Non-Dairy Probiotics: What Are They?

When talking about probiotics, you’re really talking about gut health. Gut health is linked to increasing overall immune health. Probiotics support your gut flora; these keep digestion running smoothly and allow you to live your life as peacefully as you need to. 

So, what does all of this mumbo jumbo really mean? Let’s break down (that's a probiotic pun, as you’ll see) why probiotics are important and how you can get them without including dairy in your diet! 

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Why Non-Dairy? 

For a long time, the rhetoric around probiotics was such that the only way to get them was to eat your weight in yogurt. That’s just not the case! 

The live cultures in yogurt are what classifies the famous dairy snack as a probiotic. Luckily, these live cultures can be found in a bunch of other places, not just in yogurt. Fear not if you want a healthy gut and a dairy-free diet! You can have your probiotics and eat them too. 

Whether you have a sensitivity to dairy, avoid it for health reasons, or are looking for more plant-based options in your diet, you can still get all of the benefits of good gut health without consuming dairy. 

With more and more vegan and plant-based options in the health food market every day, now is as good a time as ever to hop on the bandwagon. Choosing dairy-free options is great for both your health and the planet’s health too. Cutting back on dairy products decreases the demand in factory farming, a major contributor to climate change. 

Simply by getting your probiotics elsewhere, you are doing a small bit of good for the planet. That is something to feel good about. 

Why Do I Need Probiotics? 

“Finding non-dairy probiotics seems like a lot of work. Can’t I just skip out on the dairy altogether and not have to worry about it?” 

Well, first of all, it’s not too tough to avoid the dairy. And skipping out on probiotics is not the brightest idea anyway. Here’s why. 

Probiotics are the major players in gut health, and gut health is a major player in your overall health. Therefore, you should be mindful of taking in foods and drinks that are probiotic. What is a probiotic, you ask? 

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can restore your gut flora. Gut flora are the little guys in your gut that break down (told you there was a joke there) food into easily digestible parts. The better shape your gut flora is in, the more efficiently your body can function. 

Hopefully, you’re itching to get your hands on some non-dairy probiotics by now. If that is the case, we’ve got you covered. Check out these non-dairy sources of probiotics that are easy to find and delicious to try. 

1. Tempeh 

Tempeh is a soy-based product that’s fairly similar to tofu. Tempeh is a great swap for meat that still gets you a good amount of protein. Tempeh is made by fermenting soybeans, and the fermentation process is what gives tempeh all of the benefits of probiotics. 

Tempeh can be used for a ton of different things. Tempeh bacon is a really popular meat substitute because of the texture it can take on. You can add it to chili, fry it in cubes, or thinly slice it for a sandwich. Sounds like a win to us!

2. Tepache 

Tepache, otherwise known as pineapple beer, is a fermented drink. That means that it is probiotic. Tepache, made through the fermentation of pineapple rinds, is a great non-dairy drink that could replace a probiotic-rich dairy product like kefir. 

A neat aspect of tepache is that it can also be prebiotic. Prebiotics are the live cultures that essentially feed the probiotics living in your gut. In this way, you are skipping out on dairy, building up your gut flora, and giving them a healthy snack. It's a win-win... win! 

3. Miso 

Miso is another fermented soybean product. Oh, what can’t that super bean do? Miso is heavily used in Japanese cooking, and its savory flavor can beef up any dish. Add it to any soup (Hello, miso soup) or use it for an added boost of flavor in a curry. 

Whichever way you use it, miso is an awesome option when looking for a probiotic without the dairy. 

4. Apple Cider Vinegar 

The apple cider vinegar you can get your probiotic fix from is made out of apples, vinegar, and bacteria. You can add this versatile liquid to homemade salad dressings, use it to give a kick to your stir-fries, or even slow-cook meat in it. If you are truly dauntless, you could even take it as a watered-down health shot. 

Apple cider vinegar is a sneaky non-dairy probiotic that has likely been living right under your nose, and you didn’t even know it. Just be sure you are using raw apple cider vinegar. To be sure that your apple cider vinegar is still probiotic, check for that cloudy look towards the bottom of the bottle; that’s where the active cultures like to hang out. 

5. Kimchi 

Kimchi is a super common and super tasty probiotic. It is made through fermenting cabbage and makes an excellent topping or addition to a soup or rice dish. A staple in Korean food, kimchi can be seasoned in a plethora of different ways. 

You can switch up the seasonings on it from gochujang to ginger—the options are endless. Best of all, it is probiotic! 

Non-Dairy Probiotics For The Win 

All of these options, from kimchi to tepache, are great sources of non-dairy probiotics. Actually, any fermented vegetable is probiotic too. You do not have to buy up the entire yogurt aisle to make your body happy. Most of the time, all you need is a jar, some bacteria, and a little bit of patience. 

Whatever your reason for looking for non-dairy probiotics, it will certainly pay off for you. Probiotics are mighty little warriors in your gut, and anything you can do to help them do their job will benefit your body in the long run. Go and see for yourself!

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What is 'gut health' and why is it important? | UC Davis

Your Digestive System: 5 Ways to Support Gut Health | Hopkins Medicine

Live & Active Cultures Seal | IDFA

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