What are probiotics, and just why are they so important to your health? Probiotics are often referred to as the good bacteria or gut bacteria, and most people equate this to eating yogurt and yogurt by-products. These good bacteria go by names like lactobacillus.
Probiotics supplement the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. It’s essential to take in an adequate amount of these good bacteria each day.
They help improve your digestive ability, bolster your immune system, and help with your overall mental health.
If you’re experiencing any sort of digestive discomfort, are experiencing mood swings, constant illnesses, or weight gain, you might be able to attribute these issues to a lack of probiotics in your diet. If you are a vegan, you will want to find vegan supplements that fits in with your healthy, and compassionate lifestyle.
Best Plant-Based Probiotics Video
Should I Use Supplements or Natural Food Sources?
You can get your probiotics either through supplements or with the food you eat. While on a plant-based diet you can choose either option, or both for added benefits.
Part one is all about the natural food sources that provide probiotics while on a plant-based diet. These are all simple, whole, vegan foods that are easy to find and most likely foods you already enjoy on a daily basis.
Part two goes over 6 different plant-based probiotic supplements that are recommended in case you need a little boost for your gut health.
Keep reading to learn more about the plant-based probiotics that are available to you.
Part One: Natural Food Sources of Plant-Based Probiotics
The first way you can get more probiotics into your body to balance your gut’ bacteria is through the food you eat. The problem is that many food-based probiotics are not vegan-friendly, as they contain some form of dairy (like yogurt and kefir).
Luckily, there are still some plant-based alternatives! Here are 7 different foods that you can eat on a regular basis in order to get probiotics from the food you eat.
Naturally, any fermented food you eat is going to have a certain amount of probiotics, since it is fermented with a certain type of bacteria that acts like a probiotic. In the case of sauerkraut, that is lactic acid.
Sauerkraut is often combined with meat dishes, like sausage, but that is definitely not the only way to enjoy it. This sour and salty dish can be a side to just about any main dish you are consuming. It tastes great with different types of rice and grain, and of course with lots of veggies on your plate.
Not only will you get probiotics from the sauerkraut, but it also contains other important nutrients you need on a plant-based diet. It is loaded with fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B. There are even some antioxidants in sauerkraut.
Both sauerkraut and kimchi are known as a cultured vegetable or a vegetable that comes from fermented veggies like cabbage. Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut in that it comes from cultured vegetables, but in this case, it is often napa cabbage, along with different types of seasonings. It tends to be a little spicier, using a lot of garlic, ginger, and scallions, among other seasonings.
With kimchi, you are still getting those important probiotics from the fermentation process, and the cabbage has a lot of essential nutrients for your vegan lifestyle.
- Coconut Kefir
While you can’t have regular kefir since it is made from cow’s milk, there is another version called coconut kefir. This is a fermentation process of coconut juice, which his the best dairy-free kefir option available to you.
It is not going to contain the number of probiotics as you get from regular milk kefir, but it still contains some, plus all the added vitamins and minerals coconut provides you. This includes magnesium and potassium, calcium, and fiber.
Another fermented vegetable that gives your gut a good amount of bacteria-balancing probiotics is tempeh. Tempeh is made from fermenting soybeans, which gives them more of an earthy, nutty flavor. This is very popular in international cuisine, especially with foods that come from Indonesia.
When soybeans are fermented into tempeh, they provide some amazing nutrients, in addition to the natural probiotics. You will get excellent absorption of zinc and iron, as well as other minerals.
Kombucha might be one of the fermented beverages that you recognize, as it has gotten popular in recent years. People are quickly discovering all the amazing health benefits of drinking kombucha on a regular basis, providing a lot of different bottled varieties in stores so that you don’t have to make your own.
What is it? Kombucha is a type of tea drink that has been fermented, usually either green tea or black tea. This fermentation process includes both yeast and bacteria, so you are getting many health benefits in addition to those plant-based probiotics you are looking for.
This is a very popular Japanese dish that is also made with fermented soybeans, similar to tempeh. However, the fermentation is done slightly different, and what you get is a different texture and flavor.
Tempeh is made into more of a fluffy cake texture, while natto comes out bitter and slimy. This might not seem appealing, but that is only before you add your veggies and grains, and your different toppings. Many people like to enjoy natto with soy sauce and mustard.
Natto provides the probiotic Bacillus subtilis after the soybeans have been fermented. You get these probiotics, in addition to nutrients like protein, manganese, iron, fiber, and vitamin C.
- Green Peas
There is still more research being done on this, but studies suggest green peas might also contain some natural probiotics when they go through the fermenting process.
The Journal of Applied Microbiology did a study where they found that green peas, after being fermented, contain the probiotic leuconostoc mesenteroides. This could be another option, especially since you might already have them in your favorite plant-based meals.
