This is a collection of questions many people are asking about probiotics, probiotic supplements, and fermented foods. If you have a question that is not answered here, please submit your question and I will be happy to post an answer as soon as I can.
Which vegetables are best to ferment?
This is mostly a matter of taste. But organic vegetables are excellent as they contain fewer pesticides and more nutrients. Cabbage is used in many recipes because it is simple to ferment, goes well with almost any other vegetables and it stays crunchy after fermentation. Many recipes use 50-80% green cabbage (adding some red cabbage makes a wonderful color).
Carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, coriander leaves, parsley, ginger, beet root, chili and many other vegetables are great choices. A-Z list of veggies to ferment.
You might want to be careful adding garlic and onion as they add a very distinct taste. Hot pepper is great but if using too much, the taste can become very strong. I like to ferment garlic and onions in separate jars. The advantage is that you can add them As a sidedish. But if you love garlic, then no problem to add then together with other veggies.
When fermenting for the first time, I suggest using only cabbage and a few carrots. This combination is very simple to prepare, yet very tasty.
What equipment do I need ferment vegetables?
You don’t really need that much to begin with. Use whatever tools you have in your kitchen. This will most likely be enough. However, if you want to prepare bigger batches, you might want to invest in tools that makes the preparation work faster and easier.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. A food processor to shred vegetables saves much time when preparing bigger batches
2. Canning jars. 32 oz jars are good, but getting smaller or bigger jars is also fine. Best if the jars are wide-mouthed as it makes it easier to pack the vegetables together. Some like to use crock pots; they are very nice but cost more.
3. A kraut pounder (looks like a small baseball bat), helps to pack the vegetables, but it is not necessary. You can also use your fist.
4. Starter cultures are very good; they make fermentation faster, it tastes better, and you get much more probiotic bacteria in your vegetables. This I do recommend you use always. They are not expensive and you get a better-fermented product.
Which fermented foods contain the highest amount of natural probiotics?
This is not easy to determine. The reason is that it depends on what you’re fermenting and how you’re doing it. For example, if you’re using a high-quality starter culture, you will most likely have more probiotic bacteria in your product than fermenting without a starter.
Fermented products include…
- Yogurt, kefir made with raw milk
- Fermented vegetables
So if you want more probiotic bacteria, use a culture starter. It has been found that fermented vegetables can contain trillions of bacteria in just a few table spoons. That’s more bacteria than a whole bottle of probiotic supplement capsules! Amazing! Add starter cultures when making yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables.
Can I overdose on probiotics?
Overdosing is almost impossible. However, you can take “too much” in the sense of detoxifying too fast, also called a “healing crisis.” This is because probiotics promote cleansing of the digestive tract. That needs to be done slowly. Therefore, taking small amounts of probiotics several times a day is a good start.
In cases of candida overgrowth and infections the body can react to probiotics with symptoms like…
- increased gas
- skin rashes
- symptoms similar to a cold or flu
According to a report on www.mercola.com, a few tablespoons of fermented vegetables contained trillions of probiotic bacteria. That’s as much probiotics as you would find in a whole container of a probiotic supplement, but only in a few tablespoons of fermented vegetables. But consuming such large quantities can cause a strong reaction.
Therefore, if you’re new to probiotics you should start out by eating small amounts and increase the dose closely monitoring how you feel.
Millions of people consume fermented foods daily for centuries without any risk of overdosing.
I’ve got serious health problems, do I need to be cautious with probiotics?
Yes, in some rare, serious cases you should be careful and consult with your doctor! Please check this post on side effects.
Which probiotic supplements is best?
It depends on your specific needs and the makeup of your gut and body.
- I’ve tested several very good products like Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotics, Hyperbiotics, Now Foods. They contains a high amount of several potent probiotic bacteria (or CFU, colony forming units) and it are produced using the highest quality ingredients.
- Or if you’re on the GAPS diet or treating autism, ADHD, or similar you might want to try Bio-Kult that is specially designed for this.
However, this does not mean that other products are bad. I’ve recommended other supplements on this site designed for a specific purpose as combating the effects of taking antibiotics.
I’m on antibiotics, which probiotic supplement should I take?
As we are all different, one cannot be dogmatic. However, these two are high-quality supplements known to support your gut in case you’re on antibiotics.
When and how should I take my probiotic supplement when on antibiotics?
About 15 minutes before breakfast and 2-3 hours after taking antibiotics.
If possible, tart taking probiotics before you start with antibiotics. This will prepare your gut. And continue taking probiotics long after you have stopped taking antibiotics. This is one of the best ways to combat the onslaught of antibiotics on your stomach and can help you avoid many problems.
Do I need additional probiotics even if have no serious health problems?
Probiotics are vital for life, without probiotic bacteria in your gut you would die! Keeping your gut thriving is, therefore, essential to stay healthy. A healthy digestive tract contains trillions of bacteria coexisting i a delicate balance.
But because of a poor diet, chlorinated water, stress, antibiotics and other factors, the gut flora may get weakened. Therefore, adding probiotics daily—eating fermented foods or taking a supplement—is an important factor to keep your gut well-functioning and in balance.
In addition, it is obvious that preventing disease is far better that treating a condition that has already developed. A growing body of research show that probiotics can prevent many health problems from developing in the first place.
Therefore, consuming fermented foods on a daily basis is one of the best and simplest strategies to stay healthy.