate efficiently. When your body is working the way it should, then you will not only feel great, but you will look beautiful too. Eating fermented vegetables will also help with weight loss and lead to more energy, as well as balance out the pH levels of your body. When everything is working as it should, you will find your immunity is boosted from having a healthy gut and you will start to really feel cleaner.

Read more about it on my blog! You will aslo find a simple recipe ;) OurPrimalPlate.com

10 years ago

My mom and I have been swearing by kefir and kombucha for years! They are great sources of probiotics, and my tummy always feels good after kombucha. Plus, kombucha can relieve swelling (at least for me), and makes me feel better during my period. Thank you for writing this!


10 years ago

I really love the idea of Kombucha, but last year I had an unfortunate incident of seeing how it’s actually made. The scoby had grown to a mutantly large size and was very slimy and had all of these weird brown things dangling off of it. Plus, it smelled incredibly offensive even when I was yards away from it.
I don’t think the damage can be undone.

10 years ago

Haha! September, Kombucha scobys are your friend (; After brewing at home, you really grow to love them. I had a fruit gnat get into one of my batches, & it totally ruined the my precious scoby. I actually cried.

10 years ago

Kristin, your description of kefir has me wanting to try it. The name has never been all that appealing to me and no one has ever described it as tasting good. So thanks!

10 years ago

I totally agree about probiotics! They’ve healed my gut and also helped my skin to look tons better. I love lactose free kefir (Kevita has some great fizzy coconut water kefir sweetened w/ stevia) and yogurt…so delicious!

10 years ago

I love banana a lot..But I don’t know these many helpful things with this…thanks for sharing such a nice info…

10 years ago

Please do yourself a favor and try Noosa yogurt! All the flavors are fantastic but the honey is my favorite.

8 years ago

Hi! For some ideas on which probiotics brands to use (versus getting them from just food), check out my blog at http://www.ProbioticsGuide.com. I’ve ranked and reviewed literally dozens of different probiotic supplements :)

8 years ago

I love the probiotics, I’ve read a lot about them and I’ve tried to include in my diet probiotic based foods. Lately I’ve been looking for supplement and the Perfect Biotics from Probiotic America seems to be the right choice: http://www.diets-usa.com/perfect-biotics-probiotic-america-reviews/ . What do you think?

8 years ago

Is one of the best articles for probiotics i have read. You’ve probably heard the virtues of probiotics extolled in health magazines and on cartons of Greek yogurt.

7 years ago

All three are great sources of food based probiotics. Check out other sources on my guide at http://www.peakprobiotics.com. Keep up the good work.