10 Probiotic-Rich Vegan Foods

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Just because you decided to live a vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a healthy gut. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that benefit the body in various ways. Unfortunately, they are most often found in dairy products like yogurt. Following are ten of the best non-dairy and 100 percent vegan foods that are loaded with healthy probiotics.

10. Tempeh

Serving Size: 100g
Calories: 195
Carbohydrates: 8g
Protein: 19g
Fiber: 4.8g
Fat: 11.8g

This popular meat substitute originated in Indonesia and has grown steadily in popularity since the 12th century. It’s made with soybeans that are fermented in banana leaves and shaped into bricks. It can be used in nearly any dish where tofu would be used, but its flavor is very different. Tempeh has a slightly nutty flavor and is often used to replace bacon in vegan diets.

Additional ingredients can be added to the tempeh to alter its texture and flavor. Common additives include quinoa, flax seed, and brown rice. By itself, tempeh already contains more protein and dietary fiber than tofu. The addition of vegan additives only increases nutritional value and its flavor profile.

The fermentation process used to produce the tempeh also makes this a great source of probiotics. Studies have shown that soy-based tempeh is superior to bean-based tempeh when it comes to stimulating bifidobacterium. Albeit, no one will hold it against you if you prefer bean-based tempeh.

9. Olives

Serving Size: 100g
Calories: 115
Carbohydrates: 6.3g
Protein: 0.8g
Fiber: 3.2g
Fat: 10.7g

Olives are readily available at every grocery store and most of us likely already have some in our refrigerator. Even so, it’s easy to forget that olives are actually fermented fruits that are rich in probiotics. Olives are considered to be very nutrient-dense and make a great addition to any healthy vegan meal.

The fat that they contain is mostly monounsaturated fat, which is good for the brain and heart. They also contain a lot of antioxidants. In particular, olives contain plenty of biophenols. One of the many jobs of biophenols is to prevent cholesterol accumulation along in the artery walls. This adds to the heart-healthy nature of olives.

In terms of probiotics, olives contain plenty of lactobacilli. This type of bacteria is very good for the gut and is usually derived from dairy products. Olives are one of the few vegan options for enjoying the benefits of Lactobacillus.

8. Probiotic Fortified Soy Milk

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 131
Carbohydrates: 15.3g
Protein: 7.9g
Fiber: 1.5g
Fat: 4.3g

Standard soy milk contains small amounts of probiotics that are added during processing. If you drink plenty of soy milk throughout the day, then you’re already enjoying a healthy dose of probiotics. However, if you want to get the most from your milk, you should shop around for reinforced soy milk that contains additional probiotics. It might be a little more expensive, but it’s worth it in the long run. Fortified soy milk tends to contain additional vitamins, nutrients, and minerals as well.

7. Miso

Serving Size: 1 ounce (28g)
Calories: 55.7
Carbohydrates: 7.4g
Protein: 3.3g
Fiber: 1.5g
Fat: 1.7g

Fermented soybeans are once again a great source of probiotics, but this time it comes in the form of miso paste. The paste itself is not eaten raw but rather added to broth to create a delicious miso soup. It’s also very commonly used in authentic ramen recipes. If you’ve ever had ramen or soup at a Japanese restaurant, then it’s very possible that it was flavored with miso paste.

There are some variations to the standard miso recipe. For example, some miso paste is made from barley or grains. These alternatives can be a nice way to mix up the flavors if you use the paste often, but they aren’t quite as rich in probiotics as soy-based miso. Of course, soy-based miso is also gluten-free while grain-based miso is not.

Most professionals use roughly one tablespoon of miso paste for a small bowl of soup. You can add more or less if you are making your soup at home. The small quantities used are still packed with tons of nutrients and gut-healthy bacteria. Every vegan kitchen should have some miso handy.

6. Sauerkraut

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 27
Carbohydrates: 6.6g
Protein: 1.3g
Fiber: 4.1g
Fat: 0.2g

Sauerkraut is an Eastern European dish with a strong flavor. It’s one of those dishes that people either love or they hate, but there is no in-between. It’s primarily fermented cabbage, but there can be some additional ingredients added to the mix, such as carrots, beets, and ginger. It makes the perfect topping for vegan hot dogs.

