Probiotic-Friendly Eating for Women in Menopause
Probiotics are those friendly bacteria that live in your body and help maintain a balance in your gut microflora. All of us have both good and bad bacteria living in the gut. But when these bacteria are in balance, you usually have something like 85% good bacteria and 15% bad. To keep this balance going, you should strive to become more aware of what you eat. That is why here we want to talk about probiotic-friendly eating habits in menopause.
There are different kinds of probiotic bacteria you can find in food. It is good to know the most common ones, which are Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces boulardii. You can find probiotics in many fermented foods, which should be kept in the fridge in your local grocery store. If you find a product on a shelf outside the fridge, that means it does not have live and active bacteria.
Probiotic foods have live bacteria that are good for your health and immune system. They help restore gut microflora and as a result, also improve your gut health. In menopause, probiotics could help you with some symptoms without any risks or side effects. And you can find them in many probiotic foods. It is good to know these foods so you can choose the ones you can eat often.
Yogurt is a great option to get your daily probiotic needs. There have been many studies where yogurt was shown helpful for gut health, IBD, colon cancer, constipation, and lactose intolerance (1). It has Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli that support your digestion and overall health. But keep in mind that not all of the yogurt has live bacteria, so make sure to check the label before buying. And in case you are vegan, you can find cashew, soy, almond, or coconut yogurt options enriched with good bacteria.
Kombucha is a drink made of fermented tea and has a lot of probiotics, both live bacteria and yeast. You can buy this tea at your local grocery store, or you can even make it yourself. To brew it, you will need to have a culture of yeast and bacteria as a starter which you can find in your local health store or buy online. Keep in mind that there is a small amount of alcohol, so if you have any disease that could result in side effects, avoid drinking it.
Kefir for Probiotic-Friendly Eating
You may think that kefir is very similar to yogurt, but quite the contrary, as even people who cannot have lactose can enjoy kefir. Friendly bacteria found in kefir tend to create a colony inside your gut, which means they will support the balance in your gut microflora. Apart from that, kefir is seen to protect from microbes, improve metabolism of cholesterol, increase the speed of healing wounds, and even relieve asthma and allergies (2).
A family favorite, pickles make great probiotic food. But it is best to make them yourself at home because the pickles you find in the store often lose their live cultures when pasteurized. Also, if you find or make pickles in vinegar, they will also not contain probiotics. The sour taste of pickles comes from the fermenting them, which happens because of their lactic bacteria. And they are also a good source of vitamin K.
Have you ever tried sauerkraut? If not, hearing the words “fermented cabbage” might make you feel less open to trying it. But its salty and sour flavor is actually very pleasant and appetizing. This product is probably one of the oldest fermented foods. And besides probiotics, it contains vitamins B, C, and K, along with antioxidants. Just like with pickles, keep in mind that pasteurized sauerkraut will not have live bacteria.
Kimchi is a probiotic-friendly Asian dish coming from Korea. It is usually spicy and made with Chinese cabbage along with other vegetables. Kimchi takes its flavor from salt, garlic, scallions, ginger, and red pepper flakes often a part of the mix. But its nutritious value is in lactic acid probiotic bacteria, vitamins B2 and K, and also iron. Kimchi can give an exciting twist to your probiotic-friendly eating habits.
Miso for Probiotic-Friendly Eating
Miso is a staple food in Japan, but it has reached Europe and the U.S. thanks to miso soup you can find in Japanese restaurants. Usually, miso is made from fermenting soybeans, but the paste can also be made for rye or barley. It is a good source of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, along with B vitamins and other nutrients. Regularly eating miso can help balance your gut microflora and even improve skin moisture (3).
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, just like the common types of miso. It is shaped like a patty and tastes like nuts or mushrooms. Tempeh is excellent for cooking because it can take the flavor of any sauces or spices you add to it. It is most common with vegans who eat it instead of meat because of its high protein content. Apart from that, tempeh also has some vitamin B12 which is not found in plant foods.
Probiotic-Friendly Eating: Taking Supplements
Eating probiotic-rich foods is, of course, the best way to get a dose of healthy bacteria in your system. But you might not get enough probiotics from foods, or you might simply not enjoy the taste of probiotic-rich products. Ideally, 5-20 billion CFUs per dose should be your goal of probiotic intake, and you cannot know for sure how much you get from food. In this case, you can always take a probiotic supplement to support your health.
MenoLabs knows the specific needs of women in menopause. That is why we have created a probiotic product that will give you the necessary dose of friendly bacteria. Support your probiotic-friendly eating habits with a probiotic supplement. As an added benefit, MenoLabs’s supplement could help you find relief from many other symptoms. It could help you with mood swings, weight gain, vaginal health problems, and low sex drive.
(1) Oskar Adolfsson et al. “Yogurt and gut function.”
(2) Benjamin Bourrie et al. “The Microbiota and Health Promoting Characteristics of the Fermented Beverage Kefir.”
(3) Kazuhisa Maeda et al. “Improvement in Skin Conditions by Consumption of Traditional Japanese Miso Soup and Its Mechanism.”