The Ultimate Guide to Natural Probiotics: What They Are, Their Benefits, and Where to Get Them

By Karyl Trejo | 28 April 2020 1924 views
natural probiotics

What Are Natural Probiotics?

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You know what? Trying to stay healthy can absolutely be challenging. 

Even worse, there’s so much conflicting information out there… which makes it harder than ever to make healthy decisions. How can you take care of yourself when you don’t even know where to begin?

The fact is, there’s no one, singular thing you can do to maintain your health. After all, staying healthy is the result of multiple good decisions.

For instance, you probably already know that you need to eat right and exercise. You also need to make sure you get enough sleep each night, too. And are you getting enough water, as well?

It can get so overwhelming, right? 

Look, it’s totally normal to be confused about how to stay healthy. But when it comes to making sure you’re treating yourself right… there is one thing that stands out above the others.

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It’s true. When it comes to staying healthy, you’d be surprised what arguably plays the biggest role in your overall well-being.

Spoiler alert: it’s your gut health.

Your gut health pretty much controls almost every other aspect of your general health. Studies have shown that it’s linked to both your physical and mental health.

Fortunately, maintaining a healthy gut is easier than you think. All you need to keep it running in top condition is a regular dose of probiotics.

What are probiotics? Well, to put it bluntly… they’re bacteria.

Now, with that said, it’s important to remember that not all bacteria are bad.

In fact, some are downright wonderful. The ones living inside your stomach, for instance?

Those are probably some of the most important bacteria you’ll ever encounter.

Your stomach is teeming with literally trillions of bacteria. These bacteria can shape everything about your health. That’s why it’s so important to keep your stores replenished.

Many things can negatively affect your gut health, though.

Stress can affect it. Medications that you take can harm it. Even your diet can alter it. 

But while your gut flora (also known as your “gut microbiome”) can be damaged… it can also just as easily be replenished. That’s where probiotics step in.

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Probiotics are the naturally occurring bacteria that can be found in many of the foods you eat. When you consume them, you’re adding to the inventory of beneficial bacteria already found in your digestive system.

These natural probiotics are, without a doubt, one of the most important things that you can eat.

A diet rich in probiotics can help keep your gut happy and healthy. That’s why it’s so important to enjoy them on a regular basis.

Fortunately, getting plenty of natural probiotics in your diet is easier than you might think!

The Most Common Types Of Natural Probiotics

When it comes to choosing the right type of probiotic for your needs, you have plenty of strains to choose from.

However, just because there are several different types of probiotics out there… it doesn’t mean they’d all be the best fit for you.

With that in mind, though, there are a couple that stand out in popularity.

This natural (and extremely common!) strain is the humble Lactobacillus. And, right on its tail is the Bifidobacterium.

What makes these two natural probiotics strains so remarkable, though? Well, it’s not just the fact that they’re rather common.

It’s the fact that they’re so darn good for you, too.

Take a look at Lactobacillus. Most commonly appearing as L. acidophilus, this strain of probiotic is found in a wide assortment of dairy products. In fact, its name gives a hint as to where it can be found.

This probiotic gives off lactic acid, which gives fermented dairy products their trademark tang.

Making dairy foods taste yummy is only one facet of what L. acidophilus does, though. This probiotic strain is also known for having numerous health benefits.

(Don’t worry…you’ll be learning about all of these health benefits soon!)

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Then there’s the Bifidobacterium. More commonly appearing as B. breve, this strain of probiotic is a fantastic alternative for those of you who avoid dairy foods.

It can be found in an assortment of fermented, non-dairy foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut. This highly beneficial microbe is a great option for those of you with a dairy sensitivity.

While there are many other incredible probiotic strains out there, these two really stand out as being the most common types.

In fact, if you consume fermented foods (such as yogurt or even kombucha!) you’ve probably had these two types of strains. Pretty cool, huh?

Fortunately, even if you don’t know if you’ve had them before, don’t worry. Incorporating more of these natural probiotic foods into your diet is easier than you might think.