All of the ingredients used in sauerkraut are healthy and the fermentation process adds the necessary probiotics to make this a superfood. Some sauerkraut recipes are estimated to have more than 10 trillion bacteria in a single 6-ounce serving. That’s more bacteria than you’ll find in a large bottle of probiotic supplements.

5. Kimchi

Serving Size: 100g
Calories: 33.9
Carbohydrates: 7.0g
Protein: 1.1g
Fiber: 0.8g
Fat: 0.4g

This fermented cabbage dish is somewhat similar to sauerkraut, but it originated in Korea and contains more spices and flavors. Most kimchi contains cabbage as well as garlic, onions, and spicy peppers. It’s a great source of probiotics for vegans who love that extra “kick” in their food. Of course, you have the option of leaving out the peppers if you like, but at that point, you might as well stick with sauerkraut.

You can find kimchi available at many stores, though the price can sometimes be alarming. Luckily, it doesn’t take much work to make it yourself at home. It’s especially simple if you already have experience with fermented cabbage dishes like sauerkraut. It’s possible to make the entire dish inside of a single mason jar.

4. Pickles

Serving Size: ¼ pickle (1 spear)
Calories: 2
Carbohydrates: 0g
Protein: 0g
Fiber: 0g
Fat: 0g

First, it’s important to understand that there is a difference between pickles made with vinegar and those that contain probiotics. Standard pickles that are stored in vinegar do not contain any live bacteria and are thus not a source of probiotics. Instead, the cucumbers need to be brined in salt water and then allowed to ferment in their own acids.

Making your own fermented pickles at home is actually very simple. The biggest invest required is your time. It will usually take up to four weeks for the fermentation process to complete. You will need to check the process of the pickles daily to ensure it is going smoothly. On occasion, you may need to remove the lid to allow gas to escape.

Fermented pickles are healthy and delicious. If you’ve spent your entire life eating pickles covered in vinegar, then you owe it to yourself to find a fermented pickle recipe and give it a try. They don’t contain a lot of additional nutrients, but there are some vitamins and other minerals. It’s the probiotics that make them worth the investment.

3. Kombucha

Serving Size: 100g
Calories: 13.3
Carbohydrates: 3.1g
Protein: 0.0g
Fiber: 0.0g
Fat: 0.0g

Kombucha isn’t exactly a food, but rather a drink. Nonetheless, it’s packed full of vitamins, nutrients, and probiotics. It has been consumed in some parts of the world for thousands of years and has recently become very popular in the united states. It’s a fermented drink made with a combination of sugar, tea, starter, and SCOBY.

SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It’s the SCOBY that is responsible for making the transformation from sweet and mild tea to the tangy kombucha that we all know and love. But if you’re one of the many people who has never tried kombucha, then it should be at the top of your to-do list. It’s one of the few vegan drinks that is loaded with probiotics and there’s nothing quite like it.

2. Water Kefir

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 16
Carbohydrates: 2.3g
Protein: 1.6g
Fiber: 1.1g
Fat: 0.3g

Traditional kefir is made from fermented cow’s, but water kefir is made by fermenting sugar water, juice, or even coconut milk. Not only is this a vegan alternative to traditional kefir, but it comes in a wider range of flavors. It’s also one of the very few vegan drinks that improve gut health with probiotics.

1. Soygurt

Serving Size: 100g
Calories: 66
Carbohydrates: 9.7g
Protein: 2.6g
Fiber: 0.4g
Fat: 1.8g

Soygurt, which is a term used to refer to soy yogurt, is a vegan alternative to everyone’s favorite dairy snack. Luckily, the powerful probiotic properties associated with yogurt can still be enjoyed even if the dairy is removed from the equation. The lactobacillus and other yogurt bacteria are simply added to the soy milk in addition to mild sweeteners. The end result is a delicious yogurt that is completely vegan and still packed full of probiotics.

One of the great things about soygurt is that you can make it yourself at home with a few simple ingredients. Making your own soygurt is a great way to control what goes into your food while ensuring it has all of the flavors that you love the most. On average, soygurt contains less fat than traditional yogurt made from whole milk.

Try Them All

Probiotic options are somewhat limited when living a vegan lifestyle. You should make an effort to try all of the probiotic-rich foods and drinks listed above. Keep your favorites around the house so that you can keep your gut healthy and happy.