Part Two: Plant-Based Probiotic Supplements
Your next option as far as plant-based probiotics go is to use supplements. You can still eat some of the foods listed above, and imply add in a supplement each day to boost the good bacteria in your gut.
Probiotics are really important when you have leaky gut syndrome or other stomach issues, or when you have gone through a course of antibiotics
Here are 6 popular plant-based probiotic supplements to try out.
- Ora Organic Probiotic Capsules with Prebiotics
This is one of the most reliable sources you could find. Ora Organic makes amazing products. Plus, these probiotics come in a glass bottle that can be re-used. This supplement contains 16 billion cells in each capsule. It is also vegan and free of GMOs, (Genetically-Modified Organisms). Plus, it contains prebiotics from organic Jerusalem artichokes. What is their purpose? They help the probiotics absorb and work more efficiently.
The reviews for this product are amazing. One woman suffered from chronic anal fissures. After taking these probiotics daily, she started to notice some relief. She says that she hasn’t had issues since. Plus, they helped get rid of her constipation. Another user was ecstatic when these supplements eased her suffering from IBS, (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
- Mary Ruth’s Organic Liquid Probiotics
Oftentimes, taking a liquid supplement aids with absorption. These liquid probiotics contain live bacteria that can live up to two years at room temperature. Since these organisms aren’t exposed to intense temperatures, they are more effective. This is a small family-owned company. They manufacture their liquid in smaller batches, so you know they take great care during the creation of their product. The taste is minimal and earthy.
Additionally, this plant-based probiotic liquid is 100 percent organic. They are effective, gentle, and easy to take. The company mentions that they are safe enough to be given to your children as well.
Users tend to be impressed after taking this liquid. One customer even stated how much it helped alleviate her colon cancer symptoms. Another buyer says it’s one of the best purchases she has ever made. The reviews have added up to a cumulative rating of almost five stars.
- Think Thin Protein & Probiotics Plant Protein Powder
Now, if you want probiotics and protein in one package, this is it. This powder contains one billion live probiotics in each serving. Additionally, you will get 20 grams of plant-based protein in each shake. It also provides a dose of prebiotics.
As mentioned above, these will help your probiotics and other nutrients do their work more effectively. Mix this probiotic protein powder with your favorite plant milk. It has a delicious vanilla flavor. Their vanilla is naturally-sourced from Madagascar as well. This is a great choice for those who don’t enjoy taking capsules, pills, or tinctures.
It has a collective rating of four stars online. One user says it tastes great with almond milk. They add that it doesn’t have a gritty texture either. Other customers rave about how happy they were to find a probiotic protein powder that actually tastes good.
- Sunbiotics Organic Probiotic Chewables with Organic Yacon Root
These probiotic chewables are certified organic and free of any animal products. There are an astounding 18 billion probiotic cells per serving. This supplement contains four different strains as well. Additionally, it does not contain any GMOs or preservatives.
Plus, these probiotics are enhanced by the organic yacon root. This plant is a relatively new health discovery. It has the potential to help cholesterol and obesity issues as well.
The reviews are incredibly positive. Several people have tried this product and loved it. One user says it cleared her skin, helped her intestinal issues and reduced her joint pain. Another customer said she enjoyed their chocolate-like taste.
An additional reviewer stated how these probiotics helped relieve her sinus infections. These amazing reviews add up to an average rating of four stars.
- Bioganix BIOPRO Probiotic and Prebiotic Supplement for Women, Men & Children
This is the strongest probiotic on this list. It contains 50 billion live cultures. Plus, it has 11 separate strains in each dose! Additionally, each supplement contains prebiotics and packs an extra punch.
The capsule is tinier than most, so it isn’t too difficult to take each day. Each one is gluten-free too. If you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, this may be the choice for you. These are some of the most powerful vegan probiotics out there.
So, if you have major digestive issues, you may consider giving them a try.
- Yuve Vegan Probiotic Sugar-Free Gummies
Have you ever heard of vegan gummies? Well, here they are. Each dose contains five billion cells. So, they aren’t super strong. However, they still work well as a daily probiotic to keep nasty gut issues away.
They are vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO. The company states that they are safe for children as well. They’re sugar-free, so there are three grams of sugar alcohol added to each dose. Additionally, they need to be refrigerated. However, the flavor is great. Who doesn’t love strawberry and orange?
Getting your probiotics from food are your best option, but if these foods just do not appeal to you or in some cases, hard to find, there are also supplements that are available.
My personal preference is to use supplements as a last resort, but it is good to know that there are other options available in a pinch.
And just know that this list does not include all of the possible choices available to get your probiotic needs! Let us know what your favorite sources of probiotic plant-based goodness are!