5 Ways to Consume More Probiotics

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5 Ways to Consume More Probiotics without taking a supplement
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The human body has more bacterial cells that human cells and a large part of these live in the digestive system. New research is constantly showing the relationship of gut bacteria to many aspects of health. Unfortunately, the modern diet is largely deficient in foods that nourish this gut bacteria in a healthy way since many foods are pasteurized, irradiated or created in a sterile lab.

The balance of bacteria in the gut is important for immune health, hormone balance and many other aspects of wellness. Many of the foods that are most often consumed these days are high in sugar, processed grains, vegetable oils and foods that often let the “bad” bacteria grow more than they should.

Adding probiotic-rich foods and drinks to the diet is an easy way to give gut bacteria a boost and to keep the digestive system in proper balance. Here are five easy ways to consume more probiotics:

1. Make Some Kraut

Traditional homemade sauerkraut recipe-packed with probioticsThink you don’t like sauerkraut? You probably have just never had a traditionally made sauerkraut. Unlike canned and store-bought options, traditional sauerkraut is crispy, salty and delicious.

You can make it on your kitchen counter for the cost of some cabbage and it is a great way to add vegetables and probiotics to your diet. Almost any vegetable can be fermented and books like Wild Fermentation and Nourishing Traditions have a lot of great recipes.

Click here to see my recipe for delicious homemade sauerkraut.

2. Or Some Kvass…

How to Make Beet Kvass and whyLike sauerkraut, Kvass is a naturally fermented and probiotic-rich drink with other health-boosting properties. Nourishing Traditions explains that it is:

“valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are loaded with nutrients. One glass morning and night is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”

We drink Kvass and use it in salad dressings. I sometimes mix Kvass with slightly cooled broth for a warm drink.

Here is the recipe for Beet Kvass.

3. Water Kefir “Soda”

How to make healthy probiotic water kefir natural sodaThe kids’ favorite way to consume probiotics is in the form of Water Kefir “Soda.” Water Kefir is made by using a natural colony of beneficial yeast and bacteria to ferment a sugar water solution.

The bacteria consumes the sugar in the water and in the process creates probiotics and enzymes. If a secondary fermentation is done, the result is a naturally fizzy fermented probiotic drink that is reminiscent of a fruit soda. There are endless ways to customize water kefir soda flavors.

Water Kefir is dairy free and easy to make on the kitchen counter. Click here for my full tutorial.

4. Kombucha

how to make kombucha easy recipeKombucha has gained a lot of popularity lately and many stores now carry pre-bottled kombucha drinks. Kombucha contains a host of enzymes and probiotics and has a naturally tangy and fizzy taste. While I love store-bought versions, I’m not a fan of the $5/bottle price tag.

Kombucha is very simple to make at home and once you purchase a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) the cost per gallon is less than $2. This is another thing that is often sitting on our counter. I actually brew two different ways:

We always do a secondary ferment with some organic juice to get the natural carbonation and this homemade kombucha is definitely my favorite way to get probiotics. Click on the links above to see the recipes. I recommend finding someone local who can share a SCOBY if possible, or buying from Kombucha Kamp if you can’t find one near you.

5. Homemade Ginger Ale

How to make natural ginger ale- a healthy and delicious treat full of probiotics and enzymesAnother favorite at our house is homemade ginger ale. This recipe uses a ginger “bug” made from fresh ginger, natural sugars and wild bacteria to create a beneficial colony of bacteria that is then used to ferment a strong ginger tea.

Unlike conventional soda which often contains high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients, this natural recipe combines the digestive benefits of fresh ginger with beneficial bacteria for a fizzy and refreshing “soda.”

If you haven’t already tried these fermented foods and drinks, I’d really encourage you to give them a try! Not only are they delicious, but full of health-boosting properties.

The suggestion to add probiotic rich fermented foods to my diet was one of the best pieces of health advice I’ve ever gotten. I HIGHLY recommend it!

What is the best food advice you’ve ever received? Ever fermented anything? Share below!

Fermented foods and drinks contain probiotics that boost gut bacteria. Probiotic rich recipes for sauerkraut, water kefir, kvass, kombucha and ginger ale.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


60 responses to “5 Ways to Consume More Probiotics”

  1. Kelley Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    We used to buy really high quality probiotics but since we have started seeing a chiro he suggested no probiotics in pill forms. So this is a great way to get the beneficial probiotics. Could you please, please, please tell me which recipes are your kids favorite? I know you mentioned the soda was one but any of the other 4? Thank you

  2. ravinder singh oberai Avatar
    ravinder singh oberai

    i consume 1 glass fresh beetroot and carrot juice after meals with 1-1 1/2 hors gap . Is this advisable ., Is there a chance that the meals taken previously will delay its absorption and instead of benefiting the body it forms sludge and harms the body.

  3. ravinder singh oberai Avatar
    ravinder singh oberai

    Are probiotics useful for treatment of asthma, diabetes and cancer. If so suggest treatments reqd. I am using probiotics – kefir every night at dinner , saurkraut in the day or fermented vegetables, also kvass and ginger ale for relief from hyperacidity and ostoarthritis and cervicle spondalysis. How much should i consume and when it is best to do so. Please advise . I am also a vegetarian and consume only egg, but not frquently. I also consume one glass of fresh home made vegetable juice in the morning , beetroot and carrot huice with gooseberry in the afternoon and grapefruit juice every evening.

  4. Jannett Avatar

    I would like to start taking a probiotic supplement, any good brands you recommend? I know it’s best to get it from foods but would really like a supplement.


  5. Cassie Avatar

    My sister received a yogurt starter that she has been constantly feeding. She uses whole milk (yes it is pasteurized) to feed it. She uses it to about a quarter left in a mason jar, fills it with milk, and then puts a coffee filter on it and lets it sit for about 6 to 8 hours. I was wondering if, even though it’s pasteurized, will I still get probiotics from it.

  6. LORRAINE Avatar

    HI again, I had better not use capital letters, for fear of being taken to task. Besides the fact it is really easier for us who over 70!
    Now I know why I asked on the page, is because I am making Kombucha for him and he is drinking it little bits at at time, as well as milk kefir, which he loves. lol at the ol’ lady its ok
    love L

  7. LORRAINE Avatar

    Hi, 6 months before my beloved hubby dies he was bed ridden, and I nursed him from my wheel chair. Unfortunately I knew nothing about all these amazing natural products, which I am totally crazy about.
    My brother in-law (83) has just been diagnosed with liver and stomach cancer, and in 6 weeks has lost 13 kgs. I would like to make up a lotion bar that my sister can use on him to PREVENT bedsores. I cannot find menthol crystals anywhere here in South Africa, so was thinking of using coconut oil, beeswax, camphor or eucalyptus. shea butter/cocoa butter one has to be a millionaire to buy the stuff here!!
    Any suggestions please, urgently needed.
    Probably the wrong place to ask!
    Thanks so much in advance for all the help

  8. Polly Avatar

    Hi! I’m currently researching re-mineralizing teeth and noticed you had a few articles on that subject. Do you know how fermented foods affect teeth as they heal? Thank you.

  9. Amanda Avatar

    I know this post was primarily about foods that naturally contain probiotics, but I was curious about taking a probiotic suppliment while pregnant. I know you recommend BioKult and I was looking into that, but I am 30weeks pregnant and haven’t found much information about how to start without some of the nasty side effects I’ve read about some people having if they start them too fast. Also, I know that baby inherits my gut bacteria, but at 30wks is it too late for him to really reap the benefits?

  10. Shannon Avatar

    I am curious as to why everyone is recommending water kefir instead of milk kefir. I have been drinking milk kefir for years and just lately it seems like everyone is switching to water kefir. What is the reasoning besides trying to avoid milk products if you are sensitive?

  11. kim Avatar

    I have a 3 year old with cerebral palsy and other special needs, and I’m always trying to get more probiotics into him because he spent the first nine weeks of his life in the nicu and was given several courses of antibiotics and because my milk production was low he was given commercial formulas in addition to breastmilk. I’m so thankful for the nurses, surgeons, and doctors that saved his life, as he wouldn’t be here today without their intervention. Anyway, he has very strong preferences and routines, and getting him to drink kefir water or kombucha is very hard. Occasionally I can get my homemade villi yogurt into him, but it’s rare. I’ve tried doing the natren probiotics recommended by Sally Fallon, but it’s a battle to get him to take them and he has a hyper gag reflex and will often vomit while trying to do this. I’m going to try the gelatin gummies again, and see if that works. He wouldn’t go near them in the past. And it’s not that he’s a sugar addict, he actually doesn’t love sweets outside of berries and (unfortunately) commercially available fruit snacks. He just has strong preferences (certain brands or flavors of things) and a super strong will. So I guess I’m looking for some additional suggestions to get probiotics into this guy. Anyone try other things besides the above? I am half korean, so kimchi was always a staple in my home and still is along with other fermented vegetables korean style, but he won’t eat anything spicy. He throws up at the slightest hint of spice. Just thought I should throw that out there. Thanks!

  12. Susan Avatar

    Thank you so much for this…am getting ready to teach a class on fermentation and you make it so clear.

      1. Cindy Avatar

        If you haven’t been eating fermented foods, you may want to start with only a tablespoon and work your way up. Coming off a conventional diet, I made homemade sauerkraut and loved the taste. I got really bad stomach aches from it. I had to back off and build up to a larger amount more slowly. Just wouldn’t want someone to think they can’t eat fermented foods because they start with too much, like myself. 🙂

    1. Pandorra Avatar

      Kraut is great on salads, sandwiches, pork chops, whatever. I also use the tangy kraut juice to add to salad dressings. Avocados kinda dissolve in the juice and kraut juice and avocado makes a great dressing.

  13. Heather Avatar

    Hi! Really enjoying your information. It’s been so helpful. My delima is I have a mold food allergy. I was eating/drinking homade kefir and homade kambacho tea. Long story short, bloating and terrible body pain. Is kefir something I could still do? I would like to incorporate edible forms of probiotics Any help would be appreciated!

  14. Allison Avatar

    I recently tried making beet kvass and it turned out wonderfully. I love beets in their natural state, but it took a while to get used to the taste of the kvass. After a while, I really started to enjoy it! That homemade ginger ale looks great! I’ve never seen anything like that.

  15. Ann Marie Avatar
    Ann Marie

    I am so glad you wrote this post as I need encouragement to try some fermented foods. I need this stuff; candida, leaky gut, CFS/Fibro, Adrenal Fatigue and more. However, I am sooo chicken because I HATE pickles. No, I am pickle phobic! And, I relate all this fermented stuff to pickles. And I am a little bit germphobic/paranoid when it comes to the fermenting concept. I sure don’t want to poison myself! I read about probiotic foods over and over and never try any but I feel a leap of faith coming soon.

    What would be the best recipe to start with?


    1. Gail Avatar

      You can make the ferments milder. I like to add grated carrot and green onion in with the cabbage. Also, if you make kefir, you can puree it with berries to make a fruit smoothy.

  16. purelytwins Avatar

    just made up a big batch of fermented veggies and kraut today 🙂

  17. Sharan Avatar


    I am very interested in getting some probiotics into my system to improve my digestive health. I was particularly interested in the ginger ale. But I am alarmed by the amount of sugar that goes into making the ginger bug. Wouldn’t it be healthier to eat a probiotic yoghurt or take a probiotic pill?

    Thanks in advance for your response.

    1. Lydia Avatar

      Actually, the sugar gets mostly eaten by the bug! I’ve had my ginger bug for a three or four months now, and in that time I’ve given it quite a bit of sugar to “feed” it and keep it alive. If the sugar weren’t being eaten, the liquid would be intensely, sickeningly, sweet. However, I tasted it a couple of days ago and it’s sweet, but only mildly so.

      Yogurt is good, but I think only offers a certain set of micro-organisms. It think part of the point of trying out a number of different fermented foods is that you offer your gut a wide variety of probiotic beasties.

      I can’t really comment on supplementing with probiotics except to say that I’ve read that by the time they get shipped around and sit on store shelves, they’re often no longer viable, but that may not always be the case.

  18. Regina Osborn Avatar
    Regina Osborn

    Have been drinking my first Kefir. I put in some pomegranate cherry juice. Yum! About 2 more weeks left on my first fermentation of Kombucha. Haven’t decided yet how I’m going to flavor that yet. Next I’ll try the Ginger Ale.

  19. Robin Lester Avatar
    Robin Lester

    The best advise I ever got: With
    numerous medical conditions I was spending a lot of time in various
    Dr.’s offices and taking medications by the handful. Just trying to deal
    with the side effects because I needed the medications. My primary
    suggested one more Dr. a naturalistic one. I started seeing the
    natural-path about eight months ago. From the time (she has my blood
    tested regularly) to the present. I am off of most of my medications. The one’s I am still on have been drastically reduced.
    Most of my medications are down to natural supplements. Even those
    capsules, I am reducing by trying to make my all my own food and drink. I
    have more time now, as I am not spending much time in doctor’s offices. I
    am a work in progress. But, I am working and feeling better. So the
    best advise I ever got, isn’t anything mysterious. It was something my 96
    year old grandmother did ( back then, that was her only choice). Stay
    with the natural and unprocessed.

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