8 Delicious Non Dairy Probiotic Foods

What are non dairy probiotic foods?

Probiotic foods contain living microorganisms that can benefit your health. Probiotic foods are fermented, but not all fermented foods are probiotic. For a food to be called “probiotic” it has to benefit your health.

Non dairy probiotic foods play a star role in gut health.

Non dairy probiotic foods populate your microbiome with the protective bacteria they contain. Eating these foods creates and maintains an environment in the gut that supports the good bacteria, rather than the inflammatory bacteria. 

It’s normal to have a mix of protective and inflammatory bacteria in your gut. By adding regular intake of non dairy probiotic foods into your diet, you can tip the scales to favor more of the protective bacteria, and starve out some of the inflammatory bacteria. 

The more the gut is studied, the more connections are made between the health of your microbiome and other systems in the body. Immune health, heart health, your ability to maintain a healthy weight, blood sugar balance, bone health, and hormone health are some of the systems that can be impacted by your gut health.

The bacteria in your gut are directly responsible for things like making vitamins, fighting off pathogens, and helping you digest and absorb your food. The beneficial bacteria in the microbiome help your gut do all of the jobs we rely on it to do.

Eating a diet that includes probiotic foods can support regular, well-formed, and easy-to-pass bowel movements. If you suffer from constipation, gas, bloating, and stomach pain, eating non dairy probiotic foods consistently, can reduce your discomfort.

Non dairy probiotic foods are one tool that keeps inflammatory bacteria in the gut to a minimum and boosts the protective bacteria.  

Eat non dairy probiotic foods most days of the week. 

The bacteria in your microbiome are changing daily depending on what you eat, your stress levels, lifestyle, and environmental factors. This means your diet plays a part in changing the balance of bacteria in your gut. 

You can change the environment of your microbiome in as little as 24 hours. Each day, you have the opportunity to improve your health, starting in your gut. 

To benefit from non dairy probiotic foods, eat a small portion most days of the week to start.

Below are some examples of non dairy probiotic foods and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Non dairy probiotic foods to include in your diet.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage.

  • Layer into a sandwich 
  • Add to salads 
  • Sprinkle over avocado savory toast
  • Garnish tacos, grain bowls, burritos, or scrambled eggs
  • Mix into egg salad or tuna salad for some extra crunch

Miso

Miso is a fermented soybean paste that is full of umami flavor.

  • Mix with avocado and spread on top of toast 
  • Use in a dip for roasted veggies, meat, stir fry, or seafood
  • Add to a soup broth

Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar

ACV is a type of fermented vinegar made from apples, yeast, and sugar.

  • Make a salad dressing using ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup ACV, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp honey, salt, and pepper
  • Add a splash to a fruit-forward smoothie to brighten it up
  • Opt to use ACV in any recipe that calls for vinegar

Kimchi

Kimchi is a collection of fermented vegetables, often cabbage, flavored with herbs and spices like garlic, onion, chilies, and salt.

  • Add to grain bowls
  • Eat it with eggs
  • Flavor a braise

Tempeh 

Tempeh is a mild-flavored, fermented soybean.

  • Crumble over salads
  • Mash with avocado, lemon, dairy-free mayo, garlic power, and salt then eat with whole grain crackers
  • Slice tempeh into thin slices and layer into a sandwich
  • Crumble, season, and use as a meat replacement for recipes that use ground beef

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented tea often flavored with fruit and herbs. Read the labels and choose kombucha lower in added sugar.

  • Use in mocktail recipes
  • Add to fruit smoothies

Non dairy probiotic Yogurt

Dairy-free varieties of yogurt and kefir contain probiotics as well. They are made from a base of coconut, almond, or soy milk, and bacteria are added to them.

  • Layer as a parfait with berries, nuts, and granola
  • Blend into smoothies 
  • Use as a replacement for sour cream in recipes like chili, soup, tacos, or burritos

Non dairy probiotic Kefir

Kefir is a form of fermented non dairy milk.

  • Blend into smoothies
  • Pour over cereal
  • Use as a base for overnight oats 
  • Blend with fruit and freeze to make a lactose-free dessert

Look for “raw” and “unfiltered” non dairy probiotic foods.

Not all non-dairy probiotic food sources are created equally! There are some ways to make sure the foods you’re buying have probiotics. 

For example, if you look for apple cider vinegar at the store, the shelves likely have a few different types to choose from. Although all of the labels will say “apple cider vinegar” the specific words you want to look for are “raw” and/or “unfiltered”. You’ll often see the words “with the mother” on the label of these vinegars as well. 

Words like “raw” and “unfiltered” ensure that the vinegar hasn’t been pasteurized. When foods get pasteurized, they are heated to a high temperature so the bacteria are killed off. Probiotics can’t survive the pasteurization process. 

Other phrases and words to look for on labels are “live active cultures” or “active cultures’. 

Buy non dairy probiotic foods from the refrigerated section of the store. 

The same can be said for different varieties of non-probiotic foods like sauerkraut. At the grocery store, you can find shelf-stable sauerkraut and sauerkraut in the refrigerated section. Although both are a good source of fiber if you want to get the most from your sauerkraut, buy the one in the refrigerated section that hasn’t been pasteurized. 

Don’t heat non dairy probiotic foods.

Just like the pasteurization process, heating non dairy probiotic foods at too high of heat will kill the good bacteria they provide. 

Probiotic foods versus probiotic supplements

Many people have questions about probiotic supplements replacing non dairy probiotic foods. At this point, the research on probiotic supplements is not strong enough to recommend doing so. 

We don’t know who will benefit from taking which probiotic strain in supplement form.

Probiotic supplement production isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so 

it’s difficult for consumers to know if a product is safe and if the supplement contains a strain that will benefit their health. 

Currently, the best way to get the benefits of probiotics is through your food. Some studies actually show that probiotic foods might be more beneficial than supplements anyway! Plus, when you buy probiotic foods, you’re not just getting the beneficial bacteria, but you also receive the vitamins and minerals that come along with those foods as well. 

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