Probiotics are one of the latest trends to hit the wellness industry, which is being promoted, advertised, and displayed at every grocery store nowadays. But have you ever thought of making your own probiotics at home?
Making probiotics at home is not new to humans.
It was only due to modernization that we slowly moved away from them and now it is again presented to us with a name by some brands just to earn profit.
Also, the effectiveness of prepackaged probiotics is still a big question.
Let’s get back to our basics and start making our own probiotics at home. So, in this article, we will learn all about probiotics, from how easily you can make it at home to its important benefits and some frequently asked questions.
- What are Probiotics?
- 9 Probiotic-Rich Foods That You Can Make At Home
- 9 Important Benefits of Taking Probiotics
- Wrapping Up
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria and/or yeasts) when consumed, help to keep our body healthy, especially the digestive system.
It can be found in dietary supplements and fermented foods like yogurt, tofu, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, etc.
These microorganisms have many health benefits, including assistance in food digestion, destroying disease-causing cells, and producing vitamins.
Furthermore, they provide help in maintaining a balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria found in the body.
The most common probiotic bacteria are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, while Saccharomyces boulardii is the most common probiotic yeast.
While each different probiotics addresses different health conditions, it is essential to choose the right type or types of probiotics as per the specific requirements.
9 Probiotic-Rich Foods That You Can Make At Home
There are numerous probiotic-rich foods that may be easily made at home, ranging from the live culture of microorganisms that transform milk into yogurt to the natural fermentation of cabbage into kimchi.
In fact, fresh homemade probiotic-rich food is cheap and far more beneficial than the products you buy from the stores. Some commonly known examples of this food include:
Let us now discuss in detail 9 probiotic-rich food that you can make at home.
Probiotics From Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is an excellent source of probiotics which is an essential component of German cuisine, made by simply fermenting finely shredded cabbage. It is rich in fiber, iron, manganese, as well as vitamins C, B, and K.
Materials Required: White Cabbage, Salt, Mason Jar, and Muslin Cloth.
Making sauerkraut is quite simple. All you need to do is to mix finely chopped cabbage with salt.
The mixture is then left in a mason jar covered with a muslin cloth to ferment for a couple of weeks, and finally, you get sauerkraut which is sour and salty but rich in probiotics.
As an alternative to white cabbage, you can also use green, red, savoy, bok choy, etc., or even a combination of different cabbage.
Sauerkraut can be stored for months in an airtight container. It is often used on top of sausages or as a side dish, or even in the preparation of salads.
Note: The fermentation process is much faster in warmer months.
Probiotics From Fermented Veggies (KimChi)
Kimchi is another probiotic-rich fermented food from Korea, similar to sauerkraut which is known for its pungent aroma and spiciness.
The lactic acid bacteria in kimchi improves digestive health, and it is also rich in some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and iron.
Materials Required: Vegetables (cabbage is more common), spices (red chili pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, scallion, salt), and airtight container.
It is made by fermenting chopped vegetables with several spices and herbs in an airtight container for a few days.
Lacto-fermentation causes the resident microorganism culture to break down the sugars contained in the vegetables into lactic acid, extending their shelf life and preserving them.
Kimchi is basically a side dish, but it can even be eaten on its own or can be used as an ingredient in other recipes. Its spicy and acidic taste pairs well with savory meals.
Note: Even though cabbage is more common, you can even use other veggies like carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, radishes, rutabagas, and even the roots of wild edibles like burdock, dandelion, wild carrot, and creeping bellflower.
Probiotics From Cabbage Rejuvelac
Cabbage rejuvelac is a very simple, easy-to-make recipe which is rich in probiotics.
It’s high in minerals like vitamin C and K and drinking it has been linked to a variety of health advantages, including weight loss, better gut health, reduced inflammation, balanced hormones, and body detoxification.
Materials Required: cabbage, spring water, and a mason jar.
The cabbage is blended with spring water and the mixture is fermented. After straining out the cabbage, your probiotics-rich cabbage rejuvelac is ready.
It can be stored in a refrigerator for several days. Then, you can directly drink the cabbage rejuvelac or add it to smoothies or even pair it with oil and herbs/spices to make salad dressings.
Note: Instead of cabbage, you can also use beets, carrots, and other root veggies.
Probiotics From Rejuvelac
Rejuvelac is a probiotic-rich drink made by fermenting freshly sprouted grains.
The natural lactic acid and fermentative enzymes generated during the fermentation process kill unwanted gut bacteria and aids in improved digestion and nutrient absorption.
Materials Required: Wheat grains, filtered water & a mason jar.
Here the wheat is first sprouted and it is kept in a mason jar with filtered water away from direct sunlight for 2-3 days to ferment.
Then, when it becomes slightly cloudy with some bubbles, the liquid is strained out, and it is ready for use.
It is recommended to drink fresh rejuvelac. However, it can also be used in some recipes for which you can easily store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Note: For gluten intolerant people, rejuvelac can be made with gluten-free grains like quinoa and millet.
Probiotics From Milk (Dairy) Kefir
Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink or beverage made by adding colonies of bacteria called kefir grains to cow’s or goat’s milk.
It has various health benefits like providing strength to bones, eliminating digestive disorders, and protecting against infections.
Materials Required: Milk, kefir starter, mason jar, and muslin cloth.
The kefir milk starter is added to a mason jar and lukewarm milk is added to it. The mixture is nicely stirred and covered with a muslin cloth.
YOGOURMET Kefir Starter
After leaving it in a warm place for about 24 hours, you get ready to drink kefir, having consistency of buttermilk or a thin, runny yogurt.
Milk kefir is considered safe and healthy for up to three weeks if stored in a refrigerator with a tight lid container.