Dairy Products That Contain Probiotics

Did you know that some of your favorite foods also happen to be exceptionally rich in natural probiotics? It’s admittedly pretty awesome, to be fair.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland, boring, or tasteless. Many natural sources of probiotics are absolutely delicious.

Take, for example, yogurt. This dairy product is made with a healthy dose of natural probiotics.

Most yogurts come naturally with both L. acidophilus and B. breve. That means you’re getting a double whammy of healthy goodness with every spoonful!

But that’s not the only dairy product that contains natural probiotics. Nope, there are many more that are just waiting for you to dig in.

Have you ever heard of kefir? This fermented dairy beverage is a little different than yogurt… and it can definitely be an acquired taste.

It’s sharp, tangy, and remarkably satisfying. Because it’s a drink, it also makes it very easy to get your probiotics on the go.

Speaking of fermented dairy beverages, you may have seen buttermilk on the shelves at the store. This beverage is also an incredible natural source of probiotics.

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However, it’s important to note that not all types of buttermilk contain probiotics. “Cultured” buttermilk typically does not contain probiotics… while “traditional” buttermilk does!

You know what one of the best sources of probiotic-rich dairy foods are, though? Cheese, of course!

Now, not all types of cheeses are a good source of probiotics. But many aged cheese (such as cheddar, gouda, and even mozzarella) are packed to the brim with these healthy microbes.

If you struggle with lactose intolerance, take heart. Many of these foods are low in lactose, as the probiotics eat this naturally occurring dairy sugar as food.

However, if you are unsure if these foods will give you a stomachache, you can always avoid them. After all, dairy products aren’t the only source of natural probiotics out there!

Non-Dairy Products That Contain Probiotics

It’s a sad truth, but the reality is… not everyone can handle dairy products. Whether you have a lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, or other issues, consuming dairy can be a challenge.

The good news is that dairy foods aren’t the only sources of natural probiotics. If you avoid dairy foods (or simply don’t like them much)… then perhaps you’ll be excited to learn that you still have so many other options to get your probiotics.

So if you’re wondering what are natural probiotics sources that you can enjoy that don’t contain dairy, take a closer look at these choices!

For instance, fermented non-dairy yogurts are a great way to get some probiotics. You can find soy, coconut, and even almond-beverage yogurts at most grocery stores.

If you like pickles, then you’re in luck. Raw, fermented pickles are also brimming with probiotics.

And if you love sour and tangy foods… then you should definitely pick up some sauerkraut or kimchi. These pickled vegetables are another one of the great natural sources of probiotics!

The popular vegetarian protein source, tempeh, is also a great probiotic choice.

What if you’re looking for a sweet and slightly sour beverage to sip on?

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If you like bubbly drinks but you’re looking for a healthier alternative to soda… you should try kombucha. This fermented tea packs a punch and tastes fantastic, to boot!

Finally, miso is a great option…and it makes for a tasty bowl of soup, too! (Psst, why not try it with a little bit of tempeh for an extra helping of probiotic goodness?)

As you can see, when it comes to probiotic-rich foods, you don’t have to turn to dairy. With so many options out there, you can absolutely have your choice on which ones you eat!

Fermented Foods That Do Not Contain Probiotics

Just because a food is fermented doesn’t automatically mean that it’s going to have probiotics in it, though. Indeed, many types of fermented foods don’t have any probiotics in them at all.

It’s important to make this distinction, especially if you’re only adding a food into your diet for the health benefits. Sure, they may have other perks… but you won’t find any probiotics in these particular foods.

This one may break your heart to learn it, but beer and wine typically do not have any probiotics in them. Yes, they require fermentation to add that kick to the drink, but when it comes down to it?

Skip it if you’re only doing it for the health benefits. Most beers and wines undergo processing steps that remove the probiotics. (That said, though, a little bit of red wine never hurt anyone!)

What about those cans of sauerkraut on the shelf at the grocery store? If your sauerkraut was found in a can, then it probably no longer contains live or active cultures.

