It used to be that when people heard the word “bacteria”, they would immediately think of a pathogen, or an organism that causes disease and needs to be avoided or destroyed in order to preserve human health. But while it is true that there are many bacterial strains that can cause illness, there are many more that fight it.
Today, more and more information is coming to light about how the healthful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is not only good for improved digestion but for strengthened immunity as well. Probiotic supplements are a good way to help support these bacteria, but even better to is introduce bacteria-rich foods, like those below, into the daily diet.
Many people are not aware of this, but cottage cheese is a bacteria-rich food, being a fermented dairy product not dissimilar to yogurt or kefir. It is low in calories, high in protein, and also a good source of probiotic bacteria that will help to keep the digestive system functioning at its best. It can be eaten with vegetables such as cucumber or onions or fruits like berries or chunks of pineapple, but either way it is an excellent food to include in the diet. (1)
Greek yogurt, like cottage cheese, is a fermented dairy product which is also incredibly rich in probiotic bacteria to promote the health of the gut and strengthen the body’s immunity naturally. Greek yogurt in particular is good for those who are sensitive to dairy since it is lactose-free and it can be made into an even healthier dish if fresh fruit, honey or almonds are added to it. (2)
Whether it’s cucumbers, beets or okra just to name a few picked vegetables are another bacteria-rich food due to the fermentation that goes on in the pickling process itself. While flavors will vary, pickled vegetables in general will have a tangy, sweet-sour taste and can be eaten plain or put into appetizers, salads or other dishes. They are extra healthy because they not only provide healthful bacteria but fiber as well. (3)
This might sound like the odd man out on this list, but dark chocolate, too, is considered to be a probiotic food. This is because, when it is eaten along with other bacteria-rich foods, the nutrients in the dark chocolate are able to help to nourish and support the growth of the health flora in the gut which plays such a strong role in the body’s natural immunity. And let’s face it, dark chocolate is a really delicious way to stay healthy! (4)
Including foods like the ones listed above in the daily diet will help ensure that the body has the healthy bacteria it needs to keep the digestive tract in good working order and to keep the immune system strong so that it can fight off the pathogens that cause infection and disease.