Apart from consuming it directly, you may add kefir to smoothies or use it to make creamy salad dressings like ranch and dill.
Probiotics From Non-Dairy Kefir
Yes, you heard it right. You can make kefir even without milk and it is still as probiotic as milk kefir.
Non-dairy kefir is made with fermenting milk obtained from a nut, seed, and grain-like walnut, almond, sesame, or coconut milk which is lactose-free and low in carbohydrates.
Materials Required: Non-dairy milk, kefir grains, and a mason jar.
Similar to milk kefir, here also kefir grain is added to a mason jar with warm non-dairy milk.
The jar lid is placed loosely, and the mixture is left in a warm place for about 48 hours to ferment. Strain the mix, and your non-dairy kefir is ready.
You can safely store and drink your non-dairy kefir for about two weeks. Alternatively, this kefir can be used for making smoothies, dilute juices, and even cold soups like gazpacho.
Note: The kefir grains can be reused to make up to five to six more batches of kefir.
Probiotics From Water Kefir
If you were surprised to hear about non-dairy kefir, then here’s another surprise for you – the water kefir.
Unlike milk kefir grains, water kefir grains thrive on sugars and not lactose, and they produce probiotics, new enzymes, vitamins, and help in repopulating the gut flora.
Materials Required: Water kefir grains, organic sugar, spring water, and a mason jar.
Water Kefir Grains
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Here, organic sugar is added to the mason jar, and then warm spring water is poured in along with the water kefir grains.
The Mason jar is now covered with a cloth and left in a warm place for about 48 hours for the mixture to ferment. The kefir grains are then strained out, and your water kefir is ready for use.
Water kefir can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed for weeks. It can also be flavored with fresh or dry fruits and juices. So you might consider it as a healthy replacement for soda.
Probiotics From Kvass
Kvass is a less known fermented beverage made from water and fruits or veggies, which is rich in probiotics. Modern science has proved that they kill parasites and harmful bacteria and heal internal wounds.
Materials Required: Root veggies like beets, sea salt, spring water, and a mason jar.
In this recipe, beets are diced and placed in a mason jar with salt and water. It is left to ferment for a week, and then kvass is drained out and stored for use in the refrigerator for several days.
Alternatively, it can also be made from fruits like apples, and a little amount of honey is added to enhance the flavor. This sweet version of kvass is even enjoyed by small children.
Note: You should open the mason jar’s lid every day during the fermentation process to release the carbon dioxide formed inside the jar.
Probiotics From Kombucha
Kombucha is a famous black or green tea fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, known as SCOBY, which is consumed in many parts of the world, especially Asia.
It contains antioxidants, can kill harmful bacteria, and may also help in fighting several diseases.
Materials Required: Organic kombucha (unflavored, raw, and unpasteurized), black or green tea, organic sugar, muslin cloth, and a mason jar.
You need to prepare your black or green tea with organic sugar and pour it into a mason jar. Cover the jar with a muslin cloth and let it ferment for two to three weeks in a warm place, away from sunlight, and your kombucha is ready for use.
It can be stored in your refrigerator for weeks and used as a refreshing beverage by simply adding some flavors with fruits or herbs.
Additionally, it can be used as a replacement for vinegar in salad dressings or meat marinades.
Fun Fact: Kombucha extract is recommended by experts to enhance the growth of hair.
9 Important Benefits of Taking Probiotics
Probiotics have gradually become popular during the last two decades due to the continuously expanding scientific evidence about their benefits in day-to-day life.
The benefits can be widely categorized into health benefits and food preservations. So, let us now understand the 9 important benefits of taking probiotics.
Improved Digestion And Elimination
Some medicines and prolong use of antibiotics kill the natural bacteria in your gut and create an imbalance. Probiotics help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria in the human body, which improves digestion and elimination.
Strengthens The Immune System
Probiotics also activate the systemic immune response, increasing the production of particular antibodies. These antibodies are essential in preventing pathogenic bacteria from spreading to the liver and spleen.
Helps Lose Weight Naturally
Research shows a connection between gut microbes and obesity in both infants and adults. It was found that people lost an average of approximately 8.5 % of their belly fat over 12 weeks with the help of probiotics.
Gut bacteria, both good and harmful, may interact with your brain and have a significant impact on your mood and energy levels.
Probiotics help in maintaining a balance of bacteria which helps in increased energy levels.
Healthier, More Beautiful Skin
Probiotics may be beneficial for acne, rosacea, and eczema, as well as other skin diseases. Also, there is evidence that probiotics may help prolong life by enhancing the capacity of cells to reproduce.
In some recent studies, it has been proven that probiotics aids in the prevention and treatment of oral health problems caused by germs, such as gingivitis, bad breath, periodontitis, and tooth decay.
Reduced UTI Or Yeast Infections
Urinary tract infection (UTI) and yeast infections found in females are usually treated with a prescribed antifungal medication such as fluconazole (Diflucan).
However, studies suggest that combining it with a probiotic vaginal suppository can be more effective in treatment, and the chances that a yeast infection would return is also reduced.
Probiotics may decrease inflammatory reactions in individuals who are allergic to milk or dairy. It is also suggested that if babies are given probiotic-supplemented milk, their eczema symptoms may improve.
Preserve Food Longer
Most probiotic foods are fermented, and it not only preserves the valuable probiotics inside the food but also makes it more durable and can be preserved for a longer time.
There are many options for making healthy food rich in probiotics which provides many health benefits.
All you need to do is learn how to make them and carefully include them in your diet. For example, you can check out our link for How To Make Yeast: Things To Know and 7 Easy Steps On How To Make Vinegar From Wine Or Fruit.
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