This is because the sauerkraut was heated up after the canning process to help prevent food poisoning. So while it’ll taste good on your dinner plate, it’s not going to give you any probiotic health benefits.

The same can be said for bread.

Yes, bread is made through the process of fermentation (particularly sourdough)… but there are no probiotics in a freshly baked loaf of bread. The cooking process, unfortunately, kills the probiotics.

Some dairy products undergo processing that prevents them from forming probiotics as well. You always want to make sure the container notes that it does contain live and active cultures before you dig in.

Remember, just because a food doesn’t have probiotics in it doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. A lot of these foods have other health benefits, so it’s not a total loss.

But by making smarter choices at the grocery store, you can help ensure that you’re getting plenty of probiotic-rich foods when you sit down for a meal!

The Benefits Of Incorporating Natural Probiotics Into Your Diet

You probably already know the benefits of adding natural probiotics into your diet for your gut health. Every time you consume them, you’re adding to your own gut microbiome.

If you’re asking yourself what are natural probiotics good for, guess what? Pretty much everything related to your overall wellness is linked back to probiotics.

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By taking them, you can help your body stay (ahem!) regular. This can help make it easier for you to have a flat stomach… free from bloating and discomfort.

Of course, there are so many other benefits to probiotics than just having a healthy gut. Have you ever heard of something called the “gut-brain axis”?

Studies have indicated that including probiotics in your diet can help improve your mental health. It can reduce your stress and anxiety… and lower your chances of developing depression.

Enjoying probiotics regularly has been also shown to help make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight. You’re less likely to develop unwanted abdominal fat, too.

People who consume probiotics have a lower risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and even some types of cancer. Pretty amazing, huh?

If you’re part of the millions of adults who still struggle with acne flare-ups, you may want to take a closer look at probiotics. They can help you maintain a clear and bright complexion, making blemishes a thing of the past.

Consuming probiotics can also help ward off the common cold and the flu, as well. It’s been shown to help give you a little extra immunity boost… making it easier to ward off disease.

Oh, and if you struggle with seasonal allergies? Yep, probiotics can help with that.

As you can clearly see, probiotics really can help address a large number of health issues. And with how easy they are to add to your diet… there’s really no reason not to enjoy them more often!

How To Add More Natural Probiotics To Your Daily Diet

While taking care of your health can be tricky, adding probiotics to your life really is a breeze. Honestly, getting more probiotics in your diet really couldn’t be easier.

What are natural probiotics foods that you can easily enjoy in your diet?

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Well, take yogurt, for example. This breakfast staple is easy to throw together in the morning on your way out of the door. 

Add a handful of fresh berries, some almonds, and a touch of honey or cinnamon for a healthy breakfast treat that tastes like dessert.

If you’re not a fan of yogurt, no worries. You have other choices, too.

What if you enjoyed some scrambled eggs (or egg whites, if that’s more your preference)… with a dollop of kimchi added to it? It’s both spicy and filling!

Everyone knows that soft drinks have no place in a healthy diet. The added sugars in soda can lead to acne, weight gain, and tooth decay.

For a sparkly and refreshing beverage, why not sip on some kombucha at lunch instead? This fizzy tea will hit the spot and give you a nice dose of probiotics, too.

Oh, and don’t forget to add a raw, fermented pickle to the side of your sandwich at lunch, too. Sandwiches just taste oh-so-much more better with this sour snack addition, don’t they?

You can also whip up an easy tempeh stir-fry for dinner. Start by sautéing up your vegetables, then make sure you add the tempeh at the last minute.

That can help preserve the probiotics, so you’ll be able to enjoy more health benefits from this vegetarian protein alternative.

Probiotics can also be snuck into your diet in between meals, too. Snacking is a great way to help control your appetite while you wait for your lunch or dinner.

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Add a few cubes of reduced-fat cheddar with a sliced apple to keep your stomach from growling before lunch. (The protein also has staying power… and the fiber in the apple will help you ward off hunger between meals, too!)

Or treat yourself to a bottle of kefir to savor before suppertime. This drink isn’t too sweet at all, but it will still help take the edge off of your hunger.

With so many scrumptious options for you to choose from… you really have no excuse to not add more probiotics to your diet today!

The Difference Between Eating Natural Probiotics & Taking Probiotic Supplements

There’s no doubt that probiotics are one of the most important things for your health. But what if you’re struggling to get them in your day-to-day diet?

Many people have this same issue, so you’re totally not alone in this struggle. Between your job, personal life, and other factors…well, trying to eat a healthy diet can be tricky.

That’s where natural probiotic supplements step in.

Listen, nobody is going to say that taking a supplement is always better than enjoying whole foods. Let’s break it down together, okay?

Eating a diet full of healthy, nourishing foods is never a bad idea. When you eat foods that have probiotics in them, you’re not only getting the probiotics found in them, though.

You’re also getting other perks, too. For starters, you’re getting a huge host of beneficial micronutrients.

These foods also have vitamins and minerals in them that can help you stay healthy.

You’re also going to be getting healthy macronutrients, too.

Consider yogurt and kefir. They’re super high in protein. Kimchi is a great source of fiber.

See? These foods aren’t just the sums of their parts. They’re the whole package and are so good for you. That’s why it’s so important to try to get your probiotics from whole foods.

With that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with needing a little extra help. Probiotics supplements are just that: supplements.

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If you add natural probiotic supplements to your diet, then you’re only doing your body (and mind!) a favor. Look at it like this: there are only so many probiotics that you can find in foods.

There’s also no guarantee that the probiotics found in food are alive and active. But on the other hand, natural probiotic supplements are different.

They have a wider array of probiotic strains than you may find naturally occurring in your diet. They’re also easy to take… which can help you stay on top of your health goals when your life feels hectic.

It’s important to make sure you’re only taking carefully vetted probiotic supplements, though. Some brands use sketchy fillers in them, which can actually be more harmful than helpful.

You also want to make sure they have the right amount of CFUs (colony forming units) in them. Anyone can slap a label on a bottle and try to pass it off as the real deal.

But what good is it for you if the strains inside the supplement aren’t active?

It’s also a good idea to make sure the brand of probiotic that you choose has undergone third-party testing. That way, you know that there’s an unbiased party that’s keeping the brand in check.

So what’s the bottom line here?

Getting probiotics from your foods is definitely a good idea, but if you can’t? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Natural probiotic supplements can still help make up the difference.

At the end of the day, your ultimate goal is your health. By incorporating more probiotics into your diet, you can start to notice numerous health benefits right away.

If you have to use the occasional probiotic supplement to help you reach that goal? No biggie. Your body won’t mind!

Even better, you’ll find yourself feeling happier and healthier…all just by adding probiotics to your diet.

It truly is a win-win scenario, no matter how you approach it!

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I would absolutely recommend taking a probiotic supplement on top of eating all of these delicious probiotic-rich foods.

First, it’s not like getting too many good strains of probiotics is going to be bad for you!

All of the strains in the foods above are known to be good for you… and as long as you get a high-quality probiotic supplement with a sound scientific formulation… you’ll only do more to improve your gut.

Secondly, there are specific strains out there (now recommended by doctors) that can help you achieve very specific results.

Take this probiotic, that Dr. Steven Masley consulted on the formulation.

It’s the only probiotic supplement out there that combines all 5 strains of probiotics scientifically proven to help you lose weight… and keep it off! [1]

Many folks who take it also report reduced bloating… less painful (and embarrassing) gas… and more energy and focus throughout the day.

And because Dr. Masley endorses it… you know it’s been approved by a real medical doctor with over two decades of experience… who really has seen it work in his patients.

Dr. Masley made a short, free presentation about this shocking new probiotic formulation, including:

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  • How they can help you naturally lose pounds and pounds of stubborn belly fat, and
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