All the nutrients that one gets from animal products can be replaced by products made out of plants.
When it comes to probiotics, there is a good news for vegans. Because yogurt and dairy products are not the only food sources of probiotics, actually there is a lot of vegan foods with probiotics and non dairy substitute that can replace them and have the same health benefits.
Lets have a look into some of the best vegan probiotics foods and supplements.
Vegan probiotics foods
If yogurt is not the only way to get probiotics into your body, what are the other alternatives to get vegan probiotics?
There are many substitute sources from which a vegan can get the necessary probiotics. Here is a list of the best vegan probiotic foods.
Saurekrat is actually fermented cabbage. This is one of the best yogurt substitute that can be easily homemade or bought from a store. These fermented cabbages can easily kill all the bad bacteria in your body with minimal consumption. Whats more is that this food item is very delicious as well and you can include it with different meals.
Who does not know the famous miso soup? This Japanese soup made from fermented soy paste is rich in probiotics. You can taste miso in soup but also in sauce or seasoning. Those who do not tolerate or are allergic to soy can benefit from the miso of rice, barley or chickpeas.
Kimchi is a spicy Korean dish made with fermented cabbage. The presence of onion, garlic and spicy sauce makes it a perfect combination to unclog the sinuses. Be careful, kimchi sometimes contains traces of fish.
What? Yogurts are animal products, that cannot be part of the list. However new recipes have been explored and non-dairy yogurts have been produced these days. Non dairy yogurts are fermented soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk. And this is very similar to yogurts made of cow milk. Highlight is non-dairy yogurt comes in different flavours.
Pickled vegetables are a healthy and tasty way of having a healthy intake of probiotics. Vegetables that are soaked in brine gets fermented and turns into food with probiotic properties. This can be easily made at home. If you would like to spice it up you can make a Kimchi, which is the spiced pickled vegetables made by the Koreans. Or you could use fruits as a replacement for vegetables.
Fermented Soy Products
By now you must have got a good idea that most fermented products are probiotic vegan sources. Soy products are one of the most favored product among vegans since it is a substitute for a lot of animal products. So all fermented soy products are close substitutes of probiotics got from animal products.
Even though the name sounds weird this is a probiotic-packed health drink with many health benefits. Some studies also claim that Kombucha has many medicinal properties. Kombucha is a tea made of sugar, yeast and probiotic bacteria called SCOBY( symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeasts ). However you need to be careful while shopping for Kombucha tea since all dealers may not be selling Kombucha made of healthy bacteria. This can also be made at home if you can get your hands on SCOBY.
Japanese Water Crystals
This probiotic substitute are known by different names such as Sugary Fungus, Tibicos, Water Kefir Grains etc. Even though they are known by different names they are all products that contain healthy bacteria and yeast that are good for health. Japanese water crystals can also be made at home.
Sourdough Breads are bread that is fermented naturally using lactobacilli and yeast. Hence this will become a vegan source for probiotic which is very obvious. Thie best part about this is you can make this at home or it is very easily available at your nearest grocery store.
Most of the products listed here are fermented products which are the best substitutes so is tempeh. But what makes tempeh different from other fermented products is that it contains a very mild sourness compared to other fermented products. Most people take a dislike for fermented food because of its tangy flavour. Tempeh is a fermented soy product mixed with some other nutritional grains which leads to a non-tangy vegan source of probiotic.
You will probably be surprised to learn that olives fermented and sold in jars have a high potential in probiotics. The liquid in which the olives soak is based on salt water that promotes the development of good bacteria.
Who knew an ordinary day to day vegetable has probiotic content? This is a recent addition to the probiotic sources. A Japanese Research in 2013 resulted in confirming the green peas contains euconostoc mesenteroides’ which is a form of probiotic bacterias. You can include green peas in your daily diet in various ways. The best way to retain the nutrients is by boiling them. You can add them to soups or in your veg patty or salads once it is boiled.
vegan probiotic supplements
If you can’t include the foods listed above in your diet, well there are vegan probiotic supplements available at the market these days. a vegan can use those supplements as an alternative too but you need to know what to look for before you buy them.
Here is a list of what you should look for when you buy a probiotic supplement:
1. The desired effect: That is to say that each bacterium has an effect of its own, we first determine why we want to take a specific supplement: is it for a general prevention (maintenance of a digestive health), a targeted prevention (to prevent the diarrhea related to the taking of antibiotics or to the tourist, etc.) or a treatment in particular (irritable bowel syndrome , vaginal infection, etc.)?
2. The number of bacteria: For maximum effect, you should choose products that contain between 5 and 10 billion bacteria (some people do not tolerate products exceeding 20 billion bacteria and they may suffer from bloating). Most importantly, you have to check on the label for the number of probiotics that remain active at the expiry date (not the date of manufacture).
3. Inscription of the species: A quality product indicates the complete Latin name (family and genus) as well as the identification code of its strains (Which is composed of numbers and letters). For example: Lactobacillus acidophilus dds-1.
4. Multi-layer: Since each strain has a specific action, try and choose a product that contains several strains. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are The two main families of bacteria found in supplements.
5. Trial-error method: If the product does not provide the desired effect after one month of use … change it! As we all have a different intestinal flora, it is by trying several products from various manufacturers that you will finally find the one that suits you.
6. Food intolerances: Lactose-intolerant people may use supplements containing probiotics from human, plant or animal origin rather than milk, as well as rice or soy products rather than milk.
7. Studies: Products are researched on the benefits of which the manufacturer’s claims are supported by scientific and clinical evidence. Health professionals (naturopath, nutritionist, pharmacist) remain the best advisors to find the best product for the desired effect.
Health benefits of probiotics
The regular and adequate consumption of probiotics can improve different aspects of our health such as:
- Our immunity.
- Studies also suggest that probiotics help soothe anxiety issues, depression, and many other mental problems.
- It is also good to increase your metabolism and improve digestion.
- Improve gut health.
- Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD).
- Infectious diarrhea.
- improve lactose metabolism and reduce Lactose Intolerance.
- decreasing eczema severity.
- Reduce Cholesterol levels.
Probiotics even though are healthy and essential for a fit body it may cause some side effects.
The good bacteria is already present in our body, we take an additional intake for a healthy supply. At times this may not suit certain individuals and they must immediately consult a nutritionist and discuss their problems and substitutes if any.
So if you are a vegan who is worried about insufficient probiotic intake you must have got a thorough knowledge of your sources and what to do.
It is recommended to make most recipes at home since it is a healthier option and you know the ingredients you will be adding to your food.
If you are someone who likes the idea of turning vegan yet are a fitness freak worrying about losing all nutrients on a vegan diet, you must have realized that there is always a close, healthy and tasty substitute for every nutrient.
Also, remember to consult a vegan practitioner or a nutritionist for a diet plan before turning vegan.
Since vegan diets can be overwhelming for a newbie and one needs to start out with and follow a well planned vegan diet. If you don’t then you may fall seriously sick and end up having the idea that vegan diet is not your cup of tea.
A vegan diet is a healthy way of living that anyone can choose with a perfectly planned